Lyn Boyer’s painting “Juniper at Dead Horse Point” took Best of Show at Plein Air Moab, and she’s happier than usual about it for one big reason.
“I consciously don’t paint to win awards,” says Boyer. “If my mind starts to anticipate what might win or what a judge wants, I erase that from my mind. I paint things that I fall in love with. When I was painting the juniper tree, I didn’t even consider that the painting would be noticed. I’m painting in Moab, and my piece is not a rock, it’s not big, and it’s not red. I thought I was taking myself out of the running. So it meant a lot to me to win. I was true to myself.”
Cedar Keshet paints during Plein Air Moab, with Lyn Boyer working away in the background
The subject matter itself was no accident. Boyer scoped out the site carefully, even if her final choice was a challenging one. “It was not random. It was very specific. I drove in the dark to get to Dead Horse Point at sunrise, and as I was walking around, the junipers were really wonderful and really captivated me,” Boyer recalls. “When I went back on the second day, that one really struck me. Maybe it was its ability to survive. In order to even get the roots of the tree at eye level, I had to get up on a rock. It was a less comfortable place to paint, but that was the view of the tree I wanted. It’s part of the fun, the difficulty, the challenge. It’s part of the experience. But I had to focus — I couldn’t step back 10 feet from my easel like I’m used to doing.”
It may mark the beginning of an informal series of paintings. “I was so fascinated that I’m probably going to paint a lot more junipers,” says Boyer.