Margaret Martin – Coping with Art“The Artist’s Way - theHumm November 2020

Margaret Martin – Coping with Art“The Artist’s Way - theHumm November 2020

By Sally Hansen

Art… and Soul

After many years as an elementary school teacher, Portland artist Margaret Martin is now focusing on her own artistic abilities with beautiful results.

Many of her acrylic paintings reflect her love of nature and landscape. Her paintings are deeply emotional statements about her connection to and gratitude for the natural world. Her waterscapes and landscapes testify to the restorative, healing, and inspirational powers nature bestows on us if we take the time to contemplate and respond.

Another favourite subject that appears in her work is the interior of rooms. Here she plays with the questions that a lovely but unoccupied room asks. Who will convene in this carefully decorated and prepared space designed for human interaction? Who went to the trouble to prepare it? Beyond the lovely detail she captures, her exceptional gift for creating atmosphere invites contemplation.

Martin works from photographs, many of which she takes while travelling. As she puts it, “When you travel, you look, you notice the different quality of light… I look for composition.” Her painting process is anchored by a photographic reference, but she feels free to take liberties — even most photographers do that in these days of post-processing software. Mercifully, there are no accusations of Fake News when artists stray from reality to express themselves creatively. Margaret anchors her embellishments within the realm of possibility.

Her pathway to becoming a serious artist has been a meandering one. Born in Belleville, she remembers being “one of those young people, around the age of 10 or 11, who gets to a stage of development where you really love to draw in a big way.” She graduated from the University of Guelph with a B.A. specialization in Fine Art. Her marriage, a move to Saskatoon, and three sons resulted in a detour that lasted eleven years before she came back to Ontario and eventually acquired her Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University. Even while in Saskatoon, however, she took art courses, and her painting of a bunch of kids coming down a big slide garnered an honorable mention in the city’s competition for a visual representation of the city.

For roughly fourteen years before her retirement in 2011, Margaret Martin taught art to elementary school students in the Upper Canada District School system. She loved her rapport with the children and still enjoys learning that one of her former students is pursuing a career as an artist.

In addition to teaching art she became a Yoga teacher. She also became interested in the ancient traditions of mandala art. A mandala is a geometric configuration of symbols that has emerged throughout history in cultures from all over the world. In addition to providing spiritual guidance, they also are used to focus attention and as an aid to meditation. Margaret continues to create her own unique designs with coloured pencils.

A Switchback

Martin credits two stimuli with setting her back on her original path to pursue her own career as an artist. Her retirement suddenly provided her with lots of free time, and she took two seasons of painting lessons with Ottawa artist Blair Paul. As a result, she switched her medium from watercolour to acrylics, and: “that’s when my paintings became recognizable as works by me.” She cites other important factors in her new career as well. Julia Cameron’s 1992 book The Artist’s Way strongly influenced her. In particular, Martin found that journaling became an important tool in discovering and releasing her creativity. She also writes poetry. At her art shows she offers lined journals replete with original poetry and reproductions of her paintings.

Noting that she is not an artist who works in isolation, upon retirement she immediately became a member of the Rideau Lakes Artists’ Association, and greatly values the encouragement and feedback she receives. With more free time on her hands, as a member of the United Church she became licensed to lead worship services and then studied to become a Level 1 Spiritual Listener. She served five years as program coordinator of the training program for adult learners to qualify as lay worship leaders, until COVID-19 forced a pause.

Her solution to dealing with social distancing during these difficult times is characteristically creative — Pickleball has become her lifeline to socialization. She has been playing outdoors a lot and worries that the arrival of winter may limit her opportunity to exercise and meet with friends due to indoor court availability. My guess is she will find another creative solution.

Inaugural Art Show and Sale

To begin with, she is participating in the inaugural art show and sale taking place on November 14 and 15 at the new Emmanuel Heritage Centre — formerly known as the historical Portland Emmanuel Anglican Church overlooking Big Rideau Lake. The Church has been purchased, renovated and repurposed by the Portland Rideau Historical Society. In addition to art shows, the Society is planning musical events, jam sessions, classes, artisanal markets and much more.

It is important to note that this inaugural art show features two local artists and two locations. Margaret Martin’s evocative works will be hanging in the Emmanuel Heritage Centre at 2767 Hwy 15, and Claire Jacobs’ vibrant paintings will be on display at her Chandelier Tree Gallery Studio on Colbourne Street. You are invited to wear your masks and enjoy both.


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And Sorry About the USD Thing…
- theHumm November 2020

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Margaret Martin – Coping with Art“The Artist’s Way - theHumm November 2020

By Sally Hansen

Art… and Soul

After many years as an elementary school teacher, Portland artist Margaret Martin is now focusing on her own artistic abilities with beautiful results.

Many of her acrylic paintings reflect her love of nature and landscape. Her paintings are deeply emotional statements about her connection to and gratitude for the natural world. Her waterscapes and landscapes testify to the restorative, healing, and inspirational powers nature bestows on us if we take the time to cont......


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- theHumm November 2020

By — The Lanark County Food Bank

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