Monday, October 15, 2018

Bend in the Road


"Bend in the Road", 10x8", oil on gessobord

Sunlight is painting.—Nathaniel Hawthorne

I snapped the reference photo for this painting in Montana right at the golden hour. The sun, rapidly setting behind the distant mountains was sweeping light like magic to create long shadows across the landscape. The tree along the bend in the road was totally lit up in the glow of the moment. This was one of those instances in your life when you know—beyond a shadow of a doubt—you were exactly where you were suppose to be at that precise moment in time...my soul on fire with joy. 

Thank you for following my work.
—nancy


To see more of my art click Online Gallery  Email  • Website  •  Graphic Design Studio • Fine Art America



Tuesday, October 9, 2018

In the Shade of Nye

"In the Shade of Nye"6x6" oil on Gessobord
NOT AVAILABLE FOR SALE


"To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment."   —Jane Austen
I was enthralled by the fresh, lush green vegetation hugging tightly to this tiny abandoned log cabin on my sister's property in Montana. The sun, that morning, still low in the east, was painting luminous shadows on the blanket of still-wet grass, dappled in a myriad of sparkling light. The structure sits along the edge of a large park-like cluster of trees running along the banks of the Stillwater River. 

I painted this mostly en plein air one morning, and then finished up in my studio once I returned home. Oh course this was gifted to my sister, so not for sale, but just wanted to share another memorable moment of my vacation. 

Gosh, I'd love to live in this little-one-room castle surrounded by mountains and pastures. I can't think of anything grander...especially if they install a toilet!

Thank you for stopping by today.
nancy 

To see more of my art click Online Gallery  Email  • Website  •  Graphic Design Studio • Fine Art America



Saturday, September 22, 2018

Bounty

"Bounty" 8x10", oil on gessobord

"The best way to know God is to love many things."
—Vincent Van Gogh


Nothing in a landscape makes me smile more than to see stacks of freshly baled hay dotting the horizon along a country farm road. This painting was of a photo I took in Montana over the summer. I could paint hay stacks over and over again. I wonder if Monet and Van Gogh might have had a similar obsession? 

Seeing bales scattered across a field gives me an inner sense of peace, causing me to reflect on the bounty of our own lives. To me, these gravestone-like-monuments are symbols representing lives of ultimate survival on the battlefield called life. Threatened by extreme weather, violent storms, lack of water, too much water, fighting off weeds and pests, the hay—with with all of its imperfections—is harvested at the perfect moment, and gathered into the bounty of a full life in all of its glory. 

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, what a perfect time to give thanks for the gift of our lives, where one day, our fruits too will be rolled into glowing bales.

Thanks for viewing,
nancy


To see more of my art click Online Gallery  Email  • Website  •  Graphic Design Studio • Fine Art America


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Mother of Sorrows

"Mater Dolorosa" 20x20", oil on stretched canvas

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Is there one who would not weep,
'Whelmed in miseries so deep, 
Christ's dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that mother's pain untold?

Stabat Mater - 13th-century medieval Latin hymn 
on the suffering of the Virgin Mary at the Crucifixion.

This painting is an ekphrastic response to a photograph—a friend of mine took—of a statue of Blessed Mary found in the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Mary is holding the lifeless body of her Son, who has been placed in her arms, after being taken down from the cross. 

I have rarely seen Mary depicted crying, and was deeply moved by her tearful eyes as she experienced her deepest sorrow, as foretold by Simeon at Christ's Presentation, "And you yourself a  sword will pierce". This is a grief which can only be known by a mother who has experienced the loss of a child, especially her only child. 

Here are some of stages of development:


#1. Drawing and initial block in
of Mary's face and darkest darks
#2. Begin working on skin tones, Jesus barely
visible in lower corner, background and lightest areas
#3. Further development of Mary's skin
tones, folds of fabric  
#4. Finalized, added the foot of the cross
behind Mary.

As our mother, Mary also shares in the sorrow and pain of today's world. It gives me great hope to know she is here, and suffers right alongside all of us, in the darkness of our world. She is a light of hope, the perfect example of strength, faith, trust and courage to hold onto. 

I have worked on this piece for over a year. Today is the Memorial of our Sorrowful Mother, so it seems fitting to present my/our Mother. 

