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West Chicago

Gallery 200 artist shares love of art through classes, exhibits

The walls in Marge Hall’s basement look like a page from Better Homes and Gardens.

Not because of extensive interior decorating, but because the walls – covered with flowers of all shapes, colors and sizes – look better suited for the Chicago Botanic Garden than a room in Hall’s Winfield home.

Although the flowers appear to almost glow with life, they are Hall’s own creations.

A painter, art teacher and member of both the DuPage Art League in Wheaton and Gallery 200 in West Chicago, Hall’s specialty is oil paintings of flowers based on photographs, many of which currently hang in her basement.

“Yes, it’s a lot of copying, but on the other hand, it’s unique in how I can enhance the petals or change the shape a little if it’s a little square and I want it rounder, so it’s not like taking the photo and putting it on the canvas,” Hall said.

Her interest in art began many years ago. Hall studied commercial art in college and then designed packaging for Eastex Packaging in Aurora.

She left that job to start a family, but when her second son turned out to be a crier, she needed to find a way to get out of the house and relax.

Stress relief came from learning at the DuPage Art League, where she now teaches three classes herself.

Hall didn’t begin focusing on flowers until after she took a workshop in the 1990s. It was led by the late artist Michael Gerry, who showed participants techniques for creating photorealistic paintings.

“That was it,” Hall said. “That was the beginning.”

Finding she had a knack for the style, Hall has since painted more than 200 floral renderings.

Although she has found her calling, she continues to try new art forms as part of her role as a teacher at the DuPage Art League.

After being a part of the League for more than 30 years, Hall joined Gallery 200 when it opened in 2005 in West Chicago.

She has participated in three one-person shows there, and her work is always on display as a gallery member.

Her paintings are currently being highlighted as part of a member show titled “Fall Into Art,” which ends later this month.

Besides providing her art to showcase, Hall also makes other contributions to the gallery.

“She’s very energetic,” said Heide Morris, volunteer administrator of Gallery 200. “When there’s special events, she’ll participate and often demonstrate her painting.”

Hall’s DuPage Art League students took part in their own show at Gallery 200 in September.

While teaching can be challenging, Hall said it keeps her fresh because she needs to know how to answer students’ questions and make sure each individual’s needs are being met.

Hall continues to take workshops to make sure she’s at the top of her game and said she loves teaching too much to retire.

“They’ll have to wheel me out,” Hall said.

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