MERTICE WEST Mertice West Main < BACK

Myrtice West is from Cherokee County, Alabama and residesin Centre, Alabama. In the late 1970s she had a visionary experience, when she started to go to church and woke up in the pulpit of a church she had never been in, preaching about the Book of Revelations. "I'd never been in this church in my life, and there I was, standing up in that pulpit, reading the Bible, and it was open to Revelations. When I come to myself, I said, 'I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me.' One of the women sat up in her pew and said, 'I know her, she's a good Christian, and she draws sometimes, and I bet she can put that down on canvas.'"

She was perplexed about what happened, but she took it as a sign that God was telling her to paint. She took a slipcover and stretched it over a frame ad began to paint biblical stories from The Book of Revelations. She believes that painting helped her through trying times in her life. Despite her mother's protests, her only child, Martha Jane, married at the age of fifteen. When the relationship became abusive, Myrtice feared for her daughter's life and became very concerned when the couple and their children moved to Japan. In 1986 Martha Jane moved back to Alabama and left her husband, but during her daughter's birthday party her husband beat her and then shot her five times in front of her family. Myrtice now takes care of her traumatized grandchildren, as well as her ninety-year-old mother and her husband who has cancer and receives Social Security checks. She sells her art work and it is a comfort to her, "When I get so much on me I can't get no further," she says, "I just paint."

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