Website & places you can find my work online:
Linkedin: Maggie Weakley
Follow Maggie on twitter: @callmaggie
Where I am
Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
My love of animals and art began at a very young age, and that is why Maggie’s Angels is Heaven sent.
I was born in Elizabeth NJ, and when I was four years old we moved to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. We lived there for five years while my father studied to become a Doctor of Internal Medicine. We moved around a lot until my family settled in Orlando, FL where I went to school from the age of 14 -19 years old.
I left Orlando to go to art school were I received a BFA degree in Illustration from Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio. As soon as I graduated, I was chosen to be the Art Director for the Everyday Card Line at Shoebox Greetings, of Hallmark Cards, Inc. in Kansas City, Missouri.
I left Shoebox when I got married in 1993, and began working with my husband’s company, Blue Sky Graphic Communication Inc. as an Illustrator, while also freelancing for various Greeting Card Companies.
We moved to Ocala, Fl. in 1998 and it was the Marion Cultural Alliance’s Horse Fever Project that introduced our talents to this great community.
In 2000, I came up with the idea for Maggie’s Angels, but it wasn’t until 2005 and the MCA “Bark About Art” Show that motivated me to create the paintings, and gave me a platform to showcase this line of pet portraits. It is a blessing that my Maggie’s Angels company is thriving, and the best part is that I’m having a dog-gone-good-time doing it!
When did you first start drawing?
As long as I can remember I’ve been drawing on anything and everything. When I was really young, I loved drawing the Disney characters. I was fascinated and studied how the animators captured the expressions on the characters faces.
I’ve always wanted a career that involved animals, and for a long time I worked towards becoming a marine biologist. The summer after high school, I took a group art class with Barbara Bassett, an art teacher that changed the course of my life. That was the beginning of my journey to becoming an artist.
You don’t just paint horses, what is your favorite animal to paint?
I love painting all kinds of animals! Right now, my Angels are mostly Dogs and Cats. I’m currently working on some big Horse paintings that are bright and have my signature smiles & personalities.
Who are your main influences?
Disney is my number one inspiration, it’s the quality of the emotional development of each of the characters that influence my art. The impressionist painters specially Mary Cassatt, Degas, Monet, as well as painters like Chagal, Klimt, Sargent and Sorolla have taught me about color & light. I believe that Maggie’s Angels is a descendant of the combination of all those influences.
Do you (or did you) have an animal that is the muse behind your work?
Yes! Perry was my West Highland Terrier. I think he and I were soul mates. I was a Sophomore in college when I got him and we went through a lot together. He was with me for 13 memorable years. I have sketchbooks filled with drawings, stories and ideas about him.
Also Fe, my White German Shepherd, which I adopted when I was working at Hallmark Cards Inc. was also a huge source of inspiration for 15 years. I miss them very much
These two marvelous dogs were the perfect example of unconditional love and it is why I have a farm full of animals; like Angel, a Westie, Sky an Aussie, my Overo blue-eyed Paint Horse Luna, 2 Nigerian-Pygmy goats Trixie & Lightning, a white Parakeet named Dove and fishies. They are all a constant inspiration for Maggie’s Angels.
Do you have any secret rituals you do to help you get in the zone for your art?
I wish I did. I am a true procrastinator.
It takes me a while and usually a deadline for me to get in the “Zone”, but once I’m in it, a bomb could go off and I’d probably not hear it.
My life is extremely hectic and full of “to do” lists. I’ve been trying to balance it all, but unfortunately with no luck.
I am at my most creative from Midnight to 4:00 am. I wish I could change that creative clock in me, but recently I’m just giving into it and producing some great paintings because of it. In the middle of the night, when everyone is asleep, and its quiet, that un-inturrepted time is how I can focus on my work.
I don’t have to think about what I have to do, where I have to go or who is calling me etc., I can just focus and be creative.
Aside from being sleep deprived and possibly killing off some brain cells from the lack of sleep I do love it and I’m very happy!
Is there a particular place that brings you inspiration?
Our farm is a huge source of inspiration and peace for me. I love walking out to feed my horse, Luna, and 2 pygmy goats, Lightning & Trixie, along with my constant companions Angel, and Sky.
