Peggy Watkins is a professional sporting and wildlife artist residing on she and her husband’s farm just outside of Beaufort, SC in the great ACE Basin. Her elegant representational oil paintings of animals and habitat can be found in collections across the country and in numerous periodicals, including the cover of Gray’s Sporting Journal. Her work is inspired by spending a great deal of time in the outdoors in and around the low country as well as extensive travel across the US and abroad to the world’s greatest wing shooting paradises as well as wild places such as Yellowstone, Alaska, Scotland and Africa. She and her husband, Todd, live on their farm which is surrounded by old rice fields that are managed for ducks and other wetland wildlife. They enjoy hunting and riding their two Marsh Tacky horses.
Sporting art is frequently featured in Peggy’s work. The interest began in 2003 when she was invited to a plantation in south Georgia to observe the finer points of quail hunting. Amazed at the intelligence and intensity of the bird dogs in action she decided that was something she wanted to capture. Since that first visit, she has spent a great deal of time following dogs in the US and Scotland. Holland & Holland, maker of fine sporting guns, has selected Peggy’s sporting and wildlife work to include in their Dallas and London gunrooms.
Peggy has a signature style which she describes as impressionistic realism. She strives to capture the expression and essence of her subject while using bold color and strong brushwork to create a lasting impact on the imagination. “I want the viewer to lose themselves in the scene and never tire of viewing it.” She also loves to capture motion when possible. “Everything always has a ‘hum’ going on even if standing perfectly still”.
Born in Washington State into a Navy family, Peggy began drawing animals at a very young age. Numerous moves across the US as well as Asia allowed her to live in many different environments. She originally pursued a career in business all the while keeping her drawing skills sharp after work. Peggy is self-taught in the mediums of graphite and colored pencil and ultimately attended the Atlanta College of Art to study oil painting which she now uses exclusively. Her main artistic influences are not necessarily animal or strict landscape painters but great masters such as John Singer Sargent and Joaquin Sorolla. She began exhibiting and selling her work in 2003 and was chosen to be the featured artist at the 2008 Southeastern Wildlife Exposition. The relationships she and her husband developed with SEWE and their ongoing support of the show was a major contributor to their decision to move to Charleston in 2013. “We never looked back and our lives have been enhanced by the beauty of the area, great friends, and wonderful artistic opportunity.”
In 2017 Peggy with the help of the Kiawah Sporting Club gave rise to the Charleston Annie Oakley Shooters. An informal group of women that get together to shoot sporting clays on the second Tuesday of each month for the purpose of fellowship and enhancement of women’s knowledge and skill of the shooting arts.
In 2020 she was selected to be a judge for the 2020-2021 Federal Duck Contest. “It was a true honor to serve as a judge amongst noted artists and scientists supporting a fundraising effort for our important wetlands.”