Margaret Dawson is a renowned artist, born in 1945 in Melbourne, Australia.
When Margaret was one year old, the family arrived in Kure, Nigimura, Hiroshima, in 1946 as part of an Australian Government Occupation Force to help rebuild relations with Japan.
There, in the day care of two Japanese nannies, Josi san and Musi san, Margaret recollects that these two women were most prominent in her life as a child in Japan, where Margaret experienced her first taste of drawing and learning Japanese calligraphy.
In 1950 Margaret started primary school education in Japan, returning to Australia to continue primary and secondary education at MLC.
Margaret landed her first secretarial job in 1961 with the Atlantic Union Oil Co., later renamed Esso, even though she couldn’t use a Selectric typewriter; the company boss was so impressed by her forthright demeanour and presence, that he offered to send her to typing school.
At Esso, Margaret met her first boyfriend, Keith Kelly, only for her domineering mother to end their relationship by her constant demeaning harassment of Keith. All the while, Margaret showed exceptional talent in her drawing and painting and developed her skills to the point where people wanted to own her art.
Her secretarial work was a great learning experience and in 1964 Margaret moved on to become a nursing aid in the “Dame Mary Herring” hospital for Spastic Children, continuing to develop her artistic skills in her own time; her art works blossomed, being in demand wherever she went. Her drawings and painting were freely given away, whilst larger works earned some well-deserved income.
In 1967 Margaret married Ron Dawson and started teaching art, giving lessons from the art studio they had set up at home in Chirnside Park, Victoria.
The “Art Bank”, on the Upper Esplanade in St. Kilda on Sunday mornings, provided an open air arts and crafts stalls where Margaret sold her art. It was also a source of pocket money to supplement the income of a then young married couple.
Two years later Lana, their first daughter was born, with Celeste, the second daughter arriving three years later.
During these times, Margaret was commissioned to paint and create art works, specifically painted for the Australian government in Canberra and she entered art competitions, creating more success in winning and enhancing her reputation.
Margaret was doing well and in 1979 she bought her first art studio in East Ringwood.
Soon Margaret entered into business, as she had proved her worth as a commercial creative artist and designer. Dealing with Myer Melbourne led to Margaret receiving a major contract to design and manufacture the animated icons displayed in the Myer Christmas windows. This contract was to continue for 12 years. Other large contracts followed from other shopping centres nationally for a 17 year period, from 1986 to 2003.
A divorce from Ron Dawson ensued. Art lessons at the East Ringwood studio ended, but were replaced by business premises for a new company called “Animation and Display”. Registration of Animation and Display Pty Ltd replaced the Margaret Dawson Studio in 1987 and five years later, Margaret was in a position to purchase her home in Blackburn that also served as her new studio. The old Commonwealth bank building at 743 Mountain Highway, in Bayswater was purchased in 1996 and became the home for a brand new Christmas shop concept called “Santa’s Fun Factory”, which successfully operated for 11 years and demonstrated Margaret’s entrepreneurial business skills.
Four years later, Margaret’s mother died. Thereafter, Margaret decided to finish her University degree.
Having already achieved a diploma major in sculpture, Margaret continued her study, majoring in fine art at Monash University, with the second year at Monash being spent enjoying a valuable study period in Prato, Italy.
In 2001 Margaret began visits to Nepal, trekking high up into the Himalayan mountains where drawing and sketching added to her Art Diaries as the basis for further creative works of art back home. Three years later Margaret was awarded the “Knox Business Award” for her “Santa’s Fun Factory” concept and business acumen.
Four years later, Margaret was invited to attend a painting exhibition in China, known for its Lingnan painting, often done on rice paper. A principal Chinese exponent of Lingnan painting in China, seeing Margaret’s work in this coveted art form, commented and wrote in Chinese calligraphy that her work put his to shame.
During these times of business expansion and overseas travel, Margaret’s success seriously grated on her partner’s plans to wrest control of the company, to the point that he confiscated her paints, brushes, easels and all the tools Margaret needed to do her creative art and design work.
For a time, Margaret’s only creative tool was a scissors to cut up bits of coloured paper for collage artworks that are quite beautiful and unique in her art collection.
Margaret removed herself from this damaging personal relationship only to endure a series of court actions to divide the company. Looking on the bright side from such a devastating loss of business, Margaret resumed teaching art. More good news followed, when after 50 years since Keith and Margaret last saw each other, Keith finally tracked down Margaret again; after a phone call to Margaret from Adelaide, where Keith was living, he attended Margaret’s 70th birthday celebrations and they married in the registrar’s office in Melbourne on the 19th May 2018.
Keith and Margaret have enjoyed their resumed life together, travelling to Malta, Italy, St. Petersburg, Paris, Scotland and Ireland. Margaret has created numerous Artist Diaries from some of the places she has visited.
This year, 2022, Margaret will enter the prestigious and controversial Archibald Art Exhibition, Australia's foremost portraiture prize, an open competition judged by the trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
There is no doubt that Margaret has found herself in an artistic lifetime of free expression, painting in oils, watercolours and acrylics, engaging in China painting, ceramics, clay, sandstone and styrene sculpture.
Needless to say, painting, production of art, design, print making and sculpture have never diminished since Margaret first picked up a brush, did a conceptual sketch or slapped down a pug of clay.
The images below show Margaret in "doll creation mode", her degree in fine Arts from Monash University, a Xmas scene Margaret created in a large shopping town centre and in the studio painting a water colour scene.
Note that Margaret has a winter Art Sale on right now, so Make An Offer Today and be rewarded.