Peggy and her Bud in studioPeggy Tozier Graf Riley,

A Maine native, Peggy began her career in art with pencil drawings at the age of five. Not one to necessarily color inside the lines, Peggy enjoyed being creative and letting the pencil lead the way. As a teen, Peggy took an interest in oil painting, so she took a series of lessons from local artists. As a young adult, she took additional oil painting classes at Skowhegan Area High School (SAHS). She developed a real talent in oils, and she has been teaching classes at SAHS for the past twenty years. Peggy loves to help others develop their artistic talents, and she even offers lessons in her home.

Peggy has never been shy of an artistic challenge, and she particularly loves to paint reflections, something that not many artists even attempt. She marvels at the way reflections can be seen in puddles of water or in glass. Her favorite works are typically the ones that required the most work and struggle to complete. The Antique Onion Lamp and the Portland Headlight reflection are two she found the most challenging and that are favorites in her collection. She recently completed a steam engine train to give to her son, a work of heart indeed. Peggy uses the example of struggling to complete a work to encourage her students to embrace struggles and challenges in life, for in the end, one has a masterpiece. Her best advice when one is facing an obstacle—in art and in life—is to step back from your work every now and then for viewing too closely may skew your perspective. Ultimately, never give up.

Peggy has done commissioned pieces and has shown her work in many cities and towns throughout the state of Maine. Her work has extended to other states and even in England where one of her paintings were sent.

Peggy is very devoted to developing artistic talent, and she knows and shares the therapeutic value that comes from expressing oneself in art. She voluntarily works with inmates at Somerset County Corrections to help them discover healing and reflection through art. A recent project included the completion of eight murals on the walls of the chapel and booking room hallway at the facility. One of the inmates drew the pictures, and Peggy helped several inmates work to mix colors and paint the pictures as large murals resembling stained glass. Peggy provided some of the strokes, but most of the work was done by the inmates under her instructions. It is projects like these that adds sparkle to Peggy’s eye—she loves to see a masterpiece come to life while enhancing life.

Peggy is a lifelong resident of Maine, and she loves to reflect the beauty that surrounds her in the art she creates. She and her husband reside in Canaan, Maine. She has three wonderful children, Daniel Graf who owns and operates Dan Graf Plumbing and Heating in Madison and Skowhegan area; Gretchen Cleland, of Naples, Florida, and Jessica Daggett of Cushing, Maine and several grandchildren and one great-granddaughter and a host of friends she spends time with—they all inspire her.