Margaret Shelton, 1915 - 1984
Margaret Shelton was born on a farm near Bruce, a small town east of Edmonton, Alberta and grew up in Drumheller Valley. Her parents were both English and her father had relocated to Canada to practice law.
Shelton showed talent from an early age, producing a few successful drawings in grade school. She was encouraged by both her parents and teachers to pursue her artistic talent.
In 1933-34, Shelton attended Normal school (a teacher’s college in Calgary), and also took evening classes at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (PITA). Here she was fortunate enough to study drawing and painting with a dream team of teachers and mentors; A.C. Leighton, Henry Glyde and W.J. Phillips. Each of these men would shape her approach to imagery, and Phillips would introduce her to woodblock printing.
Shelton attended all of her classes at PITA on scholarship, and attended the Banff School of Arts by way of a benefactor’s gift of partial tuition. Shelton often struggled with lack of funds; taking temporary teaching jobs and living with various family members to make ends meet. Often she lived on money made from selling her work as Christmas cards.
After graduation, Shelton taught in schools on and off and also worked as a commercial artist at an advertising agency in Toronto for six months while she lived with her sister. However, she seemed dissatisfied with those careers and soon turned to full-time painting and printmaking.
Shelton was a prolific artist, creating hundreds of prints in her lifetime, although she is best known for her intricate and deeply coloured woodcut and linocut prints. She had a deep passion for nature and a talent for capturing rural beauty. Shelton’s works captured different facets of Alberta life; churches, barns, homesteads and landscapes.
Her works are found the collections at the National Gallery and the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. She exhibited with the Society of Canadian Painter-Etchers and Engravers (CPE), the Canadian Society of Graphic Art (CSGA) and the Calgary Sketch Club.
Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Edmonton, AB
Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton AB
Glenbow Museum, Calgary AB
Rutgers University, NB
The Feckless Collection, Vancouver, BC