Where did 2016 go?

It is already mid-April of 2017.  Wow, where did the time go?  2016 went by in a blink and yet so much happened.  I started teaching watercolor classes at the Huntington Beach Art Center, tore a tendon off my painting shoulder, had two new grand children, and attended three workshops including a workshop in North Carolina from the best of the best Mr. Frank Webb.  It was all amazing.

I started teaching at the HB Art Center again in March.  I am grateful to my students because they are interested, involved, and willing to try new things.  Some of our city’s best artists are in this class.  I am honored and having a blast because of them.  You are an inspiration.

In May I will attend the Henry Fukahara Memorial Workshop.  It is my most spiritual workshop, hands down.  The internment camp “Manzanar” is located near Lonepine, CA, where the workshop is held each year.  For Henry, a Japanese American, this was a spiritual spot as it is for many of our Japanese Americans citizens.  Their energy remains at this site.  I am moved each time I am there.  I think this is the 20th year for this workshop. How lucky to be able to paint here each year.

In September I will be teaching a 4 week class at the HB Art Center.  The focus will be lessons that I learned from 4 of my most influential teachers.  I can never copy their style but I can try and get their story out there.  They all deserve that.

In October, I will be attending and teaching one day at the 2nd Annual Chris Van Winkle Memorial Workshop in Morro Bay, CA.  Chris passed away in January, 2016.  I took Chris’ workshop 4-5 years in a row.  I learned so many lessons from him.  How to use complimentary colors, graying edges, calligraphic strokes and how to use washes.  Chris was a master watercolor painter and a master teacher.  He could be stern and serious at times but was a crackup and a ham whenever possible.  I thought he was fun.  I am so sorry he is gone but honored to have been asked to teach a day at this workshop.  His wife Carolyn and son Gary are gracious with their time and continued interest in watercolor.  He would have been proud of them.

Also, in the second week in October, I will be teaching 6 days in Yosemite National Park.  All are welcome, but space is limited.  Each day you walk to a nearby site and paint while sitting in the best park ever.  Every way you turn you see majestic views.  You learn some basic watercolor techniques and then you get started.  You are encouraged to be aware of your environment, the sites, sounds, smells, activity, to be in the moment.  All of these things translate to your painting and your experience.  It is so much fun.  I am volunteering my time for the Yosemite Conservancy.  Their art program is one of the best deals in the park.  If you are interested you can pre-register online.  Look at the Yosemite website for info. about the class and the supplies you will need.  I look forward to meeting you.

Thank you for looking at my website.  Thank you for your support of me and your support of the arts.


In Tribute:  My wonderful and honorable mentor, Mr Tom Fong, passed away this year.  I still feel that loss.  He gave me more tips than anyone, on things that mattered.  He related them to watercolor but somehow they also related to life.  He didn’t even know how much he did for me.  I will always be thankful for him.  Tom Fong -“No Rules”.


2015, An Exciting Year, I Became a True Artist

This is the year I believe to be my breakout year. This is the year I am becoming a true artist. I am continuing to develop my own, unique style which I call my Play Drawing paintings. “Play Drawings”, a phrase I coined to describe my work, are like doodles where my imagination can run free. I imagine I am actually in the drawing and I can add things that I see with my mind’s eye not a camera’s eye. I have total freedom of design where buildings can be skewed, people can be a myriad of colors, birds can fly upside down, and the scale is however big or small as I imagine it to be. It is a place where I can mentally escape, it is a happy place and it is all mine.

I initially design my drawings using my mental visions and sketchy doodles incorporating the principles of design (movement, focal point, rhythm, dominance, repetition, variation, balance, harmony, overlap and unity). I then transfer the design onto watercolor paper. Using the basic visual elements of design (line, value, color, shape, form, pattern, texture and counter change) I paint my drawings. The drawing of the idea is from the gut where as the painting itself is a reflection of the years of learning how to apply the watercolor paint using the above elements. The two work hand in hand to create something unique.

My Play Drawings are a narrative of an experience from a place that I have mentally or physically visited. I just go into play, make-believe mode and tell a story from the impressions I have of that place. I am in tune to my mental and physical surroundings, the smells, the sounds, the colors, the activities, the way I feel at that moment. At some point I can enter my imaginary place and it all comes together.