—nancy



To see more of my art click Online Gallery  Email  • Website  •  Graphic Design Studio • Fine Art America

Monday, September 3, 2018

Shapes From Above the Stillwater River

"Along the Stillwater" 12x9" oil on gessobord panel
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“How does it happen that birds sing, that snow melts, that the rose unfolds, that the dawn whitens behind the stark shapes of trees on the quivering summit of the hill? A kiss, and all was said." —Victor Hugo 

Or, maybe this quote should end with, a glance and all was said? Either way, for me, painting this was a love affair. I had so much fun abstracting the landscape down into basic shapes and colors, as if it were a jigsaw puzzle of interlocking pieces waiting to be placed into position. To coin a quote from Georgia O'Keefe, "I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—things I had no words for."

I've been experimenting here and there, painting with the temperature of colors versus the actual colors I see. For instance, the cooler foreground was in deep shade from the house when I began to paint and the sun was low in the sky, just peeking over the mountains behind me. So I painted the closest grasses in cool purples in contrast to the warm rays of light casting out across the tallest tips of grasses, and the valley...icing tree tops and fields on its way...in a fiery blanket of light.  

I was painting from my sister's covered patio which formed an umbrella to control the light refections on my canvas, but beware standing on concrete for hours is never fun on the legs or back...no pain no gain applies.

Here's a shot of my awesome plein air set up that all fits inside my red go-anywhere backpack. 


I hope you enjoy this as much as I loved painting it. 

—nancy
To see more of my art click Online Gallery  Email  • Website  •  Graphic Design Studio • Fine Art America

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Montana Moments

"Montana Solitude" 6x6" oil on Gessobord
SOLD
"Something opens our wings. Something makes boredom and hurt disappear. Someone fills the cup in front of us: We taste only sacredness." —Rumi

I painted this plein air piece on the first morning we arrived in Montana, from atop of the hill where my sister and brother-in-law's main house is perched. Gazing out across the property I noticed the isolated house off in the distance. It lay nestled in the lap of golden valley, surrounded by looming mountains, donned with a touch of lingering snow on the farthest peak. The house looked a bit vulnerable, as if it were about to be devoured and disappear into the foreboding shadowy background.

As the morning ended I realized, I was the one who had been swallowed up, up into the delightful solitude of the moment. 


Painting is always my medium of choice to disappear into a day! 


Thanks for viewing,

nancy

To see more of my art click Online Gallery  Email  • Website  •  Graphic Design Studio • Fine Art America

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Watercolor Sketches from Colorado

5x7" Aspen in Light
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Here are four watercolors from a recent stay in Crystola, Colorado on our return from Montana. The lime-tinted aspens are magnificent...shaking and shimmering in the light and cool mountain breezes...sounding like reminiscent tones of an indian paint stick. Enchanting and mystical!  

5x7" Tool Shed
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This watercolor features a tiny tool shed emerging from shadows, perched in the morning light and surrounded by majestic pines. It beckons to be painted. I am sure it's buried in snow most of the winter, but for now it surfaces to bask in the the sun like a tired turtle resting on a warm rock. 

I think it was smiling?  


7x5" Crystola I
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This was one of the views from the house where we were staying. It overlooks the rolling highway that leads to Manitou and Colorado Springs. What a joy to simply stand with the feel of wind and sun on my face. 

For watercolors, I like to do a light pencil sketch of the scene before I begin applying paint. I used a limited palette which required a lot of mixing to obtain all the different greens. To convey a feeling of depth and distance, I used soft and cool colors, saving the warmest hues for the foreground/center of interest. 
7x5" Crystola II
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All of our evenings at the Crystola house culminated outdoors before a roaring fire, sipping wine, and listening to music under the blanket of Milky Way. Here is how the area appears during the light of day. Unfortunately, one evening we had to conduct a funeral for an unfortunate hummer who had flown into the house the night before. Poor little thing never found its way back out the door to the freedom of sky, but rather collapsed from exhaustion into a sconce. During the cremation ceremony, we all stood with hands over hearts singing "You Got a Friend in Me" until at last the tiny shrouded body flew up in embers to light up the night sky. So sad!


So that's all of the watercolors I wanted to share. I'll start post a few oil painting I also completed on our trip, so stay tuned as we Head on Down the Highway of life. 

