Margaret Benefiel






“My first introduction to art was through children’s book illustrations of theĀ 1940s, characterized by strong black outlines and bright color. Perhaps that is what drives the flat, decorative style I paint and draw in today.


“Clematis and Butterfly Weed”, mixed media, $125.

My main activities growing up were reading, drawing, riding my bike and climbing trees. I did not attend a formal art class until my family moved to Grand Rapids in the 1950s. At Union High School, I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful art teacher, Phil Hammer, who encouraged my interest in art. By the time I graduated from Grand Rapids Junior College and was ready to attend Michigan State University, I had spent my Saturdays and Summers working as a counselor for the YWCA, teaching arts and crafts classes. I knew I wanted to teach art to elementary age children. I spent the next 35 years doing just that, working in public education, retiring in 2003.


“Flower Chair and Curtain”, mixed media, $115.

Fifteen years ago I decided to paint seriously, and since I’ve retired, I work daily in my studio. I work with watercolor, gouache, pen and pencil, often mixing these media together in layers. My subject matter is primarily figurative, sometimes based on family memories of my childhood. Women in interiors, gardens and landscapes show evidence of my characteristic flat color and pattern style.




"Blue Chinese Export", mixed media, $185.

“Blue Chinese Export”, mixed media, $185.

Over the last several years I have painted series of work that include women, saints, dance, figures in movement, women & flowers, Madonna & child, and nudes in the studio.

My figures are about relationships and everyday routine. They share a smile, a look of serious contemplation as if they are about to engage in a particular action, and then go on with their daily lives. They have a story to tell.”




Click on any of the thumbnails below to see the full image.