By Shawnees Peacock
Mt. San Jacinto College student
Since deciding to retire after 41 years of work as a secretary, local fine artist Margaret Wood has made it her mission to enjoy this new period in her life by devoting time to develop her craft as an artist.
Here's the story of the Arts Council Menifee Artist of the Month for June.
Wood was first introduced to painting at the age of 18 when she came in contact with a co-worker who was married to an artist. Her co-worker’s husband taught her the basics of stretching canvas and how to work with oils. This was during at-home classes he taught to people who were eager to learn.
This crash course - in everything about the process and technique that art requires - sparked her interest in art. It propelled her to continue to take as many art classes as she could while still working full-time.
Retiring from her professional career finally gave Wood the time she desired to perfect her skills as a painter. She accomplished this by joining Arts Council Menifee’s “Visual Arts” group last year.
“I’ve always been interested in painting but I never devoted so much time to it,” says Wood. “But now that I am retired, I have the time to be a part of an art community like this.”
This sense of community she found with Arts Council Menifee has helped to fill the void created after Wood retired. It allows her to engage with like-minded people who have a similar passion for art.
“When you are working, you’ve got a host of people around you. But when you retire, there’s nobody there. You have to find some sort of outlet to connect with people,” says Wood.
She continued, “I’m enjoying being a part of this group. I get to do something fun now.”
Being a part of Arts Council Menifee for the last year has given Wood the opportunity to share her artwork with the Menifee community and to learn from other local artists as well. Just in the last year, Wood has displayed her paintings in six shows.
“It’s inspirational to be around other people who are doing the same thing as you are,” says Wood. “Even though we are all different, I’m inspired by them.”
Although Wood is still finding her niche in the art world through experimentation with different techniques, materials and subject matter, her “nature inspired” pieces stay true to her goal of relating a sense of joy through the use of vibrant colors.
Her use of highly-pigmented colors, done with acrylic paint and visible brushstrokes in some of her pieces, helps to create real energy in the work that translates to the viewer.
Wood has also begun to experiment with portraits in the last year, with the help and support of her peers at Arts Council Menifee. She hopes to continue to develop her skills as an artist and to make long-lasting friendships with other creative people who live in the Menifee community.
For more information, please the Arts Council Menifee website.