Five Questions for Artist Margaret Evans

As our first workshop of the 2018 season, we look forward to welcoming back Scottish artist Margaret Evans! Margaret will be joining us from March 18-24, 2018 and expanding her Unleashing the Pastels curriculum for artists of all mediums! Margaret herself will working in pastels, but will also bring watercolor, gouache, and water soluble pens for additional demonstrations.

In advance of her workshop, Margaret took a moment to answer a few questions we had about her approach to art.

Q: What’s been your most unexpected source of inspiration?
ME: Scottish weather!

Q: How has teaching impacted your personal art practice? And vice versa, how does your approach to your personal art impact your teaching style?
ME: I have to remind myself of what I preach when getting into difficulties! I make it fun, and remind all to keep an open mind and willingness to gamble.

Q: What’s one tip you have or trick you use for keeping your studio space organized?
ME: A quick morning tidy up before starting work – otherwise i can’t find anything and trip over things.

Q: Who are your art heros?
ME: Robert Wade (AUS) and John Singer Sargeant.

Q: What exciting projects are you working on right now or big dream projects you would love to begin exploring?
ME: Working on large scale corporate paintings and exhibiting outside Scotland.

 Find out more about Margaret on her website and give her a follow on Facebook & Instagram to see what she’s up to!

Watercolor and Pastel

Two weeks have sped by and now I have two wonderful workshops to post about. The first one was a 5 day watercolor workshop with incomparable Mel Stabin! Mel had them working in the studio and out around the Hudson / Catskill area. IMG 3921
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IMG 3928 Dinner with Mel was always a jolly time. In fact on the final night he had them tapping a rhythm while he sang for them. IMG 2133 Following the week with Mel, Margaret Evans arrived on the scene to teach Pastels Unleash! The weather that week was a bit on the hot side, but Margaret always found some nice shady areas for painting her demo. IMG 3945
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This is Margaret’s watercolor sketch of the Hudson River as viewed from Olana. IMG 2142
Margaret then showed the class how she used that quick sketch a reference for doing a pastel painting back in the studio. IMG 2146
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During a couple of rainy days in the studio a model stopped by for a sitting! This is Troy, Alexis’ dog (and our “emergency back-up dog.”) Troy can be found in the office on most days, in case anyone needs an emergency dog petting experience! IMG 2147 This is Troy up close and personal! IMG 2149 There are two other inn dogs, in case you didn’t know, Hudson, a dalmatian, and Bree, a ridgeback, who mostly get out and about while the class is in session. They have their own room on the 3rd floor of the Main Inn.

Margaret Evans Unleashes Her Pastels

Margaret Evans, the delightful and talented Scottish artist, was here once again teaching a 5-day workshop for pastelists. The focus of the class was to “unleash your pastels” and discover their versatility when used on their own or with other media.

Here are Margaret’s pastels unleashed!

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. . . and here is her demo started on the first day.

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She finished the painting with more detail later on in the week and we’ll post a picture as soon as we get it framed!

Margaret loves to paint outside and that was the plan for this workshop, but after the first day, I think the weather tried too hard to make Margaret feel at home with damp, rainy weather! The valiant group did make an attempt to paint out by the Hudson River, hoping that the clouds would clear, as they had on the first day but after spending the morning in the large covered bandstand in the Athens riverside park, the group returned to the studio.

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Margaret kept everyone busy working from photo reference or florals (our peonies always seem to bloom in profusion and then are followed by torrents of rain that flatten them to the ground, so we had dozens of vases filled). During breaks in the rain, some students immediately found inspiration around the inn for a bit of plein air painting.

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It was a great week. “Exceeded all expectations” was a comment by one student that was echoed by all.

Margaret will return again in August of 2016! Don’t miss it.

An Interview with Margaret Evans – Pastels Unleashed


Margaret Evans is one of Scotland’s renowned international artists. She teaches all over the world and is the author of numbers art books and DVDs. Her latest book is Pastels Unleashed.

Margaret has been coming back to teach for us over and over again. Her workshops are always so dynamic and fun because of her enthusiasm, knowledge, and sense of humor!

She will be back again this June to teach a 5-day workshop based on her new book, Pastels Unleashed.

Here are Margaret’s responses to our interview questions:

How long have you been teaching and what got you started teaching?

I started teaching in adult education when my children were still small, so evenings to begin with and gradually built up until my husband and I were like ships passing in the night!

What is your favorite part about teaching?

My favourite part is probably the very part that scared me senseless in the beginning – walking into a room full of strangers, showing them not so much what I can do, but what they can do with positive attitude, perseverance and faith! And mostly out of that, a few good friends emerge for the future! I am truly blessed by the quantity of repeat business I still have after 25+ years teaching , which always helps me think I must be doing something right!

What would you tell your prospective students are three best reasons for taking a workshop?

