Margaret Trapnell dived back into her art about three years ago.
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“I’ve always been artistic and I was just trying to find a medium to use. I tried watercolours, I tried this, I tried that … and when I started to use the colour pencils and the graphite, it was ‘OK, this is what I want to work with,’” said Traphnell, a retired United Church minister.
“The watercolours, I can’t control, whereas the coloured pencil I can.”
Trapnell, who has an art diploma from Georgian College and Visual Art B.A. from Brock University, converted an extra bedroom into a studio and she often has one or two projects ‘on the go.’
“Now that I’m retired, I have that time again.”
Last weekend, the Woodstock artist participated in the April 30-May 1 Oxford Studio Tour, along with 34 artists exhibiting in venues across the county.
“My artwork is the animals that are in coloured pencil and graphite,” said Trapnell Sunday afternoon at the Station Arts Centre in Tillsonburg where she is on the board of directors.
Animal life featured prominently in all of her exhibited art, both domestic and wildlife, which included profiles of a rhinoceros, donkey, falcon and more, usually based on her own photography.
“I try very hard to use my own photos. This (falcon) is a photo I took at the Toronto Zoo. It had the leather tether (jesses) attached to his feet, so I took that out so it would look like this. He was actually standing on somebody’s arm, so I turned that into a branch.
“I have an affinity for the animals, especially the donkeys. I’ve been to the donkey sanctuary and taken pictures.
“If we’re not careful, we’re not going to have them, so this is why I like to show them.”
Trapnell uses special paper Mi-Teintes and Stonehenge, which has a vellum look.
“Mi-Teintes has got a little bit of a tooth to it. Stonehenge does not have the texture Mi-Teintes does, but it still has a good tooth for holding the pigment. With colour pencil, you layer. I’ve had people ask if it’s pastel, but as you can see you’ve got the different colours layered in here so you can get the depth.”
She also works in calligraphy, specializing in Celtic script, and makes dye silk scarves, and she would also like to branch out into pet portraits.
“I’ve done a couple (pet portraits) and I’d like to do more. People like to remember their animals, or if their pet has passed, it’s another way to memorialize them. A photograph is one thing, but if you have a drawing or a painting it’s another thing again.”