Originally from Ferndale, Michigan, Macfarlane received BA and MSW degrees from Michigan State University with a focus on Psychiatric Social Work dealing with battered children. Post College work in Detroit and Lansing resulted in her leading legislative development in this field for the first time in the US.
Madge’s career in social work ended after she was offered the opportunity to head up similar legislation for the Federal Government in DC; concurrently, at this time, she married her Australian husband in 1966 and resulted in the decision to make their home in Melbourne and then Sydney, Australia; in the next 12 years they raised a family of four and now five grandchildren and one great granddaughter. After moving back to the US in 1978, the two lived in New York, Knoxville, Minneapolis, and Madison. Experiences traveling extensively both domestically and internationally on business and personal trips during their married life helped inspire Madge to pursue a life-long interest in watercolor painting and to create a diversity in her art style.
Her interest specifically in watercolor began after moving to New York from Australia in 1978 as she considered this discipline as the most difficult in painting – and she was always motivated by new challenges in life. As a personal challenge to reach high levels of achievement as a watercolor artist, she studied with outstanding watercolorists such as Barbara Nechis, Jean Dobie, Sue Archer, Cheng Kee Chee, John Salminen, Linda Baker, Judy Morris, as well as others who at different stages had a strong influence on Macfarlane’s work. And though her work varies widely in subject matter and colors, her own style as a watercolor artist is evident particularly as she focused and pushed herself to develop her own style of work. This evolution continued during her 20 years living in Madison, Wisconsin (2000-2020).
Madge’s Award-winning work has been included in many State, National, and International juried shows and is included in private and corporate collections in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.