We had the good fortune of connecting with Margaret Stillwell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Margaret, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I have always liked a challenge. My dad gets the credit for always encouraging me to try, and to not be afraid. He gave me the confidence that has carried me through a lifetime of ups and downs. I also had a fair amount of curiousity and drive to just see how far I could get with something. I would just start and keep going. I didn’t see it as a risk, per se, it was like seeing if you could reach the top of the mountain. Even if you didn’t, the view and experience expanded your life.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art is what I call “abstract realism”, in that it is edgy in style , but the content is recognizable, so it is not your typical abstract painting. People tell me all the time that they love my art, and that is the most satisfying feeling. If someone can walk into a gallery and recognize your art, then you have succeeded. Getting known requires being active in the art community; enter shows, join galleries, host events and most of all, make friends with other artists who you can learn from. I entered the artist life as a third career, but have been blessed to befriend seasoned and knowledgeable artists who I emulate in marketing, to a degree. Marketing your work is the most difficult part. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is important. I learned that I would rather hire someone to do the computer work of the art business, which ends up giving me much more time to paint. My brand is, “Follow that dream!”, because my work has to do with personal journeys, spiritual insights and soulful intersections as we travel our life’s path.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live (part time) in one of the most beautiful places in the Sierra Mountains, Lake Tahoe. A visit is not complete without exploring the lake, either by boat, car or on foot. We would have to stop at Sunnyside for lunch on the lake, followed by a massage in Elaine’s yurt in King’s Beach. We would hike around Spooner Lake, have a glass of wine at sunset on the beach at Zephyr Cove. We would also have to take a jaunt by train or car up to Virginia City. We would see the local bands of wild horses, pan for gold, shop for souvenirs, take a tour in an old mine, perhaps visit the cemetery and eat a carmel apple. Finally, we would need to go to one of the luxury casinos to catch a show of a big name entertainer, with dinner at the steakhouse first. Then we would end our visit in my studio, doing a collaboration piece of art depicting our vibrant friendship in color.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to give a shoutout to my good friend, Donna Barnett. I went to art school with her and we quickly became friends. Our styles are very different, but that is good, because she sees things that I miss. When I’m almost done with a painting, I send it to her, for a critique, before I publish it to social media.
Website: Stillwell art.gallery
Twitter: Stillwell Art @goldenvoltage
Facebook: Maggie Stillwell