teacher highlight :: Morgan Dyer

Introducing Morgan Dyer, one of our fabulous new Fall 2018 teachers! Morgan’s expressive, abstract works are inspired primarily by landscapes and personal experience, and are brought to life by her affinity for color — she is primarily known for her large abstract paintings often representing mountains or the sea.

My experience with painting has often been wrought with questions on how to achieve a certain emotion in my work, or riddled with frustrations around mixing the same paint color twice! Which is why I’m REALLY excited about the class Morgan is offering — in Beyond Blue, you will cover all the basics, as well as begin to explore your senses and delve into memories through expressive painting and color play. Whether you’re already well-versed in acrylic painting or just curious to learn more about color theory, this class will invite you to play, explore, and take risks — and to fall softly into ‘mistakes’.

In the Q&A below, she talks about how her memories from growing up in New Hampshire continue to inform her work, but also how her paintings have served as a timeline, a way to ‘document’ her growth during her adult years living on the Northshore of Massachusetts. I also asked her what’s the ONE object she would take to a desert island with her — because I know I could never choose! Hope you enjoy!

Wishing you all a cosy weekend ahead 🙂 and keep those pre-registrations coming in — there are still ten days left to be entered into the drawing for our Brooklyn Tweed give-away!

“Following inspiration, life unfolds free of any influence”
– Agnus Martin

The woods of New Hampshire are nothing new to you! You grew up with access to the outdoors right on your doorstep — now that you are living in a city, how does nature and the elements continue to inform your work?

Beverly, MA has a nice balance of city and land. There’s always something magical hidden in the Northshore and I feel lucky to live here. I’m really close to the ocean which has inspired and informed some of my newer work. I miss the mountains, but they are not far. 🙂

In Beyond Blue, you hope to invite students to explore expressive painting and bring to light what color means to them. When did understanding the way YOU experience color become an important concept to your work, and how does it continue to inform how you paint?

Ever since I could remember, I’ve always connected everything with color. People, places, things… even words and phrases at times. I always dream in vivid color, too which finds its place in my practice often. When I was an undergrad, one of the first courses I attended was called ‘painting, color and light’. It was probably one of the first times I ever worked with oil paints. The professor took out a large stack of color-aid paper and started to experiment with how our eyes reacted to several different color combinations- I was amazed! That short lesson taught me that I wanted to translate the way I think with color.

Your work is highly representational of your emotion — do you have any potent themes or memories that you keep revisiting and further developing?

New Hampshire holds a lot of emotion for me as it’s the place I called home for many years. In my paintings, I often explore my memories of the landscape where I grew up, which helps to work through and bring meaning to the complications I experienced during my upbringing there. Currently, my work reflects the changes and growth I have gone through since moving to the Northshore, but I still like to paint about the nostalgia experienced from revisiting old chapters of my life.

We have talked about how hectic life can be on a daily basis, and that one of the struggles of being an artist is juggling a ‘real life’ job as well as making time for your passions. Do you have any ‘hang in there!’ words of wisdom, favorite self-care tips’n’tricks, or straight up woes about living a life dancing in both worlds?

It’s tricky to find time for yourself, but I think it’s super important to learn how to. It doesn’t matter what you do — just practice taking an hour of time where you have zero pressures from the outside world and simply being OK with that. It really makes a difference and leaves space to allow for more creativity. My personal favorite? Lots of Epsom salt baths and walking around Whole Foods! It’s not easy switching from one activity to another! I have a full-time job and there are days that’s all I can handle. For a while, that wasn’t OK with me. I put a lot of pressure on myself to always be working, but it left me completely exhausted. Once I gave myself permission to do what my mind/ body needed, I found it easier to move from one thing to the other

Oh yes — a ‘desert island’ question — if you were trapped on a remote island and could only keep ONE object with you, what would it be?

An instrument! – is that an object? Something that can make noise… 🙂

Anything else in the works that you would love to let the Squam community know about?

Right now, I’m focusing on commissioned works and building a new body of paintings from my experience in Italy this past summer! But keep your eyes peeled for potential installation pieces / sculpture — branching out into some 3d works. Also, I can’t wait to join you all at the lake next year… I’ve heard magical things about Squam, and it’s an amazing opportunity to be involved in!

All photos credit to Morgan Dyer. You can learn more about her on Instagram and on her website.

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