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Art People: Margaret Lloyd | poet, painter

  • Margaret Lloyd talks about her watercolors and poetry Friday, June 7, at the Hosmer Gallery in Forbes Library.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • "Transfiguration" by Margaret Lloyd<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • "On the Threshold" by Margaret Lloyd<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • "This Eternal Wind That Blows" by Margaret Lloyd<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

Florence artist Margaret Lloyd lived for only two years in her native country of Wales, before moving as a toddler with her family to central New York state. Even so, she says, she left a bit of her heart in her homeland.

“Welsh is my first language; I’m an immigrant,” Lloyd said in an interview last week as she meandered with a guest through an exhibit of paintings and poetry at the Hosmer Gallery in Northampton. The show features 27 watercolors by Lloyd, five of which are coupled with her poems. Many of those works, she says, are inspired by Wales, to which she has returned frequently since childhood.

“A lot of these landscapes have to do with my yearning for Wales — longing for the countryside, the mountains, the sea, the sky, the castles,” she said.

Lloyd, who is an English professor and the chairwoman of the humanities department at Springfield College, has always written poetry, she says, but painting is a relatively new passion; she discovered her talent six years ago when, on a trip to Colorado, artist friends invited her to paint with them. At first, she resisted.

“I said, ‘No, no way. I’m not doing this.’ One of them sort of forced me to. Then I looked at this mountain I was painting and I couldn’t stop after that. It’s been an astonishing thing. I’ve always loved art ... but I never thought I could do it.”

Now that she knows she can, she says, it seems natural to sometimes pair her poetry and her paintings, as she has done in her current exhibit. That combining of the two forms introduces a reverberation that can enhance the emotional impact of the individual works for her viewers.

“Some people respond more to words than they do to the art. A lot more people, I think, respond to art because we’re all used to looking at things,” she said.

Whether through her painting or her writing, Lloyd says her goal, always, is to say something that she can’t express in any other way but through the art.

“I am always striving for energy in the art, a quickening, some feeling of life itself, some evoking of passion,” she said. “I don’t want to write a poem that says something that I already know. I want to write a poem in which I discover something as I go along, to create something new that doesn’t exist in the world. ... Art does that, at it’s very best — it makes something happen.”

— Kathleen Mellen

An exhibit of landscape paintings by Margaret Lloyd, ceramic book sculptures by Michelle Cotugno and handmade books by Jan Ruby will be on view through June 29 at the Hosmer Gallery, Forbes Library, 20 West St., Northampton. For information, call 587-1013.

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