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Diane Reed Sawyer

Diane Reed Sawyer


Diane has been passionate about making art since she was a young child, and cherishes her time in the studio. Over the course of her career, she has explored both representation and abstraction. She is best known for her work in soft pastel, her primary medium for the past 10 years. Recently she has begun working in oil and cold wax as well.

Her work is primarily about light and the way it falls on the earth, changing with the atmosphere and position of the sun. Her favorite times are early in the morning and at dusk, as slanting light brings out the richness of the landscape. She also is fascinated by reflections, and often takes out her kayak to study the dance of patterns and color shifts on the water’s surface. She captures these moments, making color notes, or small color studies to refer to while working in her studio.

Her range of subjects extends from New England’s coast and mountains to the arid Southwest, the coastal range and rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, and abroad. This past year, during the pandemic, she found much needed solace and inspiration closer to home, exploring the mountains, ponds, and streams near her live/work studio in the Berkshires.

In recent years Diane has received national recognition for her ‘Aerial Series’, shaped by her observations during flights in the US and abroad. “At night intricate patterns of light form webs of connection, and suggest the vast landscape below us,” she notes. “The view from high above the earth is mysterious and beautiful. It also offers a unique perspective on how centuries of industrialization, endless networks of highways, pollution, and overdevelopment have impacted our environment. I invite the viewer to witness both the beauty and the destructive exploitation of our fragile planet.”

Diane’s paintings have been exhibited widely throughout the US, including national and international juried exhibitions, and have received numerous awards. Her paintings are included in private collections around the US and abroad. Collectors often comment on the luminosity of her work, as if her paintings were lit from within.

In 2018, her Aerial Series was featured in a 10-page article in the Pastel Journal.

She is honored to be designated a Signature Member of the prestigious Pastel Society of America, and looks forward to an Artist Residency at Mass MoCA. 


Bachelor of Fine Arts, Boston Museum School in association with Tufts University
Additional coursework: Bennington College, MassArt, Boston Museum School

She has studied with numerous nationally– and internationally-known artists including Jeanne Rosier Smith, Liz Haywood Sullivan, Jacob Agulier, Michele Poirier Mozzone, Aline Ordman,Tony Alain, Margaret MacWethy, John Redmond, Tim Hawkesworth, Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin.


Signature Member: Pastel Society of America (PSA)
Signature Member: Pastel Society of Cape Cod (PPSCC)

See more about Diane's Awards and Recent Exhibitions: