Joyous, cheerful, exuberant - these words are regularly used to describe the artwork of Margaret McFetridge from Wellington, in Prince Edward County. Margaret was born and raised in Toronto, and has had the good fortune of living in many different places in Ontario as well as spending a decade in Quebec. As a young child, her parents encouraged her art through classes at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and that passion never left her.
Her early career saw her working with watercolours, silk and porcelain paintings. By the 1990’s she was experimenting with oils and that was when she discovered her true medium! That was when she went big – big canvases, big brushes and big, confident strokes. She says that the work just poured out of her and you can feel her energy through these large, vibrant and colourful floral works of art.
In 1999, Margaret discovered Wellington. She says “I came to the County with some friends. I could feel the creative energy here, and that was in November! I hadn’t even seen it in the summer!” Margaret bought her old Victorian home and took it back to its original form. There she lives with her feisty tortoise shell cat named Baitley. “I feel like I am charmed.”
Margaret begins each day in the early first light of the day painting in her bright and spacious home studio. She calls this her “creative solitude time.” An addition she envisioned for her century home in the County, this studio is an exquisite architectural design which appears to double as a conservatory of sorts as the perimeter is full of plants. When you enter, your eye draws up to see several curved beams in the vaulted ceilings, giving the space a strong and feminine feel. The rounded top arches on the oversized windows continue this theme while providing plenty of natural light for her work and the many plants that surround her art studio.
These plants are also her models. “I grow pretty well every flower that I paint.” In the middle of it all are the working canvases. Margaret usually starts three paintings at the same time, all depicting the same subject in different sizes. It is quite a practical approach as the colour palette is out anyway, but also serves to keep things fresh as she moves from one canvas to the other.
It all starts with applying an undercoat, always in pale pink or mauve. She explains this provides a soft beginning for the painting and she always lets this background come through in her work, giving them an ethereal feel.
From May to October, Margaret welcomes you to view these paintings just steps from the studio in her circa 1880’s carriage house converted into a wonderful art gallery. Year round, you may visit her studio by appointment, and visit her website at www.margaretmcfetridge.com
Joyous, cheerful, exuberant - if you know, or come to know, this artist, you will certainly agree that they are words that could also be used to personally describe her.