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Margaret Donharl

Margaret Donharl




I am a painter who layers brilliant birds, flowers and landscape over symbol and pattern.

My process involves applying paint and glazes onto recycled hardwood doors using my own hand cut stencils. Building layers of luminous color, pattern, and organic forms creates a complex visual weave and provides textural backgrounds for my acrylic paintings. Early in the process, I work more intuitively with paint, adding and subtracting many elements to experiment with imagery. I’m interested in recording the accidents and erasures in the process and I remain open to the unexpected, the surprising. I may start with an original intention of what the painting will be, but, at some point, the background informs me of what the painting wants to be. While not attempting a literal portrayal, I always include realistic images in the final layers.

I am fascinated by natural and organic formations – plant life, for example, inform and inspire designs within all societies, whether functional or decorative. I’m working with birds, plants and landscapes as elegant symbols of beauty, of fragility and impermanence. The birds and plants are idealized, not individuals. Their grace and vulnerability connect us with our deeper selves and beyond.

My intention is to cause a spark of imagination and emotional response in the viewer – allowing new interpretations and personal connections to the natural world. As an artist, I strive to bridge my painting with my concern for the environment. My hope is that by connecting the viewer with the subject, we will be reminded of our interdependence as stewards of this planet.

Margaret Donharl obtained her BFA in commercial art before pursuing her career path as a graphic designer and illustrator in Boulder, Colorado. She eventually returned to her foundation in fine art and now paints brilliant birds, flowers and landscapes on recycled hardwood doors.  She participates annually in Boulder’s Open Studios and is also a member of the NoBo Art District.