Hooked on watercolors


Retired nurse Margaret Sams has always loved are and still finds watercolors "fascinating."

Artist never tires of watercolors

DALLAS -- Maggie Sams said that as a child, growing up in Ireland, she would sit at her kitchen window and sketch the bay life that unfolded before her. It was the beginning of a lifelong love of art.

After high school, it took Sams nearly 15 years to take up her favorite hobby again. She started small with a watercolor class through Chemeketa's adult education program.

During the day she worked as a nurse at West Valley Hospital, but in her free time she learned about painting.

"I am fascinated by the interaction of watercolor and paper," Sams wrote in an artist's statement.

"I often start with a wet-on-wash, and enjoy watching as the colors run and blend. I especially appreciate working with my brushes and paints, seeking to capture the essence and subtleties of light."

Since Sams' retirement, she has devoted much of her free time to painting. She converted a back bedroom into a studio.

She said she works whenever the mood strikes -- which is mostly in the mornings, when she can take advantage of the eastern light pouring through her window.

She normally paints from original photographs that she collects from around Oregon, many from festivals and vacations at the coast.

A basket painting she recreated from a photo she took at Salem's World Beat Festival won an achievement award at a recent Oregon Water Color Society show. The painting is still hanging there and will go on tour with the rest of the show later this month.

Sams has participated in local Paint the Town events in which area artists wander a certain part of Salem and create paintings on the spot -- spontaneous portraits of Oregon's weather and people.

Four of the paintings hanging in Sams' studio are a result of her last Paint the Town endeavor and recently were shown at Chememketa with other works from that program.

Sams said she draws most of her inspiration from the natural world and from her memories of growing up in Ireland. Her work can occasionally be viewed at the Capitol Manor Bank, alongside her fellow Capitol Manor "Wednesday Painters."

More information about watercolors in Oregon: www.watercolorsocietyoforegon.com


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