Newest Artist in Residence exhibit showcases a love of painting, landscapes

Dawn Kemp


Beautiful scenery, pastoral landscapes and vivid colors are what inspire Dawn Kemp when she sits down to paint. Eight of her favorite works, including several quintessential New England scenes such as the rocky Maine coast, a woodland setting and a rustic barnyard, can be seen in the collection “New England Inspirations,” the newest installment of the Artist in Residence series on display in the Lamar Soutter Library.

Kemp, who is an administrative coordinator for the Office of Graduate Medical Education, took up oil painting in 2000 as a way to spend more time with her sister. “She was doing some painting at a local arts and crafts store on Sundays, so I decided to join her,” said Kemp. “It turned out to be something I really loved doing.” 

Since then, Kemp has been developing her technique through private instruction and workshops and classes at the Worcester Art Museum. She also makes a point of painting regularly—sometimes every day, depending on her schedule—in her sun-lit living room. “I find painting to be very relaxing, calming and peaceful,” said Kemp. “It’s quite meditative.” 

While this is Kemp’s first all-inclusive exhibit, she has had individual paintings included in exhibits at an art guild in northeast Connecticut, and she displays a few works in her office at the UMMS Worcester campus. “I have a closet full of paintings, so I’d love to have another exhibit somewhere,” she said. 

To date, Kemp’s paintings have been primarily representational, but lately her focus has begun to shift toward more abstract, surrealistic pieces. “Surrealism is fun because I can put my own spin on what I see,” she said. “However, it isn’t easy. I was surprised to find that a lot of effort and thought is required for this type of painting and expression.” Experimentation with surrealism aside, Kemp has plans to do a series of paintings based on photographs she took on a recent trip to Australia. “The landscape there is amazing.” 

The Office of Graduate Medical Education coordinates approximately 40 training programs at UMMS, including residency, fellowship and non-accredited fellowship programs. “Our office supports the more than 500 residents who participate in these programs with everything from licensing to counseling,” said Kemp, who has enjoyed her work with the office and UMMS for the past nine years. “Whatever they need, they come through us.” 

“New England Inspirations” will be on display through Jan. 7. For more information about the Artist in Residence Series and other events at the Lamar Soutter Library, visit For more information about the Office of Graduate Medical Education, visit


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