Johnson City resident Meg Davis might not be the accomplished artist she is today if it hadn’t been for an irresponsible art teacher. “She was never there, so the class had to decide what we wanted to work on independently.” Davis recalls. “ I just started painting what came naturally and I eventually developed my on style. I really was self taught.”
This unique, colorful style has captured the attention of art lovers throughout Texas and in Mexico since 1988. She lived in San Miguel de Allende, GTO Mexico, for eleven years and returned to Texas to begin a series of paintings on the hill country.
“The traveling I do is really inspirational,” she says. “It helps me change my perspective. Now that I am settled in the Hill Country, my passion is to teach painting on the scene and to connect with like minded-fellows, through artwork.”
Davis first discovered the charm of Mexican small towns when she was strongly encouraged by her Texas State University professors to spend more time there in order to better learn the Spanish language. She realized that the haciendas and vistas of the Mexican countryside were extremely stunning, and that she would one day have to return in order to capture the beauty on canvas.
After finding she had a love for the pueblos and a firm grasp on the language, Davis returned to complete her Fine Arts degree at Texas State University.
From there, she moved to the mountains of Cripple Creek, Colorado, where she found inspiration in the solitude and surrounding beauty. However, it wasn’t long before she found herself being drawn back to the Texas Hill Country and the love of small-town Mexico.
Davis’ first major exhibit was at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts First Choice Show in November 1989. Afterward, she made the trip she had been anticipating for so long, and an entire year was devoted to painting in San Miguel de Allende.
She was so intrigued by the town that she decided to make it her part-time home. By 1990, she had a studio set up in a typical 400 year old Mexican house and was drawing inspirations from her new surroundings.
She ventured out of her home base in San Miguel to paint on the scene all over the country of Mexico. “People always get really excited when they see me painting on the scene,” she says. “There are usually 20 children surrounding me, watching me work. Sometimes I think I can paint better when there are people around because an appreciative audience can be really positive. By the time I am finished, its like a banquet of flavors has been created in honor of the people and places I have spent precious time with.”
In addition to the canvas work she does, Davis also enjoys painting a variety of household items, from lamps, to furniture, to ceramic plates. She finds that the most common objects can always use a splash of color.
Positivity is one of the main themes in Davis’ work. She always strives to accentuate the things around her that put her in a good mood. Be it a table laden with flowers, champagne, and chocolate cake or an open window leading to lush gardens and landscapes, Davis makes a point of bringing out the positive.
“There are no negative thoughts allowed in my paintings,” she says. “Its amazing how you can create such a wonderful image if you believe in yourself.”
The images she produces tend to flow from within, she says, rather than by predetermined plan.
Although she may begin with an idea for a subject, the remainder of the canvas is usually filled with spontaneity.
Davis says the two themes in her work, be it on ceramic plates or canvases, are realism and whimsicalism. She says she makes a point of making her fun work real, and her real work fun.
“I’m always having a good time, no matter what I am working on,” she says. “Some of my artist friends have a more calculated approach to their work, but I find more enjoyment in free form nature.”
Art lovers, too, appear to enjoy the fruits of her labor. She exhibits her work at The Rather Sweet Bakery, in Fredericksburg and sells a lot of paintings on her website at www.artbymeg.com.
In addition to being a painter, she is also an art teacher at the Blanco Elementary after school programs, and on the weekends teaches adult painting on the scene classes. Her painting classes are more like exciting painting events. Her students meet with her to paint in places like Luckenbach, Texas, Enchanted Rock, Padre Island, the McNay Museum Gardens in San Antonio, Texas, and many other places. “I’m incredibly lucky,” Davis says. “My students come with enthusiasm and leave our paining excursions with fun, growing experiences. I feel so very happy to know that others enjoy the same kinds of challenges, I appreciate.”
To find out more about Meg Davis’ artwork or painting classes, please visit the Blanco Library. On October 18th, there will be a Tejas Art Club gathering, and Meg Davis will be giving a demonstration from 6:00 to 7:00 on how she paints on canvas. For more information, please visit www.artbymeg.com.