Born: June 25, 1944;

Died: December 13, 2022.

DAWSON Murray, ARE RSW RGI, painter, printmaker-etcher and art teacher, was beloved of his students. Many Scottish artists, including key award-winners, benefitted from his inspired teaching. An extraordinary and kind man, despite living with multiple sclerosis for over 30 years, and latterly was quadriplegic, his commitment to being an artist was paramount.

From school in Springburn he got into Glasgow School of Art in 1961 purely on artistic ability, not academic qualifications. "The wonderful Phillip Reeves taught me etching", he once recalled. "It was 1963. I was 19.” A Carnegie Travelling Scholarship enabled him to spend two years in Italy, first studying in Venice in 1966 at the Academia de Belle Arti, under Giuseppe Santomaso. "It was he who taught me to 'dream into the landscape' – something I've never forgotten!" Then came two years in Sicily, where he married his artist wife, Liz, in 1967.

Italy’s heat and landscape remained a force throughout his life, inspiring his passion for light and the sparkle of dappled sun on water which characterises his best watercolours. For many, Murray is a latter-day Monet, celebrating the beauty of gardens. His first love was watercolour. "My passion for it springs from the innate volatility of the medium, the constant vigilance required when painting wet-into-wet.” Aquatint was his printmaking love, staying with him through thick and thin.

Returning to Scotland, he spent 35 very happy years involved in art education. He began at Dumbarton Academy, and in 1977 he was asked to develop and head up the art department of Bearsden's newly-built Boclair Academy, from its opening till he retired in 1995.

Few teachers can have had Murray's effect. Try looking through the 400 Facebook comments, memories, stories. “I feel incredibly lucky to have had you as my teacher... 40 years on I can still see you dancing and singing round the art department...You made it fun, such a special place…You're the reason I studied art ... When I'm struggling I can still hear your encouragement... I want to thank you.” Others recall “the glint in his eye lifted the soul… He was a great listener .. One of the most likeable, supportive and self-effacing folk. .. He had a way of engaging in a wider perspective..."

Ross Sinclair, now himself a Glasgow School of Art professor, credits Murray with his career, while Alison Harper, a pupil between 1976 and 1981, who now runs a London art school, says: "Dawson was fierce, inspired, kind and utterly passionate about art. The first artist I ever met, he communicated to me this value system of ideas and aesthetics, a committed life. He was unfailingly supportive, patient and tenacious in his teaching. Some people affect the course of your life. Dawson was that person for me and I am sure for many others."

Murray’s early retirement was due to his MS, which he fought stoically for more than 30 years. "Nothing would stop him,” says Arthur Watson, Dundee’s Programme Director, Contemporary Art. "The single word I associate with Dawson is resilience. He always found a way to be creative, to make images.” He favoured American Golden acrylic paint (‘'Wonderful stuff which I discovered because the bottles have easily-opened flip-caps''). Even recently, he and assistant Matt Rowley made a memorable animated film based on a short story by Alasdair Gray.

For over 30 years Murray was supportive of the Glasgow Group. As president he ensured it provided opportunities for emerging young artists. He also worked closely with Richard Demarco from the 1970s on and was on the Board of Directors when I first met him around 1982.

The 1980s were an exciting, lively time. Through Demarco, Dawson and his great friend George Wyllie worked with Joseph Beuys. Wyllie and Murray were a great double act. In 1999 they collaborated on spectacular 48ft piece for Glasgow's Buchanan Galleries, made up of six panels which incorporate a giant stainless steel sculptural spire by Wyllie. Crazy but memorable. Murray told me: "I was stuck at one end with hardly enough strength to hold a fork, never mind a canvas. My wife Liz had the job of lifting and tilting the canvases, with me shouting orders. She was wonderful. It got a bit hairy. My heart was in my mouth most of the time!"

Exhibiting regularly at the RSA, RSW, SSA, RGI and RE, Dawson often drew on his own gardens as subjects for his pictures. Before moving to Kilmany, Fife, where he went on pioneer creating prints with the aid of an eye-tracking device developed at Dundee University, he lived in Kilbarchan with the River Cart at the bottom of the garden.

"The setting was phenomenal with its amphitheatre of trees", he said. "It provided subject matter all year round, from the fresh green foliage of spring to the ice and snow of winter. My paintings have always been about light and based on drawings of gardens: intimate secret gardens, or exotic gardens as rich and sumptuous as a vision of Paradise”. In the 1970s and 1980s Murray drew a lot: "I particularly enjoyed documenting our summer holidays in rural France and made many etchings from these summer sketches.” But always the garden was paramount.

Murray loved the colour blue. Azure waterscapes, luminous, ever changing, peaceful, contemplative. Flowing, rippling, limpid pools with indigo depths, accents of dreamy colour derived from a red leaf or yellow twig. Atmospheric, romantic, enticing, these poetic paintings juggled realism with mystery; observation with abstraction creating pictures to fall in love with.

From what I hear Dawson had a great party send-off round his bed to the end. What a family. What a guy.

He is survived by his wife Liz, daughters Cecily and Bryony and grandchildren Marlon and Isla.