Dawn Boyer was born in Maine and grew up in North Carolina and New Hampshire. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and has drawn or painted in one form or another for her entire life. In addition to being influenced by Matisse, Joan Mitchell, Richard Diebenkorn, Brian Rutenberg, and Wolf Kahn, Boyer has studied with local artists Stan Moeller (who is a friend and mentor), Carolyn Caldwell, Gail Sauter, Christopher Volpe, and Nella DeLuca Lush, who have had an immense influence on her growth as an oil painter. She continues to seek other artists and colorists whose work she responds to as well.
She is known for her love of vivid color, especially in her expressionistic florals. “Flowers will always ‘pull’ at me,” she says. “I’m not interested in them as flowers per se. It’s more their energy, the way they dance and catch the light and express without reservation during their brief lifespan what so many people are afraid to in their own. I will never tire of exploring that mystery.”
She works mostly in oils, although pastels and acrylics are both media she turns to when a painting or circumstance dictates. Her style is bold, with energetic marks and thick paint, applied mostly with palette knife or a combination of palette knife and brush. Most paintings are done alla prima; some are revisited and layered with more thick paint until they convey the emotional resonance Boyer wants to express. She tries not to plan too steadfastly, as she is not as interested in subject depiction as in how a painting
communicates with a viewer and creates a response. She concentrates on the interplay between color, harmony, shape, light, and value. She allows the painting to say what it needs to as she moves the knife or brush across canvas or panel or board, steps back to listen and observe, then approaches again. Music plays a big part in her process (Boyer is a professional singer as well as an artist); she always listens to it as she paints, finding it helps to create a rhythm and “flow” as she works. Chopin, Gypsy jazz, New Orleans-style jazz and pop, blues, Memphis soul, and roots-based gospel are particular favorites.
Dawn lives in Rollinsford, NH, with her husband, Brett Hartenbach.