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Nurse by day, artist by night

VALLEY — Gennie Collier is constantly working to better her art. Originally from Rockford, Alabama, the 56-year-old Collier works hard to pursue her love for art, while following her love for nursing.

A 1980 graduate, Collier only knew of two careers for women at the time: nursing and teaching. Acknowledging her passion, she pursued a nursing career. Thirty-two years later, she works as a clinic manager for Fresenius Medical Care in Auburn, Alabama.

Over the years, Collier has developed an interest in becoming an artist, and with previous painting experience, her art career was reborn six months ago when  she felt it was time to buckle down and make it a priority.

Collier has found inspiration through tragedy., “I lost a son to suicide four years ago,” she said.

Collier, a mother of five, noted her son was an artist and describes painting as a way of remembering him. “Painting makes me think of him and also acts as mental therapy for myself,” she said.

Supporting Collier is her family, who always encourage her in her art career.

“Anytime I finish an art piece, I text it to my sisters and they always respond positively,” she said.

Her family not only encourages her with words, but also allow her to create artwork for household decor.

Painting comes with a process that Collier describes as a fun challenge.

“I always work from a reference photo,” she said. “I love the challenge of trying to create something that people will like.”

Collier is currently a member of the West Point Fine Arts and Valley Fine Arts Facebook pages. She has not yet been in any art shows, but hopes to enter some of her artwork in the Valley Fine Arts Show in September. Her main goal for her art career is to become good enough to sell her work.

In addition to painting, Collier enjoys reading and desires to travel more.