Misty Gunter Russian considers herself an “artist by night” – fitting in time for her art in the evenings after her day job in finance administration and between stints caring for her children alongside her husband.
“I'm fortunate that my husband is really supportive of my art. He will just take over making dinner or take over free time with the kids after school so I can just sit and paint,” said Misty, who says her husband understands that her art is how she unwinds. “For me, it’s more of a stress relief.”
Having her work selected for our special collection of products in celebration of Women’s History Month has been life-changing for the artist from Eaton Rapids, Mich.
We chose Misty – along with two other Midwestern women artists – to have her art printed on stationery, gift bags, canvas tote bags, key rings, kitchen towels and decorative boxes. The limited-edition products are available in all Meijer supercenters while supplies last now through April 1.
“Meijer gave me this opportunity that was a second start,” Misty said. “I had struggled with some postpartum depression, and life got in the way of me doing things that I loved. When I won the contest, it was just an eye-opener, like, you can do this. You can be this person that you want to be.”
Misty finds inspiration in the diversity of beauty found in nature.
“Flowers are all different, but all equally beautiful,” she said. “In my head, I wanted to show that different is beautiful and diversity is beautiful. I hope that people who see my art and recognize that regular people can do big things. I hope it inspires some other women to create.”
As a young girl, Misty loved creating things, from writing poetry to taking photos. While adults encouraged her creative side, some warned her that art was a difficult career path. She hopes her art can inspire others to let their creativity loose.
Misty works in watercolors and acrylics. She uses the latter for murals she often is commissioned to create in children’s bedrooms. She has begun working with 3D printers to add an extra dimension to her artwork. She was also commissioned as a muralist by her local fire department, where her husband is a firefighter. The mural features Smokey the Bear.
Art is her way of connecting with people, and she believes her art in Meijer will let her share her passion for creativity with a new, larger audience. Her wish is that her role in creating the products in our stores will inspire other women to make time for something in their life that brings them joy.
“When women lift each other up, it really creates a positive ripple across the community,” she said. “I hope that I can create some more things that people will see and feel empowered and feel beautiful and feel strong just by looking at what I’ve made.”
Learn more about the other Midwest artists highlighted as part of our Women’s History Month Collection.