Gallery opens exhibit featuring Burnbrae resident artist’s work

Margaret Macmillan’s paintings will be on display at the Arts and Heritage Centre in Warkworth until July 10

Burnbrae Gardens resident Margaret Macmillan is making a splash in the local art community with the recent opening of an exhibit of her paintings at a Warkworth gallery.

On May 21, the Arts and Heritage Centre (Ah! Centre) opened Margaret’s exhibit, called A View From My Window. The exhibit features several of the paintings Margaret has created during the past 70 years, many of which are landscapes and buildings in and around Campbellford and Norwood.

One of Margaret’s favourite paintings – and the one her exhibit is named after – depicts a winter scene from a window of her house in Campbellford.

Margaret, who is 96, attended the opening with family members and says “there was a very good crowd” on hand to see her work.

“People came and went, and there were a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a while, and that was good,” she tells The OMNIway.

On its website, the Ah! Centre describes Margaret’s artwork as “abstract impression, working with bold colours and lively shapes, in many media including oil, acrylic, water colour and pencil.”

Margaret was introduced to painting and drawing at an early age. She recalls her kindergarten teacher bringing objects to the classroom for students to draw, and this, she says, sparked her interest in art.

“I saw that I could draw, and that (interest) has carried on through the years,” she says.

Margaret began seriously painting in 1949 and studied under two renowned Ontario artists, Paavo Airola and Peter Kolysnik.

Impressed by her “excellent colour sense,” the admissions board at the Ontario College of Art gave Margaret a one-year exemption when she applied for the four-year experimental arts program in 1975, the Ah! Centre states on its website.

Margaret completed the program in 1978. She also completed a BA at Trent University in 1994 and a B.Ed at the University of Toronto in 1999.

Asked what advice she has for aspiring artists, Margaret says they should look for inspiration in their outdoor surroundings.

“If you can’t paint nature at some time during your career, there’s not much point in painting at all,” she says. “That’s my advice for the day.”

Burnbrae Gardens administrator April Faux says Margaret has always been humble about her artistic talent.

She says many of the home’s staff members were surprised to learn such a gifted artist was among them when posters advertising Margaret’s exhibit began popping up.

“Her artwork has been a hidden secret,” April says.

The exhibit of Margaret’s work will be on display at the Ah! Centre until July 10. You can visit the Ah! Centre website for more information.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Burnbrae Gardens resident Margaret Macmillan is seen here alongside one of her paintings, A View From My Window.