Life is a funny thing. You can travel many miles, and spend years wearing different hats, but if you are lucky, you get to return to your childhood endeavors. Such is Margaret Stillwell’s story. From grade school through her master’s degree, she would sketch horses on her assignments. Her instructors once stated that she didn’t need to put her name on her paper, they knew it was hers by the horses drawn all over it.
Margaret (or Maggie, as she is commonly known as) raised three sons, and taught school, grades Kindergarten through college level classes. She has passionately ridden and studied horses all her life. It was her lifelong dream to own her own a working facility, planning it as early as 12-years-old. She poured over catalogs picking out buckets and blankets, tallying up the costs lying on her canopy princess bed. Finally, her dream came true, and she designed and built a ten- stall barn, with all the amenities. She trained, gave riding lessons, organized and conducted kids horse camps, and boarded horses for 18 years. A series of injuries and a long recuperation led Margaret to art. Through extensive training at the Milan Art Institute and the recreation of self, her sketches of horses morphed into colorful and poignant abstracts that whisper of wildness that forges onward in faith. Her artwork represents the journey of life with all its sweetness and challenges. Stillwell conveys adventure, exploration, beauty and a soul connection in her equine art.
The trust, shared challenges, and respect for a four-legged partner is that special feeling of connection – its love. Her equine art is often inspired by the local mustangs, her cowgirl friends, and her own experiences in the saddle. Margaret Stillwell paints romantic narrative abstracts with a contemporary impressionistic style. She often begins with inks and charcoal, moving to acrylics, markers, spray paint, collage and then finishing in oil paint to develop depth. She has had her work featured at the Northern Nevada Arts Gallery in the Brewery Arts Center of Carson City, East Fork Gallery and Prism Gallery both in Gardnerville, and will be showing two pieces in the “Myths and Legends” show at Nevada Fine Arts, in Reno this January.
She has painted commission pieces for folks all around the country and has sold internationally. Stillwell is a bit of a gypsy and paints in one of her three studios – on her ranch in Nevada, in her hacienda in Arizona or her cabin at Lake Tahoe. She lives with her two horses, two dogs, a cat and a very good man. In Maggie’s Own Words… Horse Tales is very proud and honored to publish the great works of Maggie Stillwell. Her exceptional artistry is remarkable and her style is one of a kind. This month’s cover is and will remain one of my favorites and I hope you enjoy it as much as we at Horse Tales have enjoyed presenting it to all of you. Besides being a phenomenal artist, Maggie is a true through and through horsewoman.
You can see that in her paintings. She has captured them in such a way that they communicate and live with comfort on her canvas. She knows them, loves them and has great respect for them.
Maggie tells me that her earliest thoughts were of horses. “I remember being about 4-yearsold and wanting to be a jockey. Horses were always in my blood, and I begged for a horse, a dog, a ranch and a pick-up truck from the time I could talk. Which sounds normal if you grow up in a rural lifestyle, but I grew up in suburbia with parents who didn’t even want a cat. I finally got my first horse at about 10-years-old. My folks didn’t think I’d stick with it, so I got a bridle, a halter, a brush and an old $200 mustang mare from Nevada – a blue roan. She wasn’t fancy, but she taught me
everything a good horse should be. She was worth her weight in gold. We rode everywhere bareback and barefoot. The rest, as they say, is history. I’ve had horses ever since, except for a few years in college and when my kids were little.”