Dawn Emerson

Dawn Emerson

Born in 1955, I grew up in Marblehead, Massachusetts. The ocean and quarries of the rocky New England coast were my stomping grounds until I left for the west with my husband and young family in the late 1980s. I’d grown up in New England, gone to college at Brown University (English/Art 1977), and became an award winning book designer for an educational publisher before we left in 1987. Little did I know I would spend most of my adult life living in a log home and studio in the high plateau desert of Central Oregon, but that is where life took me, and the change was huge.

The wide open space of the west, with all its inhabitants and unique topography, encouraged new artistic expression. I applied my love of drawing to teaching art to children in the public schools as a visiting artist in education. I also took workshops in pastel and fell in love with the medium. Hard work and stubbornness eventually led to recognition for my work by respected pastel societies, and in the late 1990s, I was showing my work in galleries around the country and leading my own pastel workshops.

I began printmaking in 2008, and that led to incorporating mixed media in my work. Sharing those discoveries became the basis for my book Pastel Innovations, which was published in 2017 and is now printed in four languages. I’ve had six instructional DVDs produced, and made a new video available on Vimeo titled Breaking New Ground that features new techniques about layering pastel with water mixable oil. My studio is my “Innovation Laboratory,” and I hope to inspire you to dance with your easel, play, and enjoy!

My "innovation laboratory" is where I push myself to keep growing as an artist. At the end of each day, no matter the result, I thank the beautiful kindergarteners who taught me to make art come "alive" through play.

Visit our events calendar for upcoming classes and events.


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