The Process of the Painter – Margaret Gerding Shares

“The more I paint, the more knowledge is etched into my movements. Every painting is a stepping stone to the next work. Every mistake teaches.” ~ Margaret Gerding

Gerding_Island Road

Margaret Gerding may be new to Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, but she has been painting for thirty-two years. It is in her blood. Even after graduating from UMass, Dartmouth with a printmaking degree, she still found her passion in paint. Most of her work is oil and canvas, but there are a variety of ways Margaret keeps her artistic juices flowing.

“I experiment to keep fresh. I have worked in encaustic and pastels in order to give myself a change. I even quilt,” says Gerding. “Yet, when all is said and done, and it comes to being inspired, I could not be the painter I am without painting directly outdoors.”

Whether she is out on the Bridle Path in Kennebunk with students or pulled over on the side of the road, Margaret is sketching. “It’s a quick way to capture the moment instead of bringing out the whole canvas,” she says. “I still bring out canvases sometimes, but I always have a sketch pad with me.”

These sketches become her inspiration for studio works. Once a painting begins, the pencils get tucked away. Gerding is a firm believer in not sketching directly on her canvases.  She will use anything to make a mark with paint though. With rags and pallet knives, and even her hands which are usually covered in color, the outline for each piece is laid out.


“My finished work is very smooth, but it certainly is not in the beginning of my process. I often start with a big house brush to block out my ideas. Large strokes mark up a painting in its early stages,” says Gerding. “The work has a very abstract look. For me, it needs to work in its simplest form. If I can’t get the composition and color and tone to work in three elements, I begin again.”

Margaret has taken some artistic license as she explores southern Maine through her work. Yet there is no doubt that she has captured the beauty of this area. Please come and see for yourself.

Margaret Gerding’s show is at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk until September 22. Her new work fills the first floor of the gallery. We are open every day from 10am – 6pm, and Friday and Saturday until 7pm.

Stop in for a visit or view the show online at

You can also read more about Gerding and her work on our blog at A Look Inside Margaret Gerding and Maine Art.

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