They bring me so much joy and laughter, they are all so funny. I then walk down our long driveway to get my newspaper feeling the breeze on my skin, listening to the birds singing, and looking up at our tall pines while throwing a ball for my Aussie to fetch. This is my daily routine. Its like a dream and I’m blessed to live it every day.
What effect do you think the Internet will have on art in general?
The effect of the Internet is enormous on Art and any other career for that matter. We are such a global society right now, and I can imagine that it will be bigger and better in the future.
We can connect with many resources from the convenience of our homes. That alone is huge! We can showcase, advertise, sell, manage, create, post, teach, inform any time of the day anywhere on this planet. It is infinite the power of the Internet.
Has it had an effect on yours?
Being a Freelance Artist I have to advertise, go to Art Shows, create flyers, send tear sheets to companies and all kinds of other promotional items to get my artwork seen. Doing all of this, costs a lot of money and I might not even reach my targeted audience.
Having access to a computer and the Internet I can have a Website, a Blog, Videos on YouTube, eBay, Etsy, Cafepress, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and a ton of other sites all of which promote my business for free or with a small fee.
It is truly incredible how now we can reach our target markets, sell and promote around the world right from my home computer. We’ve come a long way!
Which one is your personal favorite piece?
That is hard to say. I have so many portraits that I’ve done, each is a milestone and a learning experience. Usually, the one I’m currently working on is my favorite.
Right now, I can’t wait to reveal the painting of Luna, my Paint horse, that I’m working on. This 30″ square painting is so fun and bright that I’m really loving how it’s coming together.
Would you ever sell it?
No, never… OK if someone would pay a lot of money for it then maybe… probably NOT! 😉
What else are you passionate about?
My Family! My husband and my two sons are my life. They come first, and that is probably why I work in the middle of the night.
I could probably do more with my company by creating more paintings a year, participating in a lot of Art shows and really put myself out there, but it would come at a great price.
I feel that I’ll have plenty of time for that when the boys go off to college, they are 12 & 13 years old right now and this is when I feel parents really need to pay attention.
Time flies by and I’m not willing to miss out on anything. There are many sacrifices I make, but I have so much joy and a great reward to be able to spend time with my 3 very fun boys!
Working on anything new?
Oh Yes!!! I’m doing so many terrific pieces right now. My sketchbook is full of ideas, that are now being realized. I have new paintings with more of a relationship theme that I’ve started, and I’m also developing a card line.
I’m so excited about all of them! I have commissioned paintings that I’m always working on, and since time is an issue I work on all these projects when I can. As soon as they are done, you’ll be the first to know!
More to Come
Thanks to Maggie for answering the interview and sharing her art. Be sure to subscribe to her MaggiesAngels blog for updates about her latest works.
Also stay tuned for more interviews with horse artists and photographers.
Are you a horse artist or do you know an equine artist you’d like to see featured? Add your name and website in the comments below or drop me a note to get involved.
Wow! I love how the interview came out. I am so honored and over the moon to be included in your wonderful Blog. Thank You so very much for giving me this opportunity!!!! Maggie
It’s amazing to me how universal the midnight to wee-hours schedule is for artists. I keep thinking I’d be better off if I could shift it, but when I do, I get much less actual art done. ‘Would like to understand this better- maybe it’s a natural creative biorythm or something, and I should just embrace it instead of fighting it or feeling guilty for being so nocturnal?
Oh that was nice – think it’s the first time i’ve actually seen your work . Very nice style. best wishes
Beautiful work, Maggie! You have an amazing style and I LOVE the colors you use. Best Wishes, Angie
Forgot to mention it’s been good following you on twitter (-:
Love your style and the joy you share!really enjoyed seeing your work!
Your work is beautiful Maggie! I love the fact that each painting is truly unique and oh so colorful. Your love for animals really show in every one of your paintings. :o)
Maggie’s work is amazing. She has an unbelievable gift, and an obvious love and passion for what she does.
