Janet Dawson

Janet Dawson (b.1935) was born in Sydney on Gadigal Country, spending her early childhood on Wiradjuri Country in Forbes, New South Wales before moving to Wurundjeri Country in Naarm (Melbourne) in 1941. Dawson is wellknown as a finely trained tonal realist and a pioneer of abstract painting in Australia.

She found inspiration in her surrounding landscape and its changing seasons after her move to Binalong on Ngunnawal Country in rural New South Wales in 1974. Dawson is an avid cloud-watcher known for her soft palette, and works often depicting shifting skyscapes1. She currently lives with her family in Wallington on Wathaurong Country, where she continues to draw and paint.

Dawson’s Morning Star presents a view from above, a picturesque cloudscape of soft purple and blue tones that holds within it the morning star shining bright. Dawson’s astute tonal observations of the changing conditions of light through the clouds manifests their ephemeral nature
– continually moving, shifting, and adapting in response to the sky’s circulating air flows. Her soft and subtle gradations of pastel colour conjure the elemental forces that are in perpetual fluctuation with the earth below. Dawson instils within her work the sense of wonder and imagination that
cloud-watching inspires, while presenting a non-linear impression of Country that is in constant motion.

  1. Nancy Sever Gallery, “Janet Dawson: Clouds All The Way,” accessed December 20, 2020, http://www.nancysevergallery.com.au/janet-dawson.