Thanks for viewing.
—nancy


To see more of my art click Online Gallery  Email  • Website  •  Graphic Design Studio • Fine Art America



Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Watercolor Sketches from Montana

5x7" "Flying the Stillwater"
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7x5" "Wood Ranch, Nye I"
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7x5" "Wood Ranch, Nye II
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7x5" "Wood Ranch, Nye III"
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Heading back on down the highway once again...we were blessed to have spent some time in Montana this month on my sister and brother-in-law's glorious property. These watercolor sketches are some of the views from their lovely home which nestles on a hill along the Stillwater River in Nye, Montana.

I hadn't painted with watercolor in years, but loved the easy setup and no-fuss cleanup. I also love the looseness and transparency this medium provides.

I have a few more sketches from our next stop in Colorado which I'll post tomorrow.

Thanks for following my journey.
—nancy



To see more of my art click Online Gallery  Email  • Website  •  Graphic Design Studio • Fine Art America


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Billie in the Bluebonnets

"Billie", Oil on gessobord, 9x12"
Not for Sale
"Sometimes,  when I see my granddaughters make small discoveries of their own, I wish I were  a child."  —Dr. Seuss

This portrait was painted for a dear friend of her beautiful granddaughter, Billie, posed in one of the many fields of bluebonnets here in East Texas every spring.

I haven't painted much over the past year or so. I tend to beat myself up for not picking up my brushes, but have come to accept the fact that there really is a time and a season for everything. Nothing stays the same, things come and go at certain unforeseen periods of our lives and we are powerless to try and resist.

I feel my soul has been wondering in a dry desert...which is not a bad thing. I recognized the need for desert time and gave myself permission to honor that space. I believe this has been a period of gestation and rebirth. I am hopeful this is the budding of a new spring with renewed energy, creativity and discovery. The best is yet to be!

Thank you for viewing.
-nancy



To see more of my art click here, or one one of these additional links: Online Gallery  Email  • Website  •  Graphic Design Studio • Saatchi Gallery • Fine Art America


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Sacred Spaces

"Sacred Spaces", 9x12". oil on gallery wrap canvas

CLICK TO PURCHASE 
"A painter shows me what he painted, 
but an artist shows me why she painted."
Clint Watson

Here is a little slice of sacred space in our home. What's sacred about it? It's right smack dab at the heart of our home, and the first thing to grab your eye as you enter the front door. It's a part of our living space full of chairs and couches where family and friends gather to share.

Our most recent stray, sits perched atop my grandmother's wooden trunk ready to pounce on our unsuspecting chihuahua. We have used this trunk for years to store childhood Halloween costumes, grandma's once beautiful silk gown, boa and lacy robe, dance recital costumes, pom-poms and cheerleading uniforms, pirate swords, ruby slippers, princess crowns and fairy wings. It's a treasure chest sure to produce screams of delight and excitement for bored grandchildren on rainy days. 

Nothing in our small 70s home matches, nor is it fancy, or expensive, but rather an eclectic collection of hand-me-downs from parents and grandparents. Pieces of furniture wounded over the many years with scars, scratches and nicks, yet somehow healed and made whole by the memories they bear. 

I loved painting the natural light—creeping in like fog through the north facing paned windows of the french door—silently sweeping across oak floors buffed in chalky reflections of cool morning light. 

The key role here is played by the little table lamp casting rays of luminous warm light from the focal point of the painting; a beacon to all who stop by for a visit, perhaps to share in a glass of wine, and bask in the rich abundance of our humble abode. 

Thanks for stopping by,
nancy

To see more of my art click here, or one one of these additional links: Online Gallery  Email  • Website  •  Graphic Design Studio • Saatchi Gallery • Fine Art America



Monday, July 17, 2017

Martha and Mary

"Martha and Mary"
12x9" Oil on gallery wrap canvas
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"There is something joyous in the elegies
Of birds. They seem 
Caught up in a formal delight,
Though the mourning dove whistles of despair."
—Galway Kinnell 

Once again I find myself drawn to the stillness of early morning light. Here the breaking sun illuminates two graceful swans musing on a glassy sheet of shallow water. 

Busy Martha on the right, fluffing a magnificent spread of feathers, rustles about in self-imposed tasks of the new day. Scanning the horizon is she preparing to take flight over the expanse of inland waterways in search of a nesting site? Or, perhaps she's heading off to explore muddy marshes for juicer roots and tubers, or to scavenge for greener grasses and plump morsels of grain from fields nearby?

