Santa Maria Sun / Art
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 33
Artist Margie Bowker gives back to the community that has supported her creativity
BY JOE PAYNE
Margie Bowker has been living in the United States for less than 20 years, but in that time she has carved out a place for herself in the art world. Born and raised in South Africa, Bowker has enjoyed success in the states with her artwork, which she shares every year by presenting a benefit show for a local charity or nonprofit.
“I don’t think I could live without doing community work in this fashion,” she said. “The people of Santa Maria and the American people have done so much for me, it’s one way of giving back, and it’s wonderful to know that there are so many homes that have my work in them.”
For as long as Bowker can remember, she was always drawing. Before she ever took brush to paint she was sketching and drawing the people, places, and wildlife she grew up with in South Africa.
“Most artists have to draw before they paint. I’m one of those,” she said. “I’m not an abstract artist. I never just schlep on the paint—never, never, never—and it’s too expensive anyway.”
Bowker sketches most of her subjects, be they plant, animal, or person. From there, she paints, not limiting herself to one kind of paint. She is comfortable with oil, watercolor, acrylic, and silk painting.
“I like to paint on silk with silk dye,” she said. “Once you’ve got the knack for that, it is just so awesome to do.”
Bowker worked as a schoolteacher in South Africa, painting being a lifelong hobby. When she applied for a green card in her native country—a lengthy process in most countries—she had no idea that her hobby would end up supporting her in the states.
“It’s my living now and I am so grateful to have it supporting me,” she said. “It’s also a real privilege that over my 17 years here I have actually collected several collectors.”
Though she calls on her native country for inspiration often—she actually took a trip to South Africa in March of this year, which provided much of the inspiration for the benefit show—Bowker loves living on the Central Coast and painting the subjects she finds locally.
“I love painting the vineyards and the old barns and the countryside and the spring flowers,” she said. “And I love to paint the ocean, too, though it doesn’t stand a chance against the South African ocean.”
Her benefit shows in the past have been for local groups such as Hats for Hope and Community Partners in Caring. The Santa Maria Valley Humane Society especially needs the funds, Bowker explained, because it is nearing completion of new facilities and is in need of all the help it can get.
“Everybody must please come and support the Humane Society,” she said. “They do so much wonderful work for animals that have been lost or abandoned.”
Arts Editor Joe Payne is a proud parent of two Santa Maria Valley Humane Society rescue dogs. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.