Sketching with Margaret OwenCollege LifeGalleryNews

Russell Owens sketching the blurr and the light of Owen painting. (Photo by Paulene-Wendy Ntsame Assoumou)

Artist Margaret Owen talks about her artwork. (Photo by Ariana Stephens)

To step into the new Morris Gallery of Contemporary Art in the MVC Technology building to admire the 100 painting by Margaret Owens feels like walking on the grass, bare-foot during spring.

Fresh, energetic, free and warm, the exhibit could be used as Margaret Owen’s self-portrait. From Providence, R.I., she is the first artist to show work in the new art gallery. Owen spoke to students and others about her artwork on Tuesday morning, Aug. 30, before an evening ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new gallery.

Charity-Mika Woodard and Margaret Owen met at the New York Academy of Art in graduate school.

Owen’s oil paintings have been  influenced by some famous artists, such as Paul Cezanne (a French artist impressionist known for his attachment to the nature in his painting) and Vincent Van Gogh (the oh-so gifted Dutch post-impressionist painter who would have chopped his ear off).

Owen enjoys how artists translate their visual experience into two dimensions by breaking things down into more basic forms and colors, she said.

Indeed, colors and dimensions are two main features in Owen’s work. Owen’s oil paintings are bright with contrast in the colors. She constantly plays with the hot colors (red, yellow, hot pink, etc.) and cold colors (navy blue, gray, etc.). The “Child Under Water” painting in the exhibit is one of the perfect examples.

Another word that jumps out of her work is: reliefs. She loves the thick bits that give physicality to her work, she said. It is hard not to want to reach for that fruit that seems to coming out of the frame!

“If you are willing to make a fool of yourself, that’s when you are good at it,” Owen said, while explaining a couple of tips for the artists-to-become present at the gallery that day.

Student Melissa Bublitz creates a sketch. (Photo by Paulene-Wendy Ntsame Assoumou)

Messing up and repetition are also master keys, she said. Her whole exhibit is based on her daily painting blog, where she commits herself to paint or sketch something from life or a photograph every day.

Owen showed students what she sees as flaws in her work, the one she is not really fond of, and her favorites.

“How do you start on something that overwhelms you?”  Matt Moyer, adjunct Art instructor, asked. Draw a thumbnail sketch of anything you want to draw, she answered. She also invited the students present to take any type of pen and do a quick sketch of anything around them.

Student Russell Howes.

 I chose the student with a cool-story-bro shirt, Russell “RJ” Howes, as a model for my sketch. He scribbled quickly and seemed  pretty ill-at-ease doing so.
He focused on that two-part portrait in the middle of the room. The first part is blurry as if somebody tried to take a picture but missed it and the second one is the exact same one but clearer.

From all the Quentin Blake alike-sketches (Quentin Blake is the illustrator of the novel “Matilda” by Roald Dahl), Howes’ drawing was probably one of the best. He is an Art freshman majoring in Graphic Design. “Ninety-five percent of what I draw is because I think it is funny,” he said.

Margaret Owen shows a real work on how to play with light on this portrait.

  But here again, Owen pointed out the fact that judging your own paint or work tends to take the creativity away, she said.

“Worrying about the outcome is the difficult part,” she added.

What would be her three words to say to help out any beginner or artist in hesitation? “Just do it!” she said. It can be quick and short; sometimes do not labor over things, she added.

Paulene Wendy

About Paulene Wendy

Paulene Wendy Ntsame Assoumou has contributed 22 posts to The Delta.

Paulene-Wendy Ntsame Assoumou is majoring in Mass Communication and is a member of the Lady Viking basketball program. An international student from France where she graduated from high school in the Literature field, she wants to travel the world and learn sign language. Wendy aspires to be a writer.


  1. Thank you so much Paulene-Wendy! I enjoyed speaking with you and the other students at MVP very much. I was impressed by the students willingness to sketch on the spot. Thank you for welcoming me into your vibrant community and writing this generous article.

    • Paulene Wendy
      • byPaulene Wendy
      • onSep 13, 2011

      Thank YOU Margaret.

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