Meanwhile, juxtaposed sits humble Mary. She floats effortlessly, suspended without a ruffle unassumingly in the shadow of Martha's wings. Caught in motionless wonder and total surrender to the fullness of trust and abandonment, she pauses with eyes closed, absorbed into the silence where in praise she gives thanks for another day. 

To me, painting is a delicate balance between both the seeing and the doing, not remaining in either place too long is paramount. Moving back and forth between the mystery of a subject and the active steps of mixing paint and placing the spots of shape and color—I not only see, but also sense and feel—keeps it real. Without the Mary, the Martha would be lifeless. 

Thanks for reflecting,
—nancy


To see more of my art click here, or one one of these additional links: Online Gallery  Email  • Website  •  Graphic Design Studio • Saatchi Gallery • Fine Art America







Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Just a Chair on a Porch

"Just a Chair on a Porch"
14x11" Oil on 1.5" gallery wrap canvas

"The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity." —Walt Whitman

Stripped down to the barest necessities for guaranteed joy and contentment, give me a front porch with a chair to sit in silence and greet a neighborly morning knocking at my door. 

Coffee cupped in hand...sliver of melting moon fading...first chirps of the winged, chanting praise...cool stir of wind caressing cheeks...last stand of shrinking shadow...sunburst on the horizon, duck the first warm hurls of orange and gold rays. Morning has broken!


Photographers: Moira Fitzgerald & Yann Meersseman

The reference shown for my painting was another amazing image found on Vintage Colors blog. I was totally swept into the quiet stillness captured by the simplicity of the morning scene. However, as you can see, I went to town taking huge liberties with pumped up colors and values pulled from my imagination to match the intensity of the light and serenity that infused me. 

In this latest piece, I decided to challenge myself by taking a different approach. I usually try to match the same colors and values to what I see, but this time my goal was to try punching up the warmth and coolness of the light and hues for added mood and mystery. I have been working on this one for some time and hit many dead ends along the way. I had to wipe my canvas off many times and start over until I began seeing on my canvas what I was feeling about the image, rather than what I was simply seeing. 

For me painting is a war, a battle of push and pull, trial and error to the very end. I now stand with white flag in hand...a truce declared. I am at peace...and just wish I could plop into that inviting chair. 

Thanks for the visit,
—nancy



To see more of my art click here, or one one of these additional links: Online Gallery  Email  • Website  •  Graphic Design Studio • Saatchi Gallery • Fine Art America


Friday, May 12, 2017

A Portrait of La La's Garden

"A Portrait of La La's Garden"
16x12"
oil on 1.5" gallery wrap canvas
"Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it. Rumi

This latest painting is of a very special garden where I visited last summer. I was commissioned by my friend, Angela, to paint a spot in her mother, La La's, garden hugged in on all sides by adobe walls nestled into high desert hills overlooking the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico. It's here where homes magically and seamlessly blend into the rough dry, rocky backdrop like chameleons. 

Finding a scene to paint inside this hidden garden was hardly a problem as I meandering through lush gardens filled ever so delicately with a vast assortment of tall slender grasses, plants, and flowers, tucked in among shimmering aspens, pools and fountains of trickling water and rocks. Every element of the design was woven together into a patchwork of hue and texture that sparkled with light playing into shadow. 

I spent a good deal of time taking photos at different locations and times of day for reference, but finally narrowed my selection to this enchanted, mid-morning scene. The air was dry and cool with the promise of a bright sunny day as billowy white clouds churned up on the horizon. What finally won me over to this image was the beautiful path covered in soft dappled light that lured my eye through cool deep viridian shadows and then splashed onto the brilliant lime green walkway leading to the birdbath perched in full light of day. 

It was obvious La La's garden had been nurtured and developed over many years of hard work and tender loving care. I understood immediately why Angela loved this meticulously manicured paradise. This, the garden she photographed so frequently, had now become her garden. As Alice Walker said so perfectly, "In search of my mother's garden, I found my own."

Happy Mother's Day!

—nancy 

To see more of my art click here, or one one of these additional links: Online Gallery  Email  • Website  •  Graphic Design Studio • Saatchi Gallery • Fine Art America