Margaret Slape-Phillips

Margaret Slape-Phillips

My art is a lifetime vocation and journey from early childhood where my passion began by  illustrating my own stories and books.     There is no finality when it comes to creativity and perfecting skills and techniques.  I believe it to be  a quiet, joyful and often deeply personal path of  discovery requiring much patience, commitment and dedication.  No time is ever too much attempting to “make something right”.      I am also prepared to move on if I know I have done the best I can do.  I enjoy going back and seeing my own progression over the years.  I do not think “creativity and improving skills” can be forced  … it will happen at its own pace but I still enjoy challenging myself none-the-less.     I am a professional exhibiting artist and art tutor since 1981.   My preferred medium is oil paint…. I love its richness and vibrancy.  I have painted in a realistic /traditional style for 50 years.  I enjoy “detail” and my painting follows a sound and proven traditional technique…. working first from a charcoal detailed sketch through many layers –  ensuring permanence.  I adore “ oil paints” and confess to owning 13 different brands of professional  oil paints.    “Colour” has often been toted as my area of expertise.    I also have a strong background in acrylics, pastels and drawing.

My motivation to be an artist stems from a desire to express my ideas in colour.   I am inspired every day by my surroundings …. be it my “feline family” –  glorious colourful still life objects holding their own secrets and history … or beautiful landscapes which are significant to me.  I enjoy teaching at Gallery One and sharing more than  half a century of knowledge with anyone desiring  to pick up a paint brush for the first time as well as more experienced students.  The excitement and satisfaction from “beginners” when they complete their first painting is still very rewarding as a tutor.

Also, define your styles/genres and versatility in approach.

My art includes feline paintings, landscape, still life and portraiture.  I am trained in traditional and realistic methods  but sometimes include elements of fantasy and decorative borders and nuances.  I usually prefer to work in a detailed style but am flexible and willing to create or invent as the painting “talks” or guides me through.  Paintings often have a life of their own and one thing leads to another.  Ideas can evolve without planning… but I can also be “super planned” and literal.  I often see pictures in my mind….. but I am also an avid photographer and make use of my own vast personal library of photos for inspiration.  As someone famous said….. “you can’t have inspiration without information”!!!   I like to be well armed and well informed when I paint anything at all…. I need to know my subject thoroughly.  I always do my research before approaching any subject.  I never go into a painting – not understanding or half-hearted.

I would like to inspire Artists and students to be true to themselves and paint what is familiar and important to them.  I believe  genuine art is art reflecting our own lives, experiences, interests or dreams.  It makes art unique and personal.    Also I would like Artists and students to be knowledgeable and interested to learn about their painting materials.  I would like to see them “care” about their equipment which will be their new “best friend”.  Only their paints and brushes can help them attain their goal of achieving beautiful paintings.    The art world has so much on offer these days (without necessarily spending a fortune)  re art materials as compared to when I started out…. It is hard not to get excited about “paints” and “brushes”.  Really bad art materials can really hold a student back…. especially “bad brushes and canvases ”!!!

How do you believe/think your art has been a cultural contribution to enrich the Mitcham community?

I have been teaching oils and acrylics classes for over a decade at Mitcham Gallery One.  I am well versed and flexible in teaching a wide range of subject matter and encourage students to be true to themselves by encouraging their own style.  As well as teaching my own preferred painting style –  I assist students  to follow a path which may not necessarily be how I paint myself…… I enjoy encouraging originality as well as teaching fundamental and advanced techniques.  .    Over the years the classes have brought enjoyment and growth   to a large number of students mainly on Monday evenings and more recently Friday mornings..  The classes attract students with very busy lives and often  full time jobs.  The classes provide a quiet peaceful atmosphere for students to relax and focus  for a few hours –  In the meantime gaining  personal satisfaction from  learning a new skill or improving on previous skills.  The friendships forged are also an important aspect of the classes fostering the community spirit.  The students themselves support each other in a very positive and caring way.   I also acknowledge and am appreciative of the great support shown to all the tutors by Gallery One.  In 2018 I was invited to teach a specialised and very successful “Moggies and Mongrels”  painting workshop at Gallery One.  This was  enjoyed by  ten participants who painted their own beloved pets.  The workshop was  funded by the City of Mitcham and Gallery One.

A summary on your experience, training and greatest achievements in Art.

10 years evening classes/weekend workshops/field trips/correspondence courses (portraiture/landscape/still life in oils, acrylics and pastels)  with several leading  professional Adelaide artists whilst working full-time.  My art teachers (Peter Findlay, Ingrid Erns, Arthur Phillips and Keith Palmer)  were an inspiration and instrumental in encouraging me to continue in pursuing my goals.


  • 1981 – First year as a full time professional artist winning two major art awards – City of Elizabeth ( 1st Prize – Acquisitive) and Kernewek Lowender (1st Prize – Acquisitive).
  •                 1983  – Invited to exhibit at the Barry Newton Gallery – first solo exhibition.
  • Landscape Prize – Kernewek Lowender.
  • Ongoing mixed exhibitions in many leading Adelaide art galleries including Kingston House,  Newton Gallery, Reade Art, Gallery Z, Kensington Gallery, Festival Theatre, Elder Fine Art – also  Scotch College, Loreto College,  Westminster College, Prince Alfred College, Immanuel College, ,   Ignatius (finalist), Solar Art Prize (finalist),  Rotary shows, etc.
  • Various merit awards at Rotary Shows.
  • Duo exhibitions at Malaleuca Craft Meningie, Hughes Gallery (2).
  • Corporate collections, Commonwealth Centre, CPS Credit Union and private collections.
  • 1987 – Nominated and awarded a Fellowship of the Royal S.A. Society of Arts.
  • 1987 – Portrait Prize (1st) – City of Elizabeth.
  • 2000 – Lombard Gallery – Solo exhibition “Aristocats and Mogs”.
  • Gallery M, Cultural Centre – duo exhibition “A Time for Paws”.
  • Ongoing mixed exhibitions in various community galleries.
  • 2017 – Invited to exhibit in inaugural on-line exhibition Society of Feline Artists (London).
  • 2017 – Invited to submit and awarded by fellow artists –  Full Membership with Society of Feline Artists (London).
  • 2019 – Invited to exhibit in 2nd on-line exhibition for S.O.F.A. (London).
  • 2019 – Sold 5 paintings to the U.S.A.
  • Co-judged various exhibitions including Port Adelaide Rotary (2), Brighton Rotary and Gallery One.


ARTHUR PHILLIPS – detail – Oil on canvas – 40 cm x 50 cm

Coorong – 42 mile crossing – 1.1m x 60cm – Oil on Linen

STILL LIFE WITH GREEN BOTTLE AND LEMONS (detail) 45cm x 45 cm Oil on Canvas – SOLD

BORIS REFLECTIONS – Margaret Slape-Phillips©

THUMPER – COMMISSION – Oil on canvas – 30 cm x 30 cm

ORCHIDS WITH PERFUME BOTTLE – Oil on wooden panel with imitation gold leaf – 25 cm x 20 cm

Siamese Dreams – 71cm x 51cm – Oil on Belgian Linen