I taught plein air painting for a week in September for the Yosemite Conservancy in Yosemite National Park. In this workshop, I tried to convey the importance of not only looking at your surroundings but also feeling your surroundings. I think this is the key to a personal painting experience where the painting becomes uniquely yours and you too can become a true artist.

This year, I have had paintings accepted into California Watercolor Association, Watercolor West, National Watercolor Society, Orange County Creatives Art Gallery and the Orange County Fair. I have also won awards from the Huntington Beach Art League.  Oct 1, 2015 I found out that I was awarded Signature Member status for National Watercolor Society.  A true honor, indeed.

One of the biggest things to happen to me this year is being nominated and accepted for the article “Ones to Watch” in Watercolor Artist Magazine. The edition will come out in mid October. This is an unbelievably exciting and humbling experience. Thanks to my mentor and friend Mr Tom Fong for nominating me for this great honor. See the following link for more info about the article. http://www.artistsnetwork.com/category/art-blogs/watercolor-artist-blog    It is really cool!

Doodles and Creativity

2014 brought with it a whole new style and a burst of creativity that I didn’t expect. I doodle all the time and have every since I was a child.  Doodling is fun for me, it is like entering a world of make believe. I call it play drawing.

In my doodles, it never matters if one sees all of the sides or angles of a single subject even if that is not what one sees in real life. The perspective may be off and the plants and shapes are simple and stylistic.  There are large simple shapes and at the same time details of what is happening in some small area of the scene.  When I doodle, I imagine I am walking through an area and I draw what I see in my mind’s eye.

In my paintings up until this time, I have designed fairly realistically only stepping out of the box when it came to color.  I was concentrating more on my painting technique than design opportunities.  Today I am painting like I doodle, everything coming out of my own creative world. I find it to be a place of familiarity and comfort. It is very exciting to be doing something different and something that is originally mine.

You may notice this change in my style. As you browse my work, I hope you will allow yourself to enter my world. It is colorful, playful and a little out there. My wish is that you enjoy looking at it as much as I enjoy creating it.

Thank you so much for visiting my site.


Nancy’s Watercolors

When I was four years old I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. My answer was, “I want to be a painter”. As a child I drew and painted constantly. After high school, my dream was interrupted by college, a family and a career. I never fretted because I knew that it was my destiny to become a painter.

In the Fall of 2008 my life’s dream began again. Upon retiring as a Landscape Architect, I decided to return to college to take watercolor classes and the obsessive passion for watercolor painting began. This passion is currently growing at an exponential rate.

My subjects are varied. I paint portraits, landscapes, flowers, abstract, birds and dogs. I follow the whims of my inspiration and the subject matter emerges. Birds and flowers are great because they lend themselves to creative whims and vivid hues.

I like using quinacridone paints because of their bright pigments and transparent qualities. The way that watercolor paints mingle on the paper is exciting to me and I enjoy finding solutions to the challenges that this medium brings.

I have been taught that paintings which are representational are about the subject matter and paintings that are abstract are about the medium on the surface of the paper. I find that I am a true mix of these two genres. I love how the paint moves and the affects you can get on the paper’s surface. I apply that to representational paintings achieving a result in which the subject matter’s energy dances on the paper’s surface. It always amazes me.

I try to paint daily and I am still learning from some of the best teachers in my discipline. I am experimenting with combining watercolor with various media and painting with more spontaneity. I find that experimentation expands my creative spirit, plus it is fun. At the end of the day though, transparent watercolor remains my passion.

Watercolor West 2012 (International show) is the first major show to which I submitted work. My work was juried in on my first attempt. 10 paintings have been juried into the Orange County Fair in the past four years and several have received recognition. I have received First Place through Honorable Mention at Huntington Beach Art League shows over the past 5 years. My work also won first place in a contest where two of my paintings were published in a 2013 calendar. One was on the cover and was “January”. The other was printed onto the front of the mailing envelope which held the calendar.

I am just embarking on fulfilling a life’s dream.

Thank you everyone for your interest in me and your support of the arts.

Thank you for visiting my painting photo gallery.