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.
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.