Born in 1963, Joyce Boyer has lived her life in Edmonton, Alberta. Her two favourite interests are art and horses. Embracing these two passions has had a major impact on her life.
Boyer’s mother recognized her love for art at an early age and enrolled her in art classes. She encouraged her in pastels and later, oils. As the youngest in her class, she was always striving to be better by observing other artists and the manner in which they created their work. This practise is something she still does to this day, always wanting to understand what makes a painting work well. Her high school teacher, Gregg Johnson, was an encouragement and mentor to her. Joyce recalls, “Mr. Johnson allowed me to grow and experience different media. The fact that he still follows me on instagram 30 years later shows his level of commitment to his students."
After such a positive introduction to art, Boyer headed off to college, taking graphic arts, where her next experience made her rethink her art career. One instructor told her she would never be an artist and this was devastating. “Art was something I thought I was good at and this led me to have second thoughts.” So after completing the graphic arts program she decided it was time to pursue her second passion…horses. She attended college in a two year program in Western Horsemanship and finished at the top of her class. She would work in pastels, creating many horse portraits for fellow students. At the end of her studies Joyce gave a picture to her instructor who stated that he had no idea she was so talented and perhaps she should be focusing on art. Once again the light began to shine brighter.
Boyer worked for the next few years in the horse industry but kept art alive doing commission work and taking art classes when able. Because of the potential of having to face hand surgery, Joyce chose to leave the horses rather than risk losing the mobility of her hands.
Shortly after, she met her husband and they began a family. Her husband encouraged her to work on her art and she did this while raising her two children. “I would put them down for their nap and run to get my art so I could create,” she laughs. Boyer was well versed in oils and approached stores in Canmore, Banff and Jasper. They were delighted to carry her unique oil paintings on Brazilian agate. These little gems were created and sold for many years and although it is not her main focus, she still creates them to this day, every year for the Christmas season.
After a number of years focusing on small pieces of work, Boyer wanted to stretch herself as an artist and do larger pastels. She entered them into various shows. In one of her first juried shows she placed first and also was awarded Juror’s Choice for two separate pieces of art.
Boyer continued to work in pastel and teach oils to seniors on a volunteer basis . It was at this time she was introduced to another medium. Collage. “It was exciting to be learning something different and allowed me to grow as an artist.” she recalls. It made her contemplate whether she could pursue two mediums and be good at both; a dilemma that was short lived. Soon her collage pieces were being recognized and people commented they were able to pick out her work by knowing her style and her vibrant colour pallet. Sometimes Joyce will do the same image in both pastels and collage.
She has always been inspired by the coast and Rocky Mountains. Her current series “At Water’s Edge” has been a joy to work on. With pastels she is able to use colour, light and movement of water to capture what she is trying to portray. In collage she begins by painting tissue paper and then transfers it to canvas, allowing the texture of the tissue to work in her painting as well. Next, she paints in a series of washes using fluid acrylics allowing the background to enhance the picture.
Boyer loves texture, whether it is the snarled bark of an old root or the smoothness of water as it reflects its surroundings.
Joyce continues her journey and is thankful to the many artists such as Albert Handell, Bill Rogers and Karen Richter for touching her life and inspiring her art.
As a member of the Pastel Society of Canada, Art Society of Strathcona County, and ACACA she keeps very involved with the Art Community. She says,” You are never too old to start pursue a passion in art, even if you can only draw stick men.” She just looks at the master painter and sees that she has a lot to learn and knows that she will enjoy every step of her journey. She feels truly blessed being able to create works that inspire and to have many artistic friends who encourage each other and offer support.
Art is like breathing to me. I look at the world around me and see it in everything. Colour, shapes and inspiration; It never ends. The best thing about art is having someone look at your work and for them to be moved in some way; that is what art is all about.
When choosing the subject of my next creation, I need it to speak to me. I do not want just another pretty picture. I want the subject to have presence and demand that it be painted. There is a need of a challenge for me to capture what it wishes to say. Because I am primarily a landscape painter, I am constantly alert to the world around me, looking at the way colors play with one another, perhaps offering a unique perspective, or something that takes my breath away. It could be the way a majestic tree’s knarled root system holds tight to the edge of a river bank, or the reflection of the tree showing in the water flowing below.
I take many photos, as I primarily work out of my studio. Occasionally a pleine air piece will become a major studio work as well. When I view my photos I begin with them small, looking for balance in the lights and darks. When I see something that strikes me, I work it with a variety of sketches and then begin.
The process is very exciting. As the painting evolves from a sketch to a completed piece, I sometimes have to take a step back and take in how things reach the core of my being and the wonder at being blessed to be able to do something I love. Whether I decide to paint pastel or mixed media, it is determined by how I wish to portray it. The mixed media allows for its own texture to play and interact with the piece, whereas pastels and their richness of color allow for a different feel. Each medium is so different and brings to the table a variety of choices that will enhance the work to its fullest potential.
Having taken a variety of workshops and mentorship programs from such internationally know artists as Albert Handell and Rose Edin, I have tried to develop my style into something both unique and inviting for the viewer. This allows me to be constantly growing as an artist, always learning and exploring.
I feel successful in creating a painting when a viewer can look at it and have an emotional response, that the picture speaks to them as it did to me.