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Margaret Edwards

Originally completing a Bachelor of Economics and Politics from Monash University and initially working in University administration, I felt like the proverbial ‘square peg in a round hole’. Raising four children and being posted around Australia for my husband’s work left little time or energy for my own creative pursuits. It was some decades later that I was able to return to my original love of art which had been my favourite subject at school. Our brilliant art teacher at school, Miss D Burns had educated us in not only the practice of art but the theory and history using the sublime texts, The Story of Art by EH Gombrich and A History of Art by HW Jansen. Books I am still delighted to own today. However sadly I recently heard an interview with Katy Hessel, author of The Story of Art Without Men, that Gombrich’s book does not contain one female artist. A situation that Katy Hessel has well rectified with her book, published by Hutchinson Heinemann in 2022.


Iceberg Tasiilaq, Greenland, 2020, 46cm x 61cm, Watercolour


Retracting Glacier, Skjoldungen Fjord in South East Greenland, 2021, 58cm x 76cm, Watercolour

I have loved returning to painting after such a long hiatus and being intrigued by the complexity of watercolour which I had never fully understood, I attended the informative and educational weekly watercolour classes of Julian Bruere at the Victorian Artists Society for over a decade. These classes quickly became a highlight of my week with Julian’s positive and encouraging teaching sessions in what is often referred to as the most difficult of all mediums; watercolour is renowned for having a ‘mind of it’s own’. The warm friendships I created over that period still exist today despite finishing watercolour classes prior to the COVID pandemic and the subsequent long lockdowns in Victoria. I have since competed classes in oil painting technique with Swathi Madike at the Victorian Artists Society. I have also been fortunate to attend watercolour workshops with Ev Hales, President of the Watercolour Society of Victoria, Tony Smibert AM, David Taylor, John Orlando Birt and Jill Rietmeyer. I very much enjoy the continuous stimulation provided by being a member of both the Victorian Artists Society and the Watercolour Society of Victoria.


Melting Ice Sheet, North Skjoldungen Channel in Greenland, 2020, 61cm x 46cm, Watercolour


Angmagssalik Museum (the old church) in Tasiilaq, Greenland, 2022, 46cm x 61cm, Watercolour

In 2019 I was fortunate to travel by small ship to the difficult to access region of South East Greenland, renowned for its spectacularly beautiful fjords. I was unaware of the profound impact of the journey that awaited me. Overwhelmed by the restless beauty of this majestic, vertiginous, and mystical little-known country and accessible only by ship, helicopter or dog sled, I was similarly confronted by the visible impacts of climate change.


Zodiacs getting ready for action near Thrym Glacier, Greenland, 2022, 58cm x 76cm, Watercolour

Perturbed by what I had witnessed in Greenland and encouraged by my youngest daughter (originally educated in Aerospace Engineering and very environmentally aware), I embarked on a series of watercolour paintings of south east Greenland. This was quite a radical concept for me as previously I had focused on zooming in on botanical subjects and portraiture and had never been interested in landscape painting.

I paint watercolours traditionally reserving the white of the paper for whites but I am non-traditional in the time it takes me to do a painting. In my series on Greenland I have aimed for topographical accuracy over ‘looseness’, an approach that emphasises spontaneity. I wanted to paint topographically to capture ‘disappearing landscapes’, which as David Hockney says are unfortunately rarely painted today. I know many other watercolourists aim to complete a painting within a two-hour frame but time does not bother me. Many of these works took months to complete and this series of paintings has taken me several years to complete. 

Using my painting sketch book, my own photographs for research and artistic license to heighten the colours at times, I started small in scale, but the paintings immediately escalated as I sought to capture the grandeur of the scenery of this magnificent country. As time passed, I became increasingly interested in learning about the Arctic and climate change. I have written in my Catalogue about the journey to Greenland and the influences upon me of other environmentally aware artists and scientists. 

Painting has been my private passion and I have never sought to sell my art. However, I am now delighted to exhibit at the beautiful and historically significant Victorian Artists Society and my hope is that this exhibition of my paintings of Greenland will contribute in some small way to a greater awareness of this unique and environmentally important part of our beautiful planet.


Parting of the Ways: Two Glaciers say Farewell Skjoldungen Fjord in Greenland, 2022, 75cm x 106cm, Watercolour

Exhibitions & Events by Margaret Edwards

​​Iceberg departing Tasiilaq with visible roads 2021 46 x 61cm Watercolour
Margaret Edwards—Disappearing Landscapes
6 Jun 2024 – 17 Jun 2024

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Acknowledgment of traditional owners.

We would like to pay our respects to the traditional owners of the land on which our building stands, their leaders, past, present and emerging.