In 2014 Peggy Woods left Missoula, Montana and moved to Anacortes.
Why? Her heart belonged to the coast.
She grew up in Monterey Bay, California, back when it was small and rural. It was country life growing up. It was safe, affordable, small and a great place to spend a childhood.
Why Anacortes? “It was just the natural place to land,” Peggy said.
Her heart missed the salt water so she visited the San Juan Islands and Gulf Islands to go sea kayaking. The surrounding area inspired her paintings.
It was a natural fit.
Anacortes was a jumping off spot for her sea kayak adventures, but after many visits she realized it was a wonderful community. Once the decision was made to leave Montana, she knew Anacortes was the place to call home.
Culturally Anacortes fit her, she feels more at home here in a maritime community.
“It feels like home.”
Peggy spent twenty-years in Montana, surrounded by the beauty of the Big Sky Country, but it didn’t really inspire her artistically. She realized only the salt water scenes captured her.
Since moving to the Skagit Valley area she joined some art groups, including Skagit Artists Together. And recently she was just accepted into a prestigious art group, Pacific Rim Marine Artist Association. It is an invitational only group and when they saw Peggy’s work at the Kirsten Gallery in Seattle as part of the Marine Art Exhibition, they invited her to join.
Peggy feels thankful and blessed in how Anacortes has welcomed her and her art. During the Skagit Artists Together Studio Tour in July 2016, a visitor told Peggy her painting brought her to tears because of how special the painting was and the memories it brought forth.
Peggy has been playing with art all her life, but in 2002 art became a main focus and more than just a hobby. When she was a small child, the family lived in the Mojave Desert, and when the sand storms came up in the afternoon she would stay inside. Instead of being bored she would draw and paint.
As a child she took art classes but never really had any painting lessons. As an artist, she tended to be a rebel and wanted to do art her way. In High School her teachers recognized her natural talent and encouraged it.
What inspires her work? It is mostly intuitive. A scene will move her and she just knows. Her art has to speak to her with light, temperatures, movement, and inspiration. Her goal is for people to feel it. When people relate to her art and says, “Oh, I’ve been there,” Peggy feels a sense of accomplishment.
“Just learning to see shapes and colors and temperatures…” was Peggy’s response when I asked how she managed to make her watercolors look so realistic, almost like a photograph. She photographs the location to help remind her and she has to paint while what she felt is still strong.
I asked Peggy what she thinks she has brought to the community of Anacortes? Her answer was delightful. “Appreciation. I’ll be a good steward. I am so grateful for our forestlands, and the general sensibilities here, a vast majority of people here really appreciates what we have.”
Peggy wants her art to remind people of the beauty surrounding us. To remember we live in a jewel of a place and shouldn’t take it for granted. The art should provide a sense of peace and serenity.
What goals does she have in regards to her art? Right now she has a small business and hopes to retire in a couple of years to pursue her art full-time. Plans are to increase her gallery partnerships; she has about seven galleries right now, which show her work.
Peggy’s art is a creation of who she is inside and who she is an as an artist.
The beauty Peggy Woods creates in her studio is meant to be shared, should inspire us, and remind us of the beauty in our world while we focus on peace.