Decidedly eclectic: artist Margi Laurin

MORRISBURG – “I find there is a certain middle space between traditional art and digital art.

This is the space where I have discovered that I like to work,” said artist Margi Laurin.

She is one of the featured artists at the upcoming Art and Studio Tour in South Dundas on Saturday, August 19.

Margi will have her home and studio on High Street in Morrisburg open between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., to exhibit her art pieces, and to talk about her passion for all things artistic.

Visitors to her studio can count on this: Margi’s art is highly unique, and it takes many forms.

“I have to ‘do art’, yes,” she said during a recent interview. “But how do I define art? Well, I don’t stick strictly to the Fine Arts. I also work on my iPad. I do illustrations and works in print and calligraphy.

I see a big crossover between the easel and the iPad, between the traditional ways and the digital.”

Margi is a self-taught artist, who began painting when she was perhaps eight. “I drew some back when I had children at home, but now I am back at my work.”

She can perhaps be best described as eclectic: many genres of art and art styles interest her.

“I work mostly in acrylics on canvas when I do traditional pieces,” she explained. She doesn’t work in water colours or oils.

When she does paint, she returns again and again to one subject which deeply fascinates her: canoes.

“I’ve always loved them,” Margi explained. “A canoe is a simple design, yet at the same time complicated. I actually took a course and built a canoe, learning its angles and curves and the fit and flow of the wood. I love the way the ribs create strength. When I canoe, I have a view of the different angles of this magnificent boat…the way the paddle looks when I rest to take its picture.

These are the images I paint.”

She is also deeply attracted to books, old books, which she paints because “they are so beautiful. Then, of course, I can’t throw any of them away,” Margi added with a laugh.

Other forms of art also fascinate this artist.

She is interested in carving. Her annual Hallowe’en pumpkins, highly unique, meticulously carved, and often created as wonderful caricatures, are well known in this community and beyond.

For her grandchildren, she “carved” an entire Whoville out of gingerbread.

She has also done wall murals, in particular a stunning full-size Batman scene for the bedroom of her grandson.

However, a growing artistic passion for her lies in the digital world.

“I simply got fascinated with the digital approach to art, especially as the apps developed and allowed me more tools to work with, more methods of expression, more freedom.”

Where once a painting might begin with pen and paper, now she carries out preliminary sketching on her iPad.

“The stylus gives me pressure sensitivity as I experiment with the colours and texture of the art that may transfer to canvas. I sometimes print directly from the iPad.”

People do not always understand the nature of this form of artistic expression, mistakenly assuming a “computer” is somehow turning out the art piece.

“You are not manipulating some picture on the iPad,” Margi explained. “You are starting with a completely blank canvas. Then you begin to work in layers.

One piece I did, ‘Always Paddle Your Own Canoe’, has over 20 such layers. Each component of the piece is added individually. Layer one is the background, and, as I create, I can erase my ‘pencil mark’ layer.”

She is also fascinated with typography.

By working on the iPad, if she has accepted a commission, she can allow her client to see the work in progress, and to make comments and suggestions.

“When I am done,” Margi said, “the person receives the full file, and can transfer the design to a shirt, a poster, a mug, a sign.”

For the Art and Studio Tour, Margi Laurin plans to have a lot of examples of her different work on display, arranged both on her front porch and in her upstairs studio. She also hopes to demonstrate digital work.

“People coming to visit will be able to see how a digital picture ties into a traditional picture. I think a lot of people don’t know much about the artistic possibilities and capabilities of an iPad.”

“This new technology, well, I feel it has changed the way I work,” said Margi Laurin, one of several area artists who will open their studios to visitors on the 2017 Art and Studio Tour and Sale, Saturday, August 19.

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