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Phew…what a woman…energetic, smart as paint, extremely personable and an artist too. Five minutes with Margaret Summerton and I understood why she is the very successful coordinator of the Nillumbik Artists Open Studios.  As well as her considerable personal qualities, she brings well honed professional skills in marketing and management to the role.  She has made sure that the Artists Open Studio’s booklet is available all over the region. You’d have to be a hermit not to know that it’s coming up.  People talk about it all over Nillumbik and beyond. Someone like me, has all the information I need to make contact and get involved. No mean feat on a limited budget. She understands the importance of sponsorship and has gathered and maintained 30 sponsors for the program. She’s passionate about it. She’s a passionate kinda gal.

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Margaret is American by birth. She married an Aussie and moved out to Australia around eight years ago. She thoroughly loves her new home.  Don’t you just love it when new arrivals have a love affair with our beautiful country.  This move facilitated opportunities to pursue her long held love of art.  A successful local artist Drew Gregory, took her under his wing and taught her the gentle art of oil painting.  He asked nothing in return, except that she bring lunch to share with him.  At the end of a year, she had her first solo exhibition.  Her teacher proudly attended and she hasn’t seen him since.  He had achieved his goal, which was to launch her into the world as a painter. She thinks and dreams about her painting all of the time.  She has a lovely north facing, roomy studio where she surrounds herself with paint, brushes, canvases. colour and beauty. She incorporates collage and stitching into her work. Before taking up painting she was a devoted quilter. Painting has taken over to such an extent that she hasn’t dusted off her sewing machine since she took up her paint brushes.

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Since first coming to the region, Margaret attended the Open Studio’s. The program has been in place for over twenty years.  It satisfied her innate curiosity in art and artists bigtime.  Once she had her studio set up and her own painting on it’s way, she invited the Artists Open Studio selection committee over for an assessment.   They held their cards so close to their chest on the visit, that Margaret believed she wouldn’t be accepted.  Then, two weeks later she received a congratulatory phone call inviting her into the program.  The rest is history.  Something tells me that she’s giving way more back to her picturesque region than she has ever received.  What an asset!

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Margaret’s studio is at 54 Rose Avenue, Hurstbridge.

For more information about the Artists Open Studios go to their website.