Thursday, September 30, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Margaret Mayer

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Margaret's painting "Mick's Garden" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Maggie's DPW Gallery Page:

Growing up, Margaret Marya Mayer (aka Maggie) was always an artistic person, who recognized beauty in everyday life. Since childhood, she has experienced life in places all over the world from the Colorado Rockies to Europe and the Middle East. She lived in Atlanta, GA for most of her adult life and moved to Mississippi in 2019 to be near her elderly parents. Maggie currently works in marketing for the Madison County Library System and paints during her spare time and on weekends.

She grew up in Mississippi where her family owned a log house and land off the Natchez Trace Parkway. When her father was offered a two-year contract job in Saudi Arabia the family moved overseas so, Maggie, age 15 at the time, got to see the world. Her life on the farm, love of nature, and travels abroad have a big influence in her work.

"My hope with my work is to paint from my heart and bring joy to the viewer.”

What did you want to be growing up?

I didn’t have a plan for what I wanted to be when I grew up. I can remember being a dreamer as a child. I loved to daydream and often had my head in the clouds. I would create all kinds of stories in my imagination and plans for a future. Back then my dad was a traveling medical supply salesman, and he would sometimes take me with him on his road trips. Since my dad was a master storyteller, we would often collaborate with these dreams turning them into stories, building castles in faraway places with horses and lots of land. 

When did your artistic journey begin?

When I was in 5th grade, I had an art teacher that believed in me. She saw potential in me and that I had a desire to learn. She encouraged me and was very patient, gentle and kind. I felt comfortable making art in her class. That was the beginning.

Mick's Garden
(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Margaret's interview.

Did you have long periods without creative expression? How did you get back on the horse?

Fortunately I haven’t had too many times in my life without creative expression. I can think of times in my life when I had to schedule time to paint because of other commitments like when my kids were very young or other family commitments. Also, while working full time I set aside time to get in my studio even if that means saying no to other fun things to do. One thing that has kept me on the horse is having a permanent place to paint in my house… somewhere I can leave my paints and easel set up so that when I do have time I’m ready.

Which mediums and genres do you gravitate toward? Which ones don’t appeal?

I gravitate towards oils. I have also been using gouache quite a bit lately. I’m still learning the water ratio. I love the mat finish but not so much how fast they dry. I paint many different subjects. I like to paint scenes that appeal to me on an emotional level. Sometimes it’s a memory or feeling that I try to capture on canvas. Sometimes it is dependent on the light. I love to look for subtle nuances of color shifts and try to capture that in my piece. It seems if you look hard enough you can see many different colors in a scene but the shifts are slight. I love the challenge of putting it all together in a painting and having all the design elements like value and composition work. Sometimes I leave parts of a painting unfinished but that’s intentional if it’s not necessary. This also allows the viewer to participate by finishing the painting themselves.

Urban Morning
(click to view)

What was the process like of pinpointing your personal style or finding your voice?

Miles of canvas. I believe my voice and style came out after I had been painting for many years. I have been all over the board with my voice but I think it settles into you the more you paint because you discover what you like. I found that I was really having an opinion when I looked at artwork.

Name an artist (or artists), well-known or not, who you admire. Why?

I love the work of Jill Soukup, an equestrian painter. She captures the solidity of the horse in both her drawings and paintings with composition, color, values, and edges. I like the work of Russian painter, Slava Korolenkov because of the expressive quality of his work. I admire the work of Anne Blair Brown from Tennessee. I took a workshop from Anne. She is an amazing colorist and I love the mood and subjects of her paintings. I appreciate the Northern California coastal paintings of Jim McVicker. There is so much mood and feeling in his work and I am constantly asking “how did he do that”.

Clare Bowen is an English painter who I met at a workshop. She is such an inspiring person to know and gave me some great advice about pursuing my plein air work. I love Clare’s tonal plein air paintings. I just discovered Kathy Odom and I’m so inspired by her plein air paintings. I like her underpainting work and then how she boldly puts paint on canvas sometimes with a palette knife not to disturb the layer underneath. Her work is so fun and joyful to me just like her personality.

Famous painters: Nicolai Fechin and JoaquĆ­n Sorolla. I admire both of these painters because of their bold and expressive work.

Chellberg Farm at Indiana Dunes National Park
(click to view)

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger, creative self — what would that be?

Take workshops from artists whose work you admire. Don’t get discourage when you make bad art because it’s part of learning. Don’t compare yourself to others. Think of making your art as play and have more fun. Enjoy the process and not just the finished work.

Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle?

If I’m very busy and over committed to other things I still try to paint for only 30 mins to an hour every day. This is an antidote to creative blocks. I’m stealing this advice from the book The Artist Way by Julia Cameron because it works. Making small amounts of time each day means that I’m moving forward with my work and more likely to show up again the next day.

(click to view)

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward?

I pray and journal and remember all my blessings and recall what I’m grateful for… sometimes even writing these things down in a gratitude journal. I’ve struggled with self-doubt, stress and anxiety at times in my life. I don’t know if this comes from my sensitivity but it draws me closer to God. Giving it to God and surrendering clears the junk and fear that holds me back.

What are some of your long and short term goals for yourself or your art?

Short term: To keep painting every day and take a Kathy Odom workshop. 

Long term: A dream of mine is to paint our National Parks.

High Hill Hopes
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

Doing something that I enjoy to bring someone joy is a success and success is courageously going for it and not asking “what if”.

What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?

The opportunity to be an artist in residence at Indiana Dunes National Park. This was an honor and I’m grateful.

Hound Dog
(click to view)

Thanks, Margaret!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

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