Diane in her studioThe great joy of painting for me is that it provides an opportunity to sit with and really see the world. I work both en plein air, and in the studio from sketches, color notes and photos that I have gathered as reference on site.

All of my work is essentially about light, the way it falls on the landscape. I love the light in the warm summer months, especially in the morning and the evening, when the sun is low in the sky. Shadows deepen, and colors seem especially vivid in the slanting light. In the winter, the light is cooler, and the colors more muted. However, it is often clearer, and there is a beautiful stillness and clarity in the landscape. I am particularly intrigued right now with water, how it reflects the sky, but also is transparent, with the objects below and above the surface combining in an ever-changing mosaic.

Working with pastel is working with pure pigment. My paintings are created on a sanded surface, which holds many layers. Typically I start with an underpainting using pastel, watercolor, or oil to set the composition—which is often quite abstract. Layering the pastel over this base, I construct my image. Allowing the layers below to show through builds luminosity as the colors vibrate with one another. The surface is touched as little as possible so the pastel retains its crystalline structure and sparkle.

For much of the last 30 years my graphic design business has occupied most of my time and creative energy, along with my growing family. Now that my kids are grown, I am finding great pleasure in being able to focus on my art. I am especially enjoying all the wonderful fellow artists I have met along the way.

I look forward to the journey as I continue to push my work, and explore this wonderful medium.


Diane is a signature member of the Pastel Painter’s Society of Cape Cod, and member of North River Arts Society. In addition she is the Chair of the Gallery Committee at the Milton Art Center’s Gallery 334.

She received a BFA from the Boston Museum School and Tufts University in 1979, and has completed additional coursework at MassArt, Museum School, and Bennington College. In addition she has studied with numerous artists including Liz Haywood Sullivan, Jeanne Rosier Smith, Susan Ogilvie, Stan Sperlak, Casey Klahn, Marla Baggetta, Ed Chesnovich, Michele Poirier-Mozzone, Tony Alain, and Alaine Picard, among others.

Diane is owner and principal of Sawyer Design Associates, LLC, a graphic design studio in Milton MA specializing in publication design for education, health care, and social-service oriented non-profits. For more information about Sawyer Design, see http://www.sawyerdesign.net


Renaissance in Pastel 2o15, Connecticut Pastel Society, Judy Walo Memorial Award
Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod 2015 Members Show, Honorable Mention
UArt Paper Online Show and Competition, Best in Show
IAPS 26th Juried Exhibition, Albuquerque, NM, 2015 (international juried show)
Kirkwood Gallery, 4 person show, May 2015
Wotiz Gallery, Milton Public Library, solo show, May 2015
Milton Center for the Arts, gallery shows 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012
For Pastels Only, Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod 2014, 13, 12 (national juried show)
Healing Tree Yoga, Quincy, ongoing shows with rotating work, 2012 to present
Pastel Painters in Provence, group show, Concord Art Association, September 2014
Dot 2 Dot Café, one person show, pastels, April-July 2013; photographs, 2014-present
North River Festival of the Arts, May-June 2013
PPSPC Members Show, 2012, 2013, 2014
Mad Hatter Gallery, 2012, 4 person show
Wotiz Gallery, Milton Public Library, solo show, June 2011
Ashland Public Library 2011 group show
The Framers Edge Gallery 2011, 6 person show
River Art at Forbes House Museum, 1st prize in digital photography
Northeastern University Gallery
Mazmanian Gallery, Framingham State College, one person show
Cornucopia Restaurant
Bromfield Gallery
Harvest Restaurant
Boston Museum School

Photo: Maureen Fahey


  1. mehrlich125 says:

    Lovely work! I also live on Cape Cod. I dabble in watercolors. I loved your explanation of the Sandy Neck pastel piece, how you approached the layering and the light, very interesting. It seems a lot of my life is now about “chasing the light”. Marian

  2. Joan Baldwin says:

    I love the image if the boy entering the water in the pastel which I bought at the Pastel Society show. I gave it to my grown son for his house since it reminded me of him at the Cape when he was about 11 or 12. I’m an artist also and I appreciate your skill with using pastels.

    Joan Baldwin

    • Joan, thank you for your comment! It’s so nice to know where the piece ended up. I love that you gave it to your son. I just sold the larger piece that was used on the card for my show in Hingham.

      It’s so nice to know as an artist that others connect with what you’re doing. Is your site joanbaldwin.com? If so, love your work! If not, I’d love to see what you’re doing.

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