Being raised in a small town with six sets of aunts and uncles, thirty-seven first cousins, and six siblings, it was hard to get away with anything mischievous. Still, grandma’s house was a hub for fun and feeling loved. It was on her walls I first saw, touched, and really looked at original oil paintings. Little did I know then what a role oil painting would play in my life.
After High School and serving as a missionary for 25 months in beautiful New Zealand I started college, fell in love, got married, worked odd jobs, and started a family. One job, working at a sign company, turned into a career choice as eventually I started my own sign and graphic design business, left school, and ran the business for seventeen years.
My 45-year-old mid-life crisis response to “l don’t have to be a sign guy my whole life” was to sell the successful business with no actual plan... sort of like jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. Luckily I followed my oh-so-smart wife’s advice and went back to finish college.
The BFA program at Weber State University required me to take three oil painting classes. Having heard how difficult oil painting can be, and, having convinced myself I would not be able to oil paint, I put these classes off til my last three semesters. I actually took the math classes before the painting classes, and devised a plan to talk the painting professor into allowing me to do something else during the semester. This did not happen. Like most people trying something new, I was afraid of doing poorly and being embarrassed in front of others. However, I was soon painting very basic stuff along with my much younger classmates.
As it turned out, I soon came to enjoy blending these oil paints with their soft-butter texture, and learned not to mix muddy colors. I liked painting… a lot! By the end of the second semester I was painting commissioned portraits for professors, and by the end of the third semester I’d done six 48”x 60” paintings of blue-collar workers as a cohesive body of work for my thesis exhibition.
After graduation, these paintings became a significant portion of my portfolio, as I applied to graduate schools. Having been accepted to three great schools: The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia, BYU in Provo, and The Academy of Fine Art in Manhattan, I accepted PAFA’s invitation to come. I couldn’t resist all that American history in Philly.
As incredible as all this may seem, the most amazing thing to me is how wonderfully supportive my dear wife Jeanette was as we sold most of what we owned, including our home, left our adult sons in Utah, and moved 2,400 miles across the country, with our seven-year-old daughter, in search of a place to live as we chased this dream to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree.
PAFA was fabulous, more than I ever could have imagined. It knocked me on my backside, disrupted all my comfort zones, and opened my eyes and mind to both see and struggle to comprehend concepts of art and painting previously unknown to me. I gained a particular appreciation for solid, competent critiques of my work... thank you PAFA. The whole experience of living on the East coast sank deep into our lives and forever affected the way we think and our views of the world around us.
Upon graduation, we moved to the quiet little town of Huntsville, Utah where I have established the Mark B. Goodson Studio/Gallery. I now have paintings in private, commercial, and government collections in the US, Canada, and abroad. I paint full time and teach an adult painting class each Thursday morning.