Margaret Shipman | Contemporary Fine Artist
Religion, science, and art used to be intertwined in human culture. With my work I seek to reconnect these threads and understand how we humans fit in on this planet which is itself alive. I also seek to deepen my own spiritual and practical relationship with the land around me. I am inspired by the vibrant craziness of the world and magic in everyday life. I’ve always drawn and painted, and I learn through creating. Recently familiar plants have been my avenue to explore my place in the world. I study and paint the plants around me, learning their names, their uses in traditional medicine and magic, and their “personalities.” In the process of making these paintings, I organize the new information in a way that makes sense to me. The process allows me to grow in my connection to the plant, the land, and as an artist. Painting with oils on canvas, I borrow simplified shapes, bright colors, and collage from folk art. Also in that tradition, I make use of whatever materials are on hand. Often I hand stitch onto the canvas old photos, old text, fabrics, and recently my own notes about the plants I am painting. As part of my research I make medicine from the plant, usually involving creating tinctures and infusing oil. I will then mix the paint with linseed and olive oil infused with the plant in the painting. I live with my family in an old farmhouse in southern Vermont, surrounded by gardens, woods, a stream, and animals. They feed my drive to learn about and depict in my artwork this spiritual connection to the land.