At Gentle Farm, Meg and her husband raise heritage chickens and plant the heirloom flowers and vegetables that Meg wants to paint.
Each of Meg’s paintings is the result of patient observation, in-depth research, and a painstaking process. For a flower portrait, she takes dozens of photos of the plant in its natural setting. Then she photographs individual specimens against a plain, mid-tone background such as cardboard or Belgian linen and shoots them a third time in her studio with controlled studio lighting. Only then does she begin sketching and working out ideas for the composition. If the nomenclature or other information is to be part of the work, she researches and chooses a style of calligraphy that best suits the composition and subject. “When [the painting] is so pared down, it all has to be perfect,” she says.
Meg often photographs and observes a subject for years before beginning to work. “I may watch a milkweed for several seasons,” she says, all the time building a painting in her head. The photos provide reference points, but Meg takes artistic license to get at the essence of the subject. “I try to be true to the flower or bird, but I may need to tweak or exaggerate it to make it work,” she explains. Her goal is to capture the inner spiritual beauty she sees, to identify what she loves about it and get that down on paper in a way that others can see it too. The joy she feels when she immerses herself in the heart of a sunflower or the eye of a salamander is “the soul responding to divine beauty,” she says, and that spark of divinity is what she hopes to convey in every piece of art that she creates.