A work of art can loom large in childhood memories. David Boyd, Jr. paints representational work, but when he was a boy, an abstract painting in a friend’s home mesmerized him.

Lead Image: David Boyd, Jr. saw this piece often when he visited his best friend as a child.

“My parents had a lot of friends who were artistic,” Boyd recalls. “They knew artists, musicians. My best friend’s mother painted, and they had a piece by her hanging in their breakfast room. It was a flower, but it was very abstracted. I remember seeing it when I was 5 or 6 years old. It hung in that spot for years, and every time I looked at it, I saw something new. She had painted, scraped back, put paint back on, pushed and pulled—you could see how it was put together, and it was on a grand scale.”

About that scale: Boyd remembers the painting as being “huge.” “That painting must have been 7 feet wide,” he told PleinAir Today back in December. When he finally tracked down a photo of the piece hanging in the breakfast room, it looked about 30” x 40”. The piece truly loomed large in his imagination.

Boyd’s father was an editorial cartoonist, and he made sure David, Jr. had ready access to drawing materials. “My parents even left the walls bare so I had it all to draw on,” he says. “They always encouraged me.” Boyd was destined for a life in art. He went to a small private high school that didn’t allow freshmen or sophomores in art classes, but his parents convinced school officials to let him start in art from Day One. He went on to the Savannah College of Art and Design, and now paints primarily en plein air in his hometown.

But it was an abstract painting done by his friend’s mom that oriented him toward fine art from a tender age. “To be able to get so close to her painting from a young age had a big impact on me being curious about how the artist put it together,” says Boyd.


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