For ‘Badass Women,’ 50 Paintings Not Nearly Enough

Dallas painter turns portraits into a colorful book celebrating bold ‘foremothers’

Dallas artist Valerie Guth Boyd set a goal: “paint the portraits of 50 women before I turned 50.”

Now she has plenty of portraits and a self-published book, too.

“I met my goal of 50 well before my 50th birthday and continued until I surpassed 100 works that commemorate activists, artists, educators, humanitarians, scientists, politicians, actors, athletes, and leaders in an array of fields,” she said.

Her book, Badass Women, packages the portraits with quotes and bibliographical information and is dedicated to her daughter, Grace.

“I wanted to celebrate the contributions of these women and inspire all of us to acknowledge the badass women in our lives,” she said. “I envisioned my daughter’s generation getting to know their foremothers.”

Valerie Guth Boyd

The book has generated excitement among her friends in the Preston Hollow Women’s Club and garnered the notice of Nancy Perot with Interabang Books.

“This is a delightful and inspiring book for any strong-willed, determined woman in your life and for all those who celebrate and cherish them,” Perot wrote in the store’s email newsletter.

Boyd recently answered questions about her art, the book, and her amazing daughter.

How do you define a badass woman?

For me, “badass” is an attitude. I considered “Remarkable Women” for the title of the series but decided on Badass Women for its contemporary, edgy, millennial feel.

When I looked up the definition of “badass,” it resonated: “a formidably impressive person.” Further, “badassery” was defined as “engaging in seemingly impossible activities and achieving success in a manner that renders all onlookers completely awestruck.” “Badass,” therefore, epitomizes the daring women I have painted.

Who are your favorite badass women?

Some of my paintings feel more technically successful than others because I improved as I painted and painted, face after face. I also enjoyed experimenting with color, style, and interpretation. If I had to choose favorites, I would select portraits for their representation of the techniques I have explored — Barbara Jordan, Amelia Earhart, Mary Oliver, RBG, Barbara McClintock, Marie Curie, Lucille Ball, Lee Krasner, Hillary Clinton, and Julia Child — but I particularly enjoy when viewers share the portraits they like best.

What’s it like to raise a badass daughter?

I am awed by the way she navigates our complex world. She is curious, creative, and compassionate. She cares deeply about people and the issues that our world faces. She has a sparkle that I love and have tried to support in every way possible, and then I just get out of her way and let her shine. Grace’s badassery started when she was very young. In kindergarten, Grace was chosen to be the MC for her classroom circus. In fourth grade, she was the lower school student body president and was the first lower school student to lead an all elementary school assembly. In high school and now in college, Grace loves filmmaking as an art form of multimedia storytelling that can reach broad audiences. I am excited to see where her badassery will take her.

Want a copy? Badass Women, self-published with JPS Graphics Corporation and Clampitt Paper for  gorgeous purple endpapers, sells for $50. Contact the author/artist at [email protected] or 612-834-0435.

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William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at [email protected]. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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