Black and white photo of Dawn Boyer

Dawn Boy­er was born in Maine and grew up most­ly in North Car­oli­na and New Hamp­shire. She has an MFA in Writ­ing 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 Joan Mitchell, Joan Eard­ley, Bri­an Ruten­berg, and Wolf Kahn, Boy­er has stud­ied with Car­olyn Cald­well, Gail Sauter, Christo­pher Volpe, Nel­la DeLu­ca Lush, and Bernd Hauss­mann, who have had an immense influ­ence on her work. She con­tin­ues to seek oth­er artists and col­orists whose work she responds to as well.

She is known for her love of vivid col­or in a style that she refers to as abstract lyri­cism, the “space between” the real­is­tic and the abstract, the per­son­al and uni­ver­sal, the intel­lec­tu­al and intu­itive. “Water, land­scapes, and gar­dens will always pull at me,” she says. “I’m not inter­est­ed in them as sub­jects per se. I’m more inter­est­ed in their ener­gy and the emo­tion­al response that ener­gy evokes, the way nature express­es abun­dance with­out reser­va­tion the way so many peo­ple are afraid to in their own. We are con­nect­ed deeply to nature, and yet in our fast-paced, tech­no­log­i­cal­ly addict­ed soci­ety, we too eas­i­ly lose touch with that con­nec­tion. I will nev­er tire of explor­ing the mys­tery of how inte­gral those nat­ur­al forces are to our well being.”

She works most­ly in oils, although she will also turn to pas­tels, acrylics, and graphite 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, shaper, and brush. Most paint­ings are done alla pri­ma; some are revis­it­ed and lay­ered with more 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, and she allows a piece to say what it needs to as she moves knife or brush or shaper across can­vas or pan­el or board. Then, she steps back to lis­ten and observe, and approach­es again. Music plays a big part in her process (Boy­er is a pro­fes­sion­al singer as well as an artist); lis­ten­ing to it as she paints is an essen­tial part of her process, as she finds it cre­ates a rhythm and flow when she works. Chopin’s noc­turnes, con­tem­po­rary female jazz com­posers, French gyp­sy jazz, New Orleans jazz, blues, roots-based gospel, and Mem­phis soul are par­tic­u­lar favorites.

Dawn has a love for ren­o­vat­ed mills. Her stu­dio is in one in Rollins­ford, NH, and she lives in one in Somer­sworth, NH.