Margo Sety has always had art on the mind.
When Margo was a kid, her mother would also make sure the household was stocked with art supplies, her father always made sure there were tools around for her to use on projects. It’s no suprise the Chewelah-native was always doing one creative thing or another.
“I remember one time I frosted the edge of a table while making a cake,” Sety said. “While I was in elementary school, my teachers would give me a lot of attention with my art. I think when people give you encouragement, your desire to do art really grows.”
That encouragement from the teachers continued through middle and high school. She was also an art minor in college with a teaching endorsement from EWU.
Sety is now a third grade teacher at Gess Elementary — and a simple walk around the town of Chewelah will reveal that she’s an accomplished artist as well. Her watercolor paintings adorn several local businesses and will be on full display when the Chewelah Arts Guild host their Taste of Chewelah event.
The paintings aren’t just a testament to Sety’s artistic ability but also to her persistence. For years, watercolor paintings weren’t her cup of tea.
“I just had not been successful with them and then Gail Johannes began offering classes in them and they became really rewarding,” Sety said.
Rewarding to the tune of over 30 paintings and many of them being displayed for everyone to see. The most she’s shown is 19, and Sety admits she’s ecstatic and amazed that she’s been able to have three shows for her work.
Margo said that most of her paintings are of birds, which provide an amount of intrigue for her.
“I’ll find a cool bird and then after painting it, I’ll have to ask what it is and before long I’m doing a bunch of research on the bird,” Sety said. “It’s funny how art works like that.”
Watercolor has provided Sety with a “green medium.” Not requiring a ton of supplies, Margo can put her paints in a backpack and go into a field and paint it. Sety said she’s inspired by the local area’s landscapes.
“I want to do more local landscapes,” Sety said. “Quartzite is right there and we have our little barn and meadow scenes that are wonderful. You also have four seasons that change those scenes throughout the year.”
Sety added she’d also like to paint more of downtown. After getting comfortable with the art, it’s still not an easy thing to do as watercolor can sometimes be unforgiving.
“Other painting styles you can add white to a scene,” Sety said. “But in watercolor painting, with white you always have to think about how to save it on the painting. It’s a challenge and there are ways to undo things but it’s still tough.”
Having taught at Gess Elementary since the mid-90s, Sety has also helped out with the Chewelah Community Float, murals around town and various art projects.
She tries to get as much art as possible into her classroom while meeting state learning standards for art and addressing other learning goals. Sety, first hand, knows how art can become a child’s “thing.”
“My mind isn’t cluttered with all the stuff flying around in life when I’m doing art,” Sety said. “It’s concentrating on creating pieces and doing problem solving at once. Musicians and chefs say the same thing.”
You can see Sety’s work at the Flowery Trail Coffeehouse. The work will be part of the Taste of Chewelah on June 16 in downtown.
By Brandon Hansen/The Independent Staff