Ro Martinez from Inverness embraced the opportunities life presented to him and lived a multi-faceted life.
Now an op and abstract artist, Martinez is hosting an art exhibit on April 23 for Earth Day at Rainbow Springs Art in the Dunnellon Gallery.
Born in Colombia, Martinez moved with her family to the United States, and by the time she was in high school, she had painted two murals on the walls of her school in New York.
She got married, had a son, then her father became disabled. She assumed her role as caregiver.
After moving to Florida in 1986 and struggling to find a job, she remembers people always complimenting her on her smile.
She turned that smile into a 34-year acting and modeling career. She mostly showed her talent in commercials.
She has done commercials for theme parks, including Disney parks, for healthcare organizations, and for Publix.
“I was usually the mother of a few kids or a professional,” she said. “I was the doctor or the lawyer.”
But in 2017, she picked up her brush again “and I haven’t looked back,” she said.
His art blends the black and white geometric precision of op art with whimsical, colorful butterflies, hearts, and other shapes.
She calls herself a “fusion” artist because she said she loved both op art and abstract art and couldn’t choose between them. So she merged them.
She said that after her son, Evan, left home, she had a little more time and turned to art because “it became therapy and fun.”
Now, she says, she gets lost in her art, and her husband, Doug Rimes, a professional photographer, will often find her wrapped up in her work for hours.
Her first exhibition of her own work was in St. Petersburg and she participated in others in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.
A year ago, she moved to Citrus County and is planning a solo show at Rainbow Springs Gallery in September.
She said this show will take place during Hispanic Heritage Month and that many of its plays will focus on the theme of love. The vibrant colors in her art remind her of her native Colombia, she said.
She likes to paint a lot of butterflies, which she thinks symbolize love.
She also paints hearts, which she says represent “unconditional love and inclusion.”
She teaches an “Abstract Butterfly Painting” class at the Dunnellon Gallery on April 30 and a “Mother’s Day Heart Art” class on May 7 for parents and children.
In the Heart Art class, students will take a plastic bag to paint and mix bright colors and decorate their work with beads.
Martinez said she wishes the gallery offered more events for the community.
“I think a lot of young people don’t have the opportunity to see galleries or experience art first-hand,” she said.
She would like to change that in Dunnellon.
Martinez has lived different lives as a caregiver, model/actress, and entertainer. But it is not limited to that. She wrote a book, “Modeling at Any Age”, followed by approximately 100 articles published in magazines and newspapers in the Tampa and St. Petersburg area. Her writings focused on relationships, fashion and the benefits of art.
“And I might be interested in coming back to that,” she said.
His website is: www.romartinezart.com.