Traveling to such places as Uganda and Thailand left quite the impression on an area artist that she captured the spirit of the the people she met in her artwork.
Willmar artist Eva Margaret's work, which includes paintings and clay sculptures, will be on display throughout the month at the K.K. Berge building in downtown Granite Falls and is sponsored by the Granite Area Arts Council. An artist reception will be from 7-9 p.m. Friday.
While growing up art was something she could get into, she said.
"School was never my strong point, but art class was alway something to look forward to," she said. "Since high school, I've known art was what I would pursue in life and as a career. It is in me to do; it's a pull inside that won't let go. So no matter how challenging it is to make a living as an artist, it's good for my soul and will always be a part of me."
She describes her earlier work as traditional portraiture or figurative art. During her undergraduate years, she felt she was more so, developing her skills as an artist. She received her bachelor of fine arts degree at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Okla.
"Now I feel I'm able to dive more into the psychological part of myself and feel more free, but my stuff still falls into the figurative category," she said. "As people, we are all in process and constantly developing ourselves as individuals, and that's what I'm doing as an individual and an artist." She said she hopes to inspire and encourage others with her artwork.
Her work was televised on "Postcards: Arts Along Highway 23" on PBS, and she's exhibited at Kaleidoscope Gallery in New London and Ridgewater College in Willmar.
She's always found traveling and experiencing new people and places rewarding and inspirational. She began her African series in 2004 after going to Uganda, traveled to Thailand in 2008 and to Kauai the following year.
"When I went to Uganda, it wasn't until I returned home that I wanted to do a series on my experience," she said. "After working on that series for quite some time, it expanded into multiple trips, including Thailand and Kauai."
Most of her work is not to say anything specific about any person or culture, but "more so a recording of my own experiences and people I had the privilege of meeting either for a second or spent some time with," she said.
Eva Margaret does have a trip to St. Thomas planned soon and said she may take something from that trip, and she has started a new series. The series has been funded through a Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council grant.
"It's a series based off the new experience of becoming a mother, which has changed my life in a tremendous way," she said about her new series. "I'm still working with the figure and working both mediums, oil painting and clay sculpture."