201 Washington Avenue Grand Haven Michigan 49417 616-846-5460


Margaret Benefiel


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

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.

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. Over the last several years I have painted series that include saints, dance, moving figures, the Madonna and child, and nudes in a 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.

To request more information about this artist, click here.


Clematis and Butterfly Weed Mixed Media


Orange and Blue: Mixed Media


Sliding Hill: Mixed Media


Blue Chinese Export: Mixed Media


Early Spring Woodlot: Mixed Media


Blue Flowered Chair and Curtain: Mixed Media


Beaded Coiled Bracelet: Glass and silver beads, vintage beads