Dawn goes the distance with CQU to enhance her artistic practice in Tasmania

22 August 2023
Image of woman in purple shirt

Dawn Murray is pursuing her passion for art with CQUniversity – all the way from her inspirational haven in the heart of Tasmania.

Dawn has encouraged others with an interest in art to pursue what they’re looking for in their career or education aspirations.

The 46-year-old’s work investigates the Tasmanian landscape, and she likes experimenting with cold wax in her paintings and uses other mediums, like pastels. 

After leaving her career of 20 years as a radiographer, Dawn completed a certificate qualification in Visual Arts, but wanted to go further.

“After looking around Tasmania and not being able to find anything that would allow me to complete study mainly online, I discovered CQU was the only University where I could study online for the whole of the course and when it suited me.

“Having a progressive disability some days I cannot study and some days I can do extra work. I was initially unsure as to whether I was ‘bright enough’ as an older student to complete a diploma, but the teachers and student and enrolment support was what got me across the line to study.”

An image of an abstract painting of a blue and green coloured landscape
One of Dawn's paintings

Dawn said while she has always “dabbled” in art, the Diploma of Visual Arts at CQU helped her enhance her craft.

“I create resin art, coffee tables, charcuterie boards and wall art. I also do commission work in pastel and pet portraits in coloured pencil. These are wildly different in their approach but for me it is the fun of creating that drives me,” she said.

“I have loved the diploma in visual arts, I have learned about so many more artists (historical and contemporary) that I think has given me a fuller overview to base my journey through the art world on. Throughout the study modules I have been encouraged to create bodies of work that relate and have a cohesion - a togetherness, and to document my working process. 

“I've never done this before, and I am surprised that I can produce a body of work where normally I create one off pieces. I'm more organised in my approach to a piece, so yes, I'm more likely to finish it. The course has also given me the knowledge that art is ever-changing and there is always more to learn. What may be correct and true now may not be in ten years and constant learning is essential to grow my practice.”

Dawn said the Tasmanian landscape influences her work, including the patterns and the colours of the farm she lives on. 

“I started this journey wanting to get another piece of paper to say I could do this. I'm almost finished and my goals have changed. I now want to go further and continue my learning because I enjoy the process of learning so much. I'm a huge advocate of learning as an adult student, challenging the mind and body is important at any age. CQU makes this possible with online, and campus-based study,” she said.

Image of a woman working on a sculpture
Dawn working on a sculpture