Margaret Dyer: Painting the Impression of Light

NOAPS Dyer A Garden at La Bonne Etoile

“A Garden at La Bonne Etoile”, 16×20, Oil, by Margaret Dyer, Collection of the Artist.  Winner of “Best Impressionism” at the 2019 NOAPS SMALL PAINTING National Juried Exhibition at the RS Hanna Gallery, Fredericksburg, Texas.

A fleeting moment, described only with dashes of color and light, is revealed in Margaret Dyer’s winning painting.  There need be no details to interpret the scene, and one can feel that as the woman is bending over her garden, she may at any moment rise to view us.  The perfectly placed focal point attracts our attention, and we linger in the scene that carries our eyes with hints of orange.  The energetic brushwork looks effortless yet skillful, successfully meshing hard and soft edges.

NOAPS Dyer Jose at the Table 16x20  “Jose at the Table”, 16×20, Oil, Collection of the Artist.

The desire to be an artist was ever present for Margaret Dyer.  Her early studies encompassed abstract expressionism, and though this taught her the freedom of the brush, it left out the fundamentals of traditional art.  Her pursuit continued, and later she found mentor Kate Fetterolf, who taught her value structure, color and proportion.

NOAPS Dyer Jose in the Bedroom 11x14  “Jose in the Bedroom”, 11×14, Oil, Collection of the Artist.

Margaret’s first medium was pastel, in which she has worked successfully for 30 years, earning the honor of Master Pastelist from the Pastel Society of America, and has been inducted into the Masters Circle of the International Association of Pastel Societies.  Over the last five years she has been working almost exclusively with oils, after a year of studies in oil with Jim Richards, an Atlanta artist.

Many artists have contributed to Margaret’s inspiration, including such Masters as Degas, Cassatt, Sargent, Mucha and more.  Contemporary artists,such as Quang Ho and Tibor Nagy continue to inspire, although the number of highly accomplished artists today can seem at times daunting.  But there is always something that keeps the artist at the easel, and in Margaret’s words, “maybe it’s because it’s there that I feel most at peace”.

NOAPS Dyer Artists Model 8x10  “Artist’s Model”, 8×10, Oil, Collection of the Artist.

Margaret enjoys figurative work most, and finds the “play of light falling on a  person doing ordinary tasks, (the) subtle drama that is so easily overlooked” her best source of inspiration.  She works at times from a live model or en plein air, but often finds a photo can successfully catch a moment she wishes to express.

Starting with an under-painting in transparent red oxide, with hints of burnt umber and white to enhance values, Margaret then works into color.  Her palette consists of cadmium yellow lemon, cadmium orange, quinacridone red, alizarin crimson, transparent red oxide, burnt umber, ultramarine blue, pthalo blue, and viridian and white.  A painting is usually completed in one or two days.

NOAPS Dyer  “Untitled”, Oil, Collection of the Artist

Although relatively new at submitting oil paintings to competitions, Dyer was encouraged by her recent award with NOAPS.  She considers the vocation of art as being that of a perpetual student, and encourages other artists to do the same.  “Persistence, persistence, persistence.  Don’t give up.  Find a mentor and extract every bit of knowledge you can.  Then find another mentor.  Paint, paint, paint.”

Margaret Dyer’s work is represented by Allison Sprock Fine Art, Charlotte, NC; Cecil Byrne Gallery, Charleston, SC, and River Gallery, Chattanooga, TN.  To view more of Dyer’s work, visit  Margaret also teaches workshops, and to see blogs of her recent workshop trip in Florence, Italy, visit

To view the NOAPS 2019 SMALL PAINTING National Juried Exhibition, visit

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director

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