Chickasaw Culture Keepers

For Margaret Dillard, the act of painting can transport her so that she forgets to eat and loses all sense of time. Her passion for creation developed during childhood, when she pursued all the arts and crafts available to her. Her grandmother always expressed pride in her Chickasaw heritage, but she had been sent to one of the boarding schools that prevented young Native Americans from learning their language or culture. Dillard has had to work to reconnect with her Chickasaw roots, and she says that the culture has gradually developed a greater influence on her work. She describes her artistic process of drawing and then underpainting her subject before she begins applying the final palette of colors. Dillard likes to work with complementary color schemes, using them like the Impressionist painters to add harmony and vibrancy. After completing a painting, she prefers to hang it on the wall and walk by it, sometimes leaving it for months before deciding to make an adjustment. Dillard wants to pass on her knowledge of painting to Chickasaw children as a way of giving back to the Nation that has done so much for her.