Margaret, who is from Philadelphia, had two artistic sisters, but wasn’t initially encouraged to pursue the pastime herself.
“My older sister Emily was designated as the family artist,” Margaret said. “I had a few art lessons as a child, but my father put a stop to that as a ‘waste of time.’ My other sister Heather was very creative too. I just studied.”
Margaret continued studying and traveled across the globe in her adulthood, attending the University of Pennsylvania as a sociology major and education minor, studying for her master’s degree in UPenn’s experimental urban education program, moving to Hawaii for a certificate program in instructional media, completing a doctoral program at Indiana University’s School of Education, traveling to Thailand to teach English as a second language with the Peace Corps for three years, returning to the U.S. to attend a technical training school for computer programming, working in the field for six years and eventually coming to Tampa, FL, in 1989.
“I attended a course at the Tampa Technical High School in commercial art,” Margaret said. “I also tried on many different roles: customer service phone rep., private school teacher, technical writer, essay grader, secretary for a national honor society and, in the end, the clerk in the Florida State child support office handling mountains of paperwork. I retired from the state of Florida in February 2014.”
After her class at the Tampa Technical High School, Margaret knew she wanted to experiment more with art.
“When I was working in Tampa, I went to the Hillsborough Community College Ybor City campus art studio on Saturday mornings for a few years to paint in oils and acrylics,” she said. “But only in retirement have I been able to focus on art. I’ve had courses at the Life Enrichment Center in drawing and painting.”
For the past five years, Margaret has concentrated exclusively on watercolor painting.
“I keep running into new watercolor techniques that I just have to try,” Margaret said.
Margaret goes out with the Tampa Urban Sketchers, a group whose members set up in areas of Tampa – indoors and outdoors – to draw or paint whatever they see, and sometimes goes to art museums to do figure drawings on her own. She has sold paintings at exhibitions sponsored by Arts4AllFlorida, a nonprofit organization headquartered at the University of South Florida that has the goal of bringing art inclusively to every person, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.
Margaret’s painting featured for March in Concordia’s calendar depicts three pots of succulents.
“They were at the Ybor City market, and after I took that photo I thought it would be fun to paint all the different colors these plants offer,” she said.
Her painting for the month of June is of a white ibis.
“I photographed it among the colorful croton leaves at Busch Gardens and always wanted to paint it,” Margaret said. “I tried to incorporate some concentric circles in the design. I also liked the contrast between the soft pale bird and the aggressively colorful leaves.”
When she is creating, Margaret finds that the rest of world just fades away.
“The lovely thing about art is that when I’m immersed in drawing or painting, nothing else really matters,” she said. “It’s relaxing, meditative and calming. And it allows me to express myself in ways I cannot with words.”
Margaret also finds a sense of belonging in her new home, Concordia Village of Tampa. She moved in July 2019 after looking for a community where she would have onsite health care services, if needed.
“I could feel the friendliness and openness from the start of my stay here,” Margaret said. “I think the current management is as caring, careful and experienced as anyone would want. I am happy to be here; I love my apartment in the clouds.”
Margaret keeps up with many activities at Concordia, including going to the movies, OLLI yoga classes, water aerobics, fitness classes and, her favorite, the Tuesday afternoon art group.
“There was a great workshop here on painting a Florida sunset with palm trees in only three colors; it would be lovely to do more things like that,” Margaret said. “Concordia Village of Tampa has truly gifted and productive artists!”
To learn more about the retirement living options offered at Concordia Village of Tampa, visit www.ConcordiaTampa.org or schedule a tour today. Call: 813-977-4950 or message us through the contact form on our website. To request a free copy of the 2019 Concordia Calendar, “Brush Strokes 2,” call the Public Relations Department at 724-352-1571, ext. 8268.