I’m familiar with Maggie’s work and I’ve always been a big fan of everything she does. That’s why I was pleasently surprised by this article. Between good questions and candid answers, I think even I have gotten new interesting insights into Maggie and her work and life. Thank you,Mary
I love Maggie’s work. Great article.
The whole Weakley family are amazing.
Great interview. Your buds, Chris and Rus.
Only a beautiful, positive “Spirit” (you) could paint such lively, expressive art. I can’t wait to work with you again!
It was my pleasure, your art is colorful and full of personality and I really enjoy it.
Keep us posted about your newest pieces.
We are thrilled to have four of our beloved
animal family captured by Maggie’s loving hand. Her art has made them immortal for us. Our family loves hers and is amazed at the creativity in the Weakley home!
Sherry and Bubba Hodge
I agree with you Tara. I think in some of us its wired into our brains to be the most creative in the weeeee hours. There is a great sense of Calm & Focus that I have late at night that I can’t get in the middle of the day. I stopped fighting it this year & I’m being much more productive. I just have to figure out how I can sleep more 😉 Good Luck, Thanks for leaving a comment.
Thanks so much John, I’m thrilled you liked my work. That means a lot. Thanks for leaving a comment
Thanks so much Angie! I appreciate you leaving a comment! I’m thrilled you love my work and love the colors. I think our Pets add so much color in our lives & I want my portraits to showcase the brightness they bring to us
Thanks John, I’m enjoying and learning so much from following you too. I wish I can be on more often, but when I am I love it and I’m happy when I get to tweet with you
Thank you so much Emily!!! I appreciate you seeing my work and leaving a comment. I love following you on Twitter I love how much you ride. I’m learning a lot from you
Thanks so much Alicia! I appreciate your words and I’m thrilled that you can see the love I have for the animals that I paint
Great interview Maggie. Congratulations and thanks for sharing the website with us. –Mary
As the successful bidder on MCA’s Horse Fever Gala’s “Horsefly”, I have always been impressed with Maggie’s creative work. The life-sized painted horse depicts the life cycle of the butterfly and now stands in front of the Hospice of Marion Co.’s Center. Butterflies are Hospice’s symbol and “Horsefly”s beauty is an inspiration to all seeking comfort and peace. We are very fortunate to have Maggie and her works in our midst,giving us beauty in both our private and public places.
Thank You so very much Marion for such wonderful and kind words. It was such an honor when you bought Horsefly and the most amazing part of that experience is that we have been blessed know you and to have you in our lives
Thanks you Sherry for such wonderful words. I had a joyous experience painting all your little Angels, but the best part was getting to know you. What a blessing you are in my life. It is an honor to have my work hanging in you gorgeous home and a bigger thrill to call you my friend
Thank You so much Mary! We miss you all
I will! As soon as I finish my new horse paintings I’ll email them to you. Thanks again!
Thanks so much Kiki! I look forward to working with you again. Congratulations on all of your successes too
Thank You so much Mary for such wonderful kind words! I appreciate all of your support
Thanks so much Carolyn!
Miss Bailey continues to be a superstar
My black dobie with the natural ears, Phillip, is featured above. I can not begin to tell you how much enjoyment I have gotten from Maggie’s beautiful portrait of him. It is truly a pleasure to work with Maggie. She has an incredible gift and ability to capture the essence of an animal.
I first encountered your work while in the emergency room at MRMC. Your painting of the happy puppy sure helped pass the time while I was confined to bed. I then had the pleasure of meeting you and seeing your incredible work this year while accompanying my friend Sylvia to your studio. Your portrait of her dog Phillip – the doberman in your article – really captures his spirit! The joy you bring to pet owners, through your work, is a blessing. Wishing you continued success and restful times.
Thank You so very much Sylvia! It was a joy to paint Phillip. I was smiling the whole time I was painting him. He is pure Sunshine! I’m so glad Paige picked him for this interview. Glad to hear from you
To begin…well done on all your work! It is very unique and full of life. I see no has replied in about 2years but PLEASE….if you or anyone can direct me as to how to het a hold of Sherry Hodges (she was my art teacher at Tabb High in Yorktown, Virginia in 1994-1998) It would mean the world if someone can make this happen! SandovalTribe@gmail.com