Watercolor Wonders with Margaret Dwyer

By Sheryl Trainor

Margaret Dwyer can’t remember a time when she wasn’t an artist. “In my earliest memories, I always considered myself an artist. It’s something that was so intrinsic throughout my life that I can’t really define a starting point.” Her career as a practicing and teaching artist stretches back to her teenage years.

Her association with AVA began decades ago and she has become a popular teacher of watercolor, both by itself and in combination with other media. Her “Experimental Watermedia” class has been very popular and involves painting with plant material, breaking glass, and something she calls “the nun’s technique”– a little trick she learned in Catholic school.

But it is watercolor that is her true love. “I love the way that watercolor moves on its own and responds like no other medium. The paint falls off the brush with a mind of its own.”

Watercolor is generally understood as a difficult and finicky medium and sometimes disparaged as wimpy or pale. But not in Margaret’s capable hands. Watercolor “requires a response from the artist as opposed to wanting to be fully controlled. I think it is a very misunderstood medium. The saturation and vibrancy of hue and value that can be obtained is dramatic. It is also very responsive to many of the different experimental techniques that I love to try.”

Margaret finds inspiration in her own work through teaching others. “It inspires me to try new mediums and techniques, and to connect with other creative lifelong-learners. I have met many wonderful people through my teaching. Ideas and artistic methods are constantly in motion in my studio practice, and it is a joy to share that with others through teaching.”

This year, she is excited about a new chapter in her life. Margaret has been chosen to be the 2019 Artist in Residence at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, VT. “I’ve been creating a body of work that reflects this beautiful park’s themes of nature and conservation. It will be my job to engage park visitors to the landscape through art.” Margaret will be on site frequently throughout the summer and fall in residence in the recently completed artist’s studio.

Margaret is kicking off her residency with a gathering in her private studio on the third floor of AVA’s Carter-Kelsey Building on May 10 from 5–7pm and on May 11 from 11am–4pm. Stop by and say hi!