Artist Dawna Boehmer’s oil paintings offer a humorous and satirical take on everyday life situations. Visit her website to see more of her work.
I am a storyteller who uses paint and canvas instead of words. Whether I’m painting people, or animals, I like to show their emotions, personalities and humor.
My characters—be they people or animals wearing clothing—interact in social situations with often comical results. In “Blind Date” a man tries to impress a woman but he talks too much and she just looks bored.
The same scene is played in “Blind Date With Dogs” which uses dogs as subjects instead of humans. It shows a “Professor Type” Basset Hound with a bored “Party Girl” English Spaniel.
I always have several ideas for paintings running through the back of my mind. I never try to rush to start a painting because it takes a while for the many variances of an idea to work themselves out. The smallest thing may trigger an idea. An expression on a face, the curve of a hip in a photograph, a famous painting; they all add bits and pieces to the final work of art.
Once I’ve decided on the general direction of a painting, I start gathering together reference photos. Often, I have my husband pose for me. In “Hubby has the Flue” he is wearing a plaid bathrobe and holding a teddy bear.
If I don’t have the item around the house then I search online—Chanel shoes, a railroad train, a telescope, a star map—there is a limit to what I can draw from my imagination. For some reason, my husband fully expected me to draw a train from an image in my head. He must think I have the super power of a photographic memory!
When I have an idea committed to a drawing and transferred to canvas, then everything changes. Somehow a painting knows where it wants to go. If there is a little blank space left somewhere, I fill it with flowers, a purse or some small detail which adds to the narrative. I love painting lots of detail, even if it means I end up using teeny tiny brushes.
Movie posters have always been an inspiration to me, especially ones from the 30’s and 40’s. Posters capture a moment in time while hinting at a longer narrative. People see my paintings and always tell me what they think is going on in the scene.
When I started painting again after a long hiatus, I took portrait classes from a very traditional painter. However, painting realistic portraits bored me and soon humor and a story line started coming through.
It took me years to fully accept that I’m more of an illustrator than a realist. Norman Rockwell painted realistically, yet he is considered an illustrator. One critic called me a sarcastic Norman Rockwell—I consider that a compliment!