The full range and quality of Margaret Shelton's work came to light in the course of original research for a major exhibition and book about block prints in the early 1980s by Glenbow curator Patricia Ainslie. This larger enterprise was followed by an exhibition and catalogue devoted to Shelton in 1985.
In watercolour and in block prints in both black and white and in colour, Shelton expressed the diversity and the beauty of Alberta's land and cities. Although directness, simplicity, and clarity are characteristic features of her style, her expression reveals her passion for the region. In addition to wilderness scenes, Shelton explored the rural landscape inhabited by people. She worked with the major artists of her day in Alberta: H.G. Glyde, A.C. Leighton and, most importantly, W.J. Phillips who introduced her to the Japanese colour block print. Most of Glenbow's extensive collection of close to 400 works by Shelton was donated to the museum by her daughter, Mrs. Pat Marcellus, between 1984 and 2000.