I grew up believing I was an artist, an inventor, a “creative” and that I had the world by the tail in these areas. To be honest, I was a product of parents who suddenly had a child way after they expected, so they kept me fairly busy finding my niche. By the time I was twelve I’d immersed or dabbled (depending on skill set) in baton twirling, ballet, piano, clarinet, trumpet, swimming, basketball, softball, and took weekly art lessons every Saturday during the school year. I relished those art classes and learned to work in many different mediums. Then we moved and IT happened. I took my first and last school-based art class in eighth grade. Our grade was solely based on a creative project regarding an ad. After much work and detail, mine received a C with no remarks, no red comments, and no acknowledgement that she’d even looked at any part of it.
“Every Child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” ~ Pablo Picasso
|Topsy & Turvy 30" x 30" acrylic ink and paint|
I walked away from the art I knew for years, but the creative in me found other ways to have an outlet in the forms of poetry, needlework and calligraphy. Fast forward to the 90s when paper crafting and stamp art were kings and I put my big toe in once again. For me, combining color, texture, and motifs without fear of representational art rejection was freeing. I was mentored and encouraged by some of the biggest names in the industry until I was ready to fly by my own wings.My workshop career blossomed, a book deal was signed and I continued to hone my techniques and define “my” style.
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” ~ Thomas Merton
|Concerto 12" x 12" birch deep cradle watermedia, metal powder, fibers, beads|
Years went by and my options widened significantly, but my choices were rather selfish in nature. My “why” is wrapped up in where I’ve been and who I’m still becoming. Art has been transformative and where I’ve found passion and a sense of self I didn’t know existed. Those early days when I found my art voice again are never far from my thoughts. There was pep in my step and a seemingly endless enthusiasm for possibility. I couldn’t wait to have time to play. What excites me the most now is seeing those moments in others when I teach workshops around the country. That look of wonderment and the sounds of whispered giggles as they play with new techniques is intoxicating. I adore that moment of their discovery or rediscovery of their own possibility, the quick relationships that develop while barriers are down, and the knowledge that I’ve planted some empowering seeds in a world where judgment and shaming abound. Afterwards, I’m always renewed and ready to go back to my studio playground.
|Faith 5" x 7" mixed media|
“People need a powerful why if they are going to be able to endure any how.” ~ David Brooks
|Tuscan Interlude 30" x 12" acrylic ink & paint, India ink & dip pen|
I will continue to teach and nurture others, but these days I am also using my art to take a look inward and to let my creative voice come to the surface. To that end and to keep things fresh for me, I’ve gone in some new directions in my art. I’ve returned to painting after the long respite and am enjoying using watermedia in an illustrative, whimsical style. It allows me to break some rules and once I put on my big girl panties and saw that my imperfect style and quirky imagination could be a strength, it’s been a lot of fun and almost meditative in nature. When I’m up for a challenge, my newest obsession has been manipulating and upcycling old magazine art. Depending on the original colors on the page, each initial manipulation will produce a unique abstract outcome that I can choose to leave more organic or bring in a traditional or whimsical element for juxtaposition. I can get lost for days in my studio working on these and they all have a different vibe based on what I am feeling and how deep the questions are that I asked myself that day. I’m a work in progress so the questions change daily as I peel back my own layers ... and that’s where the magic is.
|Bloom 7" x 5" mixed media|
“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” ~Zora Neale Hurston
This is Week 22 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading and sharing Nancy's story today. To see more of Nancy's work, please connect with her at the following links: