Margaret White's subject matter includes the human figure and face, flowers, birds, insects, vegetables and jewelry. Her use of gold leaf and the arched form suggest a reverence to the viewer, and the ‘feel’ of an icon or altarpiece without the religious subject matter. Margaret prefers oil pastel as her media choice, and uses the techniques of incising and shaving with a knife to attain various details and textures.
From her earliest memories, Margaret was aware that she was doing artwork that "looked better" than her classmates, that she was "talented." She attended the Detroit Public Schools in the 1950s and early '60s, when the arts were celebrated and special abilities were enriched and fostered through myriad after-school and weekend classes. She was recommended to attend Cass Technical High School, where she majored in art. "It was an amazing experience," she says.
She earned her BFA and MA from Michigan State University and did extensive coursework at Wayne State University in printmaking. She taught school and spent 30 years teaching high school drawing in Southfield, Mich. "If you REALLY want to learn something, teach it for five hours a day for years," she says.
She also has experience in art history, many media and a bevy of techniques.
She's married to fellow artist Bill White, an oil painter. They have a retirement home on Torch Lake and have been creating in their studios there since 1996. Their work is shown at five Michigan galleries.
She says there aren't any "messages" or "deep hidden meanings" in her work. "I paint what I love and what makes me happy," she says. Her images reflect her love of the human figure, color, texture, pattern and her fascination with the process. Add a touch of whimsy!
One unique aspect of her work is her use of vintage frames — many of which are hand-painted to tie in and become part of the central image. Often, motifs in the frame reappear in the painting. The frames are an integral part of the piece, as opposed to the usual neutral surround.
Margaret calls herself a "picker" rather than a "slap-dasher" and loves how people react to the detail in her work. She revels in the meticulousness.
"To be an artist all my life has brought me so much joy and fulfillment," Margaret says. "My goal is to keep at it until I keel over."