He was also taught by his parents, Merric and Doris Boyd, and his grandfather Arthur Merric Boyd who showed him the rudiments of painting in the Heidelberg impressionist tradition when Boyd was 14. Boyd staged his first solo exhibition in 1939. From 1943, after serving in the army, he devoted his life to painting and ceramic sculpture. In over half a century of painting the Australian landscape in its many guises, Boyd aimed to convey an inner emotional vision through his work, rather than describing the external world.
He painted lyrical and emotive allegories on universal themes of love, loss and shame. While he spent many years dividing his time between the United Kingdom and Australia, Boyd and his work remain synonymous with the Shoalhaven River area in southern New South Wales. Bundanon, the Shoalhaven property which he and his wife Yvonne bequeathed to the nation in 1993, is now a ‘living arts centre’ and a mecca for art lovers with its grand stone house and garden studio filled with Boyd memorabilia. Boyd’s work is represented in prestigious collections all over the world. In 1995 he was named Australian of the Year. He died in 1999.