Peggy Reimel Abrams
Peggy began to sketch as a young girl and aside from the instruction of a high school art teacher, is self-taught in a variety of mediums including oil and watercolor. Her first drawings were on empty cereal boxes and old scraps of wallpaper - anything her mother could find to serve as her sketch pad. Peggy even turned the family outhouse into a work of art as a child by painting a mural on the exterior.
After high school, Peggy got a job where she met her husband Joel. During the years when she was raising their three children she'd paint from time to time - mostly gifts for friends and family. She also began to create beautiful Victorian and floral images, which she entered in art shows across the state of Michigan. When her husband had a disabling stroke in 1981, however, she put painting aside for several years to care for him.
Peggy didn't return to painting until a local resident insisted that she paint a picture of a sailboat. His persistence, along with the encouragement of her family, prompted Peggy to pick up her brushes again.
She soon found herself in demand from locals who were looking for custom art for their homes, predominately children's portraits, landscapes and florals. It was during this period that an international publishing firm discovered and signed Peggy as an exclusive artist. They were impressed not only by Peggy's enormous artistic talent, but by her ability to paint any object in any style. She was quickly creating hundreds of images each year for the company.
One of her first commercial successes was an elaborately detailed old-world Santa Claus titled "Windswept Santa." Peggy soon began to develop a series of the distinctive santas, which are in endless demand by customers world-wide. It has become her signature collection.
Peggy, modest by nature, is overwhelmed at the response she's received in recent years. "I paint what I love," she states. And the world loves what she paints so much that her images have become quite collectible. Her originals and signed images continue to rise in value each year, and are regularly purchased by collectors. Her work has created so much interest, in fact, that she's started to write a collector's book that will detail the history and motivation behind her santa paintings.
Peggy's large collection of work, which includes Victorian ladies, old-world santas, teddy bears, botanicals, angels, garden scenes and much more, is developed in her converted garage studio and licensed through a publishing firm.
Peggy has donated her time and artwork to several organizations. Two of her best-known projects are the Flint Institure of Arts and the Founders Gallery. In 2011, Peggy received the Angel Award from the Girls Town Foundation for her generosity with her time and artwork. Her designs can be found on cards for several organizations, such as the National Geographic, the National Audubon Society, the Smithsonian and the American Breast Cancer Society. In 2014, Peggy was inducted into the Genesee Regional Women's Hall of Fame.