An Australian currently living near Siena in Italy, Margaret has worked in the field of botanical illustration and botanical art since 1976. Her artwork is represented in private and public collections and in numerous science and art publications. Her paintings are included in the collection of Dr. Shirley Sherwood. Margaret's work has also been published in numerous books with a specific focus on botanical art.
While living in Maryland in the USA (2000-2007) teaching dominated Margaret’s activity in this field of art: establishing and directing a community adult education program; presenting workshops and masterclasses at institutions in – Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, New York, Virginia and for Orient Express Hotels in Virginia, Maryland and Australia. In 2003 the director of Brookside Gardens, Maryland USA invited her to establish a school of botanical art for which she designed a rigorous core curriculum as part of a certificate course. The school continues to offer a unique learning experience aided by clearly stated goals (originally presented in the school’s handbook) that enable students to track their progress at the culmination of each level of core instruction - Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. In addition to learning drawing or painting techniques Margaret’s holistic approach to designing the core curriculum saw her making her previous views, which sought to recognize “three mandatory criteria that define botanical art”, as integral to a well-balanced curriculum. This approach also facilitated objective evaluations and grading for class assignments submitted by students from the time of the opening of the school in 2004. (The concept of three mandatory criteria were later adopted by a number of botanical art societies for judging botanical art.) The “Brookside Gardens School of Botanical Art & Illustration” remained under Margaret’s directorship until her retirement in 2015.
ARTIST’S STATEMENT: As an artist, my eye is especially drawn to rounded form and I find great satisfaction when able to create subtle juxtapositions of contrast in line, shape and tone; to enhance clarity were desired, and achieve fluidity in line and movement. As a nature lover, the desire to seek the how & why beckons: such inquisitiveness and an itch for accuracy lead to very pleasurable periods of intense observation and drawing, often over numerous seasons. The challenge continually presenting itself is not to allow objectivity to destroy the art – nor for the art to cloud the truth revealed through astute observation and scientific inquiry. Though all plants intrigue me only certain types will inspire me sufficiently to initiate the thought processes that energize my entire creative process – recording botanical details that illustrate a plant’s characteristic structure and colour, designing a pictorial composition, applying selected art media based upon the concept of my three-color palette and to endeavor to reveal otherwise cryptic detail to a wider audience. I am particularly interested in creating artworks that heighten awareness of native flora - no matter where in the world I live.
Favoured Media: Transparent watercolor, often applied over dry-colour pencils