Margaret Best (nee Brewer) was born and raised in South Africa. Surrounded by an abundance of indigenous and cultivated plant life, it’s only to be expected that botanical subjects would find their way into her work soon after she started painting as a young child under the tutorage of Betty Clur.

After graduating as a teacher in Cape Town, she taught art at Rustenburg School for Girls In Rondebosch, just a stone’s throw from the world-famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

In the early 80’s after time spent in Toronto, London, Tehran, and Houston, Margaret, her husband, and daughter settled in Calgary at the foot of the Canadian Rockies. She completed fine arts courses at the University of Calgary and served as a director of the Alberta Crafts Council for four years. She now lives in Chester Basin, Nova Scotia.

Margaret discovered the work of contemporary botanical artists while on one of many trips to visit her mother in England during the late 90’s. She had finally found her artistic focus. Fueled by a new-found enthusiasm for botanical art, she completed master watercolour classes with renowned botanical artists and teachers, Anne Marie Evans, Pandora Sellars, and Katie Lee.

Margaret is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA), the Bermuda Society of Artists (BSoA), the Botanical Artists’ Guild of Southern Alberta (BAGSA), the Botanical Artists’ Association of Southern Africa (BAASA), Société Française d’Illustration Botanique (Sfib), Botanical Art Guild of Southern California (BAGSC), and the Florilegium Society of the Royal Botanical Gardens of Sydney. 

Margaret has exhibited in Canada, the U.S.A, the U.K., Bermuda, Australia, South Africa, and Italy. Her work can be found in private collections around the world , in the Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation of the Carnegie Mellon University, and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Margaret’s botanical art teaching in graphite, coloured pencil and watercolour has taken her to numerous renowned locations including the San Diego Natural History Museum, Filoli Gardens near San Francisco, University of Washington in Seattle, Los Angeles Arboretum, Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens, Huntington Gardens in San Moreno, Virginia Robinson Gardens in Hollywood, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens in Cape Town, and the South African National Biodiversity Institute at the National Botanical Gardens, Pretoria.

She has also taught in France and at destination workshops in Italy, England, Morocco, Spain, and Newfoundland. In Calgary and Hamilton, Bermuda Margaret has developed progressive botanical art programs.

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