What – only three??!! Firstly, they are broadening their own personal horizons by indulging in something they feel interested in… Secondly, they will enjoy meeting like-minded people, sharing the same interests, fears, and challenges, and make great new friends. And thirdly,…well..they will meet ME, learn how to paint, how to express themselves on paper/canvas/board etc., and pick up a few exclusive Scottish words in the process! What’s not to like??!!
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What are you currently working on in your own art?

At present, I am working on new techniques, new ideas and new ways of introducing pastel as a strong contender for painting sales in galleries. I have cut back the number of workshops I will teach at home in the future, and am concentrating on painting more for galleries & exhibitions, plus teaching only for people like HRV. The workload on my easels consists of – more Scottish paintings for home galleries, new Italian work for International Galleries, and some Colorado work for my represented gallery in Denver, CO.

Where is your art currently being exhibited?

My work is in most of the top Scottish galleries, Elements5280 Gallery near Denver CO, Swanston Gallery IND and hopefully soon the Ann Jackson Gallery in Roswell Atlanta GA ( my incentive is that my son lives there and gets married in December this year!)

Is your work represented in galleries, and if so, what hints would you give to artists looking for gallery representation?

See above…. I would recommend studying the galleries that suit your style of work best, chat with the owner, let them know about your objectives, and your dedication to help them sell your work by promoting the galleries, and constantly striving to ‘better’ your work, and ‘up your game’!

Do you sell your work in any online gallery?

I have tried – honestly I have – Etsy, Daily Paintworks to mention 2, but find it all so time-consuming, and truly believe that my job is to paint, and the galleries who represent me ….their job is to sell! Call me old-fashioned, but that’s what I think it should be like, instead of trying to be all things to all people.

What is your favorite art quote?

It has to be Ed Whitney’s great quote ” Tell beautiful lies” reminding the artist not to copy what’s in front of them, but to elaborate, exaggerate, abstract-icate…whatever it takes to make it YOURS!

Describe your studio.

Always a mess….but a lovely, cluttered, untidy, organized mess. I have always believed that a tidy studio is the sign of a quiet unproductive studio. I don’t mean it has to be forever TIDY – there is a balance. I have to know where everything is, so every so often, I have a clear up and organize it again! I have a section for pastel work ‘on the go’ – an oil section permanently loaded up with fresh paint to keep me balancing the mediums, and a sketching/ preparation / ideas corner where my travel diaries meet my laptop/photos/computer and give me the source from which my ideas emerge. Oh and there’s usually a commission corner where portraits and special requests are under construction to keep the money coming in!!!

Name five of your “can’t” do without tools/products

  • When travelling and painting, I can’t do without my Heilman box – it is by far the easiest and best way to travel with pastels.
  • In the studio, I use lots of different brands but could not do without my indulgent Terry Ludwig Pastel sets which are like icing on the cake – creme della creme.
  • My travel easel is is an ordinary photographer’s easel that has been adapted with Velcro pads to stick the board on to -see Valpod on Google
  • My Swan Stabilo water-soluble pens are invaluable to doing little value sketches before a painting
  • Art Spectrum papers are with me always, as I love the colours, and can instantly create an exciting sketch using this paper


More Recent Instructor Interviews:


Versatile Pastels with Margaret Evans

It was a whirlwind 3 days with Margaret Evans of Scotland! Margaret usually teaches a 5 day workshop for us every other year, but due to popular demand we just had to fit Margaret in for a workshop this year, too!

The group enjoyed a day at a local farm.


The marvelous painting in the foreground is Margaret’s demo.


A grand time was had around the dinner table – delicious food and lively conversations.


Margaret will be back in 2014 for her usual 5-day workshop. You don’t want to miss it!

A Bit of Scotland in the Catskills

The weather seemed intent on making Margaret Evans feel right at home with a bit of mistiness every day, in between the sunshine.


On Thursday, the group went over to Olana, the historic home of Frederick Church. When lunch was delivered at noon, the class was still in their gear but having a good time in spite of the drizzle.


Soon after lunch, the sun came out to reward the class for their enthusiastic spirt! Margaret always brings out the party spirit in all her students.


Next year Margaret will be back again, this time to teach a 3-day workshop on the versatility of pastels!

Watercolor to Pastel

David Taylor’s class finished off the week with one and half days at Coeyman’s Landing. The first day it started raining soon after they got there that they were only able to get photo references, but it was such a subject rich location that everyone decided that it was worth going back the next day, which cooperated by being a beautifully sunny Fall day.


Back at the inn for the final dinner on Friday night, David showed off his style by wearing his new Crazy Tie (a hand-made quilted tie featuring guitars) and fabulously colorful socks!


This week Margaret Evans of Scotland is here teaching a 5-day pastel workshop.

After lunch, Margaret presented a demo outside with the Carriage House as the subject.


We’re crossing our fingers for more good weather for more outdoor painting!