Roberts’ artwork featured during Art After dark

Oct 02, 2013
Photo by: Jessi Stone Margaret Roberts' artwork can be seen at Twigs and Leaves on Main Street.

Margaret Roberts of Waynesville is this week’s featured artist at Twigs and Leaves art gallery on Main Street.

Roberts’ work is represented at her own Soaring Mountain Gallery, Twigs and Leaves Gallery and Cedar Hill Studio, all in downtown Waynesville.

During Art After Dark on Oct. 4, Roberts will be at Twigs and Leaves from 6 to 9 p.m. She will not only have a display of her new collages relating to "Appalachian Autumn" but she will demo a collage where she will ask for audience participation. She said she has done this type of collage for seven years at Quick Draw and the crowds really seemed to enjoy being a part. Roberts encourages parents to bring their children.

“The children bring a fresh dimension that we adults rarely think of,” she said.

Roberts, a total convert to Western North Carolina, remembers wanting to move to the area at the age of 6.  She and her family came through Maggie Valley on their way to Cherokee and Gatlinburg.

"I knew that I wanted to be in these mountains,” she said. She and her husband Hughes Roberts, made that a reality in 1998 when they bought a cabin in Jonathan Creek.  After Hughes retired they moved here full time and Margaret connected with like-minded artists at the Blue Ridge Watermedia Society.

She has a bachelor’s degree in art and a master’s degree in adult education.  As an events planner for IBM in St. Louis, Missouri, she had the opportunity to stretch her creativity in yet another direction. She had previously taught art k-12. While in St. Louis, she also gave talks and exhibits of her work for Barnes and Noble stores. Her theme was "how to learn to paint from books."

Although Margaret works in acrylics, oils, pastels and watercolor, her first love is watercolor collage. She invented this technique while trying to "rescue" a failed painting about 15 years ago. Intrigued by the results, she experimented more with the manipulation of the paper on to a basic watercolor painting. Old failed watercolors found a new life as torn additions to a new painting.

Margaret and her "painting buddy" Ann Todd have enjoyed donating a "Day of Art" to local charities for a fundraiser. They give painting instructions to a group of eight in the morning. After lunch and "fortified with wine" they return to the studio to finish their masterpieces. This year's beneficiary is Sarge’s Animal Rescue to be auctioned at its annual fundraiser dinner auction Oct. 3.

Margaret also has a group of friends that come to paint once a week in her studio.  “There is no instruction, we just paint and exchange ideas,” she said. “At lunch we critique each others' work and drink a little wine.  Some people seem to think critique denotes something negative. Not us — we encourage each other then make suggestions or ask questions for clarification.”

Although she loves to paint, her favorite reward from the process is observing others.

“It is so exciting to see someone who has never painted before create a painting that they are proud of,” she said. “I recently had an 80-year-old lady from Atlanta come paint with me. She was a little nervous so I gave her a few ideas and let her go. She ended up with a really nice vase of flowers.  I could see her glancing at it on the wall and each time she had a little smile.”

Margaret has agreed to be a new guest columnist for The Guide. Once a month she will be interviewing and spotlighting the work of area artists who are active in the Waynesville art scene.

"We have so many wonderful local artists that it is my hope that by showing what we have to offer, we will become even more of an art destination,” she said.