Margot Keil

“I feel a lot of romanticism toward the land,” says painter Margot Keil, “and that comes in many different factions—I feel sorrow but also comfort. It’s like poetry. It’s profound and instinctual and contemplative, and painting is a way of synthesizing all of it.”

A Sandwich native, Keil honed her skills amongst the marshes, dunes and shorelines of the Cape. “Painting land while I’m in the city is like escapism for me,” says Keil, who now lives in Boston. “It’s nice to retreat to my studio and focus on those things that fuel me.”

Keil finds herself drawn to the connection between her work and the worlds of environmentalism and politics—something that comes across in her bold brushstrokes and somber color palette. “It’s all connected,” she explains. “Art can exist just to be beautiful, but I think that it can also serve a larger purpose.” 

“corroded earth” • 9” x 12” • oil on panel

“I’ve always been attracted to marshlands and wetlands—the lines between where land and sea are. I’m really interested in that visual exchange as well as the erosion that happens on those border areas,” says Keil. “I think a lot about climate change, and my work is tangentially related to the ways in which natural processes are expedited by man.”


When she’s not in her sunroom turned paint studio, Keil enjoys visiting the Cape. “I especially love the off-season—the stillness and brittleness of Cape Cod,” she says. “The lushness of the land becomes barren and harsh, the branches all exposed and crackling in the wind.” Keil’s paintings, done on wood panels, show a different side of the beauty that Cape Cod is known for—the mix of resiliency and fragility that comes out after the last of the snowbirds have crossed the bridge.

Keil’s work intersects the rawest of human emotions—comfort; frustration; reverence; disregard; love; ignorance—and does so in a way that is unquestionably beautiful and wholly intriguing. Her favorite part of the process? Those simple moments before she puts paint to panel, when she’s mixing the perfect colors. Her recent love of the Venetian Red pigment is sure to yield more brilliant paintings.

“marginal” • 9” x 12” • oil on panel

See more of Keil’s work by visiting margotjeankeil.com.

Check out these other Emerging Artists:

Daniel Michael Dobbins

Nick Heaney

Ted Skirvan