Margaret Bertrand has now been painting full time for close to fifteen years. Her work has been exhibited and sold in San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay and in the San Francisco Bay area. She has studied painting with noted San Luis Obispo county artists as well as San Francisco artists.
She is a member of International Encaustic Artists, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art Painting Group (TPG), Central Coast Printmakers, Morro Bay Art Association, and ArtsObispo.
Margaret first tried her hand at painting when she was about sixteen. She knew no artists and had taken no classes. As she puts it, “I simply went out and bought some oil paints, a brush and canvas board and had at it. This should have told me something about my artistic leanings but I was young and it did not.” The works were attempts at realism. She found them unsatisfactory and they remain unfinished. It was not until 1993 that she painted again.
In 1960 her closest friend took her to her first art museum – the Art Institute in Chicago. She found it marvelous. She loved Salvador Dali and Giocometti. From this her interest evolved and she took enough art history classes at Northwestern to have an art minor.
Margaret graduated as a psychology major and went on to spend thirty three years in business, serving as Vice President of International Marketing for. a multi- million dollar personal care company in Chicago and Vice President of Global Marketing and Product Development for multi-million dollar, family owned snack food company in Oakland.
Concurrent with her career, in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, she became an avid photographer, winning several prizes for it.
She began painting again in 1993. That year she recounts: “I faced many emotions that I had no place to put. Numerous friends died and my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. So I began to put my emotions down on canvas.” In 1997, upon retirement from her career, she began studying painting, poetry and Zen Buddhism all of which heavily influence her work.
Whether encaustic or acrylic painting, the work teems with wild color and an enthusiasm for her craft. Most recently her Waterfall series of encaustic work is inspired by a chapter in Zen Mind, Beginner’s mind by Shunryu Suzuki in which he compares human life to a waterfall. Three of these works were chosen by jurors for the International Encaustic Artists exhibition Consequential Fusion: Messages in Wax currently showing at Art Center-Morro Bay and two others were chosen by the jury for the Encaustic Masters exhibition in Troutdale, Oregon.