So great was the inner urge of Marjorie Reed to paint horses that when she was a girl she walked eighteen miles to site on a corral fence to watch and sketch them in action. She has since concluded that her paintings of horses resulted from frustration because of her great desire to live on a ranch, an ambition that did not materialize.
While Marjorie was yearning for a ranch life, she was busily occupied under the tutelage of her father in learning to draw and paint. Her father, Walter Reed of Springfield, Illinois (where Marjorie was born o February 22, 1915), was a commercial artist, and her mother possessed a fine artistic appreciation. The girl began drawing long before she went to school and then, in her father's studio, designed Christmas cards for major companies and worked for a subsidiary owned by Walt Disney when she was only fourteen. Her work attracted the attention of Disney, who sought to place her in the animation department of his studios, but, as he says, "I couldn't adjust to the regimentation.
This yearning for a free life in the ranching country could not be satisfied on the outskirts of Los Angeles, where Marjorie reed grew up after the family moved west.
Of a deeply religious nature, Marjorie feels that through her frustration in being denied a ranching life she was enabled to turn to her art, and to be rewarded by giving pleasure to those who enjoy her work. "Only be returning the gift of the Creator can we alleviate this frustration," she says about her ability to paint. - Most of the credit for her formal training she gives to Jack Wilkinson Smith of Alhambra, with whom she studied for two years.
Her extraordinary talent for western portrayals flowered in a series of twenty paintings showing stagecoaches on the old Butterfield Stag Route. These paintings attracted national attention and where acquired by James S. Copley, publisher of the San Diego Union Tribune. Subsequently, they were used in a book, The Colorful Butterfield Overland Stage. This article is by Ed Ainsworth from The Cowboy In Art.