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Margaret Welty

P.O. Box 305

Diamond Springs, CA


(530) 409-9111



Margaret Welty during a teaching session

Margaret Welty is a longtime artist and experienced teacher with a passion for art and a dedication to helping others discover their own creativity. Creator of Drawing Free, an innovative method of teaching art, Margaret has helped thousands of students learn how to draw, paint, and create art — even those who thought they couldn’t.

Starting on her path as an artist at a young age, Margaret worked in both two- and three-dimensions during her high school and college years. In addition to painting and drawing she experimented with the permanence of metal, the fluidity of wax, and the personalized, decorative context of jewelry. In the 1970’s she focused on fiber art, delighting in the unification and contrasts of texture and color provided by dyed and woven fabrics. As her artistic repertoire grew, Margaret moved on from tapestries to hand-painted fabrics wrapped around hanging tubes. Many of these unique compositions, suspended in fields of vibratory space, were commissioned by corporations, individuals, and organizations throughout California and the United States.

a painting by Margaret Welty

The end of her marriage in 1994 helped inspire Margaret to reinvent her art once again, and she found a new focus in painting on canvas. Studying for three years with painter Oliver Jackson at Sacramento State University, as a post-graduate student and teaching assistant, gave Margaret an opportunity to develop a painting style that is personal and creative while simultaneously grounded in formal training. Her deep yet playful paintings are layered with patterns, visual relationships, and meaning. Combining her thorough knowledge of compositional schemes with a strong streak of artistic freedom, Margaret’s landscape paintings led Jackson to declare that they contained “so many devices that they are running away like a bunch of wild horses.”

Margaret paints with oils in formats ranging from small canvases to large on-location commissions. After many years of finding inspiration in her Old English Sheepdogs, which can be seen throughout her work, Margaret has now returned to her landscape paintings to explore value relationships.

Margaret Welty and her Old English SheepdogMargaret knew she wanted to live a life of art when she was only a child. In an episode that spoke of her future, a young Margaret visited the grand opening of a new supermarket and was delighted by a table with a sign that read “Free Drawing.” Only seven years old, she already knew that drawing should be free and available to everyone, and this seemed as though adults finally understood that art and creativity should be encouraged. Excited, Margaret hurried over and asked “where can I draw? Where’s the paper?” only to leave disappointed when she realized that this wasn’t a place to draw, but only a prize raffle.

That brief moment, when it seemed as though drawing was everywhere, available to everyone, has stayed with Margaret ever since. As a teacher, she strives to make that dream come true for her students, and help them embrace drawing freely.

a 'custom made' couch complete with sheepdogs

Margaret’s unique perspective on teaching combines thirty years of exploration and experimentation with insights that come from unusual and surprising places. Training her Old English Sheepdogs in herding, agility, and obedience enhanced Margaret’s ability to break learning into discrete, easily learned steps. In the early 1990’s, Margaret met obedience trainer Jeannie Dennard, who introduced her to Karen Pryor’s Don’t Shoot the Dog, and told her “if your dog can tell the difference between training and playing, you’re training too hard.” Margaret took those words and Pryor’s methods to heart, using them in her training and adapting them to the classroom. She now sets her students up for success with exercises that emphasize fun in the process of developing skills.

As a child in elementary school, Margaret found the art projects constricted in scope and lacking in opportunities for individual, creative solutions. Now a teacher of children and adults alike, Margaret stresses artistic freedom and creativity.

Perhaps her most important revelation came when she was teaching “Art and Children,” a college level class designed to help teachers and parents who often fear drawing and making art learn how to teach art to children. Providing a “you can do it” attitude and emphasizing participation and personal accomplishment, Margaret realized that this was how she wanted to teach all her studio art classes.

Fashioning these insights together with her already considerable teaching experience, Margaret created a new method of teaching art called Drawing Free. Emphasizing personal creativity, fun, and the developmental stages of making art, Drawing Free allows students the artistic freedom they need to express themselves and discover their inner artists, while still providing the instruction, guidance, and exercises that allow them to learn and grow.

Margaret Welty currently resides in the Sierra Nevada foothills, where she paints the surrounding and ever-changing rivers, ponds, and vineyards. Having taught at colleges throughout California, Margaret is currently an assistant professor of art at Folsom Lake College, where she teaches studio art courses. She also creates and instructs a regional cable TV show, Art Creativity and You.

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