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Inspired by God, Bonnyville resident lives an artist's dream

BONNYVILLE – Big and unexpected life changes created a new course for a Bonnyville resident, leading to a renewed passion for the art of painting. 

Back in October of 2022, Marge Wood lost her backyard greenhouse that she had transformed into a space for worship and respite due to an accidental fire. Around that time, Wood’s doctor also suggested it was time to quit working for good. 

Focused on rebuilding and restarting, Wood said that God planted an unexpected seed for painting in her heart. With a new shed in her backyard to replace the one she lost, the building she describes as a “War Room,” also became her studio. 

“I've always been an artist, but something changed, and I really believe that God planted that in me,” Wood told Lakeland This Week, during her first art show held on Nov. 18 at the Bonnyville Community Church. 

“I actually started off wanting to try those pouring paints. So, I tried one and it went to a muddled mess. When I went to wipe it off, I started to see a landscape in there.” 

The colours blended and Wood began to add trees and other elements to finish her first landscape painting that was created in her new studio. 

“I have that painting at home to keep because it's my first one. It's a reminder,” she said. 

Most of the artwork Wood creates contain landscapes with bodies of water, but now she has expanded to creating nebulas with acrylic and spray paint. 

The images she paints come from her spirit and are projected in her mind's eye, she says. 

“Every time I do a painting, it's always during my worship time. So whatever God plants, I paint,” she explained. “Sometimes I dream about them. When I do dream of them, the next day I start a new painting, sometimes I have to step back from one to put another one on the canvas.” 

In a year and a half, Wood has produced more than 40 large, medium and small paintings. With many taking her between 25 and 30 hours to complete. 

“It’s a lot a work because I put in a lot of detail – but the detail is what makes it... I go until my hands don’t move,” Wood said, referring to the arthritis in her hands. 

Despite the long hours, Wood said she has never thought of her art as work. “I've enjoyed every one of the hours I have spent on them. I lose myself in it. I just want my art to bring happiness to people.” 

And in many ways Wood’s art has been making an impact. Her paintings on old vinyl records and canvas have found its way to places as far as Germany, Arkansa, Leduc and Beaumont. 

After hosting a solo art show, several more paintings created by Wood will take up space on the walls of private residences throughout northeast Alberta. 

Stepping outside her element and presenting her work to the public came with a lot of anxiety, but the positive feedback Wood received made the experience worth it. 

Many visiting the art show were stunned, Wood said in earnest. “They didn’t know I had it in me. I didn't even know I had it in me. And I know for a fact that if I didn't have the Lord in my life, I would not have it.” 

Wood is looking forward to taking on new challenges while working with larger canvases and taking on commission pieces. She will also have her remaining piece for sale at the upcoming Festival of Trees from Dec. 2-3.  

None of Wood’s paintings are priced more than $200. “I wanted it to be reasonable so that everybody can take a piece home without breaking the bank.” 

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