Watching Paint Dry – Margaret Boynton

By April 28, 2014 Art News & Current Events

In my experience watching paint dry is pretty exciting.. Growing up with my father as an artist I guess I did that a lot. My father, Lee Boynton is a professional artist in Annapolis and he has taught many people throughout the 30 plus years he has been living in Annapolis. I like to watch him set up his pallet in our backyard – laying out his colors in an arch to paint the natural spectrum of light. My father likes to paint outdoors because his subject are in a natural color key that are unaltered.Color = Light.

Painting is like a kind of visual music. Like a musician he sets up his colors according to a scale and mixes each color to stay within its color key in a hierarchy of saturation. Colors are laid in in layers to create an effect of radiance. For instance,  he might paint a yellow sky and then lay cerulean blue over it so that the yellow can shine through the blue layer. I modeled for him a lot of times in our back yard. After the first sitting, I would  jump up to admire his progress but would only be perturbed see he painted my face green and brown. But eventually it would make more and more sense. Impressionist painters call this painting “mud heads” because quite literally they mix together a bunch of muddy colors and slap that up there on their subject’s face and sculpt the “mud” into the beautifully rendered delicate features of a young girl’s face. Watching a painter transform a mud head into a Sargent is quite something to behold.


Lee Boynton, painting plein air

hqdefault8d5a34d457a35ff8b8d9aedda6ea2595Examples of a mud head, transformed into a refined portrait by Henry Hensche.



About MFA