I am inspired by living in and learning about the local natural environment here in Vermont. The historical relationship between the natural world and people fascinates me. Learning about the traditional medicinal qualities of the plants in our landscape as well as their place in folklore motivates me to find out more about all of the new plants I come across.
The paintings I make explore this relationship between landscape and people. My work represents my own yearning for a connection with the land as well as a desire to understand our ancestors’ spiritual and cultural connection with nature.
My imagery includes plant mandalas, portraits of roadside weeds, and local landscapes. In all of my work, plants (usually wildflowers) are the main focus, with text and photos referring to the history of the land and folklore of the plants often hidden in the shadows.
- Margaret Shipman, August 2022
My whole career has been a pursuit of learning more about people and how we fit into this puzzle of a world. I think the thing that makes me unique is that I have been largely doing that through art - other people’s and more recently my own.
I have BAs in Cultural Anthropology and Studio Art. After college I pursued a career connecting anthropology and art, working on projects linking indigenous artists in the U.S. and abroad with markets for their work. For the last eighteen years I worked and volunteered for arts organizations in Southern Vermont, recently devoting myself full time to making art.
My medium is mostly oil on canvas. I include some collage elements into a lot of my paintings. My style is based in 19th century and older botanical drawings and landscape, but it ventures into folk art and surrealism too. The major theme of my work is exploring the interconnectedness of the natural world and how we link with it as humans. I’m interested in ecology, biodiversity, folklore, and history as it pertains to the land and people.
I live in a 200 year old farmhouse in southern Vermont with my husband, son, and a few dogs, cats, and pet turtles. The house is surrounded by wildflowers, woods, gardens, and beehives and nestled between a mountain and a river.
I'm the co-creator of the Wayfarer Tarot and collaborating on a second deck to be released in 2023.
Brattleboro Reformer, September 2020, Adding Something Different, Kris Radder
Vermont Winter Vacation Guide 2017, Love Where You Live
The Commons, February 24, 2016, Drawing a Crowd, Richard Henke
The Commons, February 10, 2016, Shipman Paintings on Display at Amy's
Southern Vermont Art & Living, Winter 2013 - 2014, The Art/Life Balance, Arlene Distler
photo by Kris Radder of the Brattleboro Reformer.
Underpinning my art is the need to establish a connection with the land.
I'm seeking to understand the workings of the ecology of the landscape as well as human history with nature.
My paintings are of wild plants, herbs, and pollinators. They are also about folklore and the interrelationship between nature and humans. Small bits of wisdom, poetry, and practical advice are written among the busy-ness of my designs.
Respect for the interconnectedness of the natural world as well as our own relationship with it is important to my own journey, and grows for me with every painting.