Painting News

"My history of cartooning has come in handy with recent paintings that required strong gestures. I either have to "nail" the pose or invent it. Fun to do it fast.

See more Alla Prima work

Commission News

Notice the familiar painting of mine of the woman in fur coat with her chin resting in her palm? A client bought it and had me add her dog Daisy to the narrative. Fun and collaborative client.

Something lovely shifts in your heart when you do a commission. I am grateful for this work and it's effect on my soul"


Last year was a big year for me. Two big opportunities.

First was an email from an old client who had moved from Georgia Tech to Penn St. Paul was the new Peter and Angela Dal Pezzo Department Head for the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. " Are you still in business?" he asked. My reply was an eager "positively!"

He commissioned 2 large paintings of the two couples. I was beside myself with joy as this is your dream client who pretty much lets you "have your head". There was one wrinkle and that was both couples were inaccessible to me. The reference photos were a challenge. They were either lifeless studio portraits, or with sunglasses or from different angles. Paul gave me a sense of their character as did all the photos and Google. I set to work. I altered the clothes, invented the background the and the poses. They took a long time and were very satisfying now hanging in the new Engineering Building.

The second boon came while I was doing a plein air painting demo. I was approached by a quiet woman clutching a photo album. "I was wondering if you'd be interested in painting any of these family photos." This was a family who had a photographer/archivist in every generation. They had photos going back to the thirties. This was a handsome family whoselake house became the setting for summer reunions and these were fabulous photos! Helen commissioned 3 paintings and bought several more. This too was a dream client. A scientist, she would measure a nose in the photograph against the nose in the painting and then photoshop the change request. She was always right.

Click here to view these paintings...



Workshop News

My reentry into teaching has been all pleasure for me and I think for my students as well. I did a 6 week session at The Art School of Sandy Springs on portrait painting. My initial feeling of uncertainty was quickly swept away by eager and hopeful painters. I felt my ego moving, from the need to declare all my learning sources, to a remixed fountain of what I now know. It was exhilarating.

Then was my workshop at The Quinlan Art Center of "Painted Memories". Each student set up a still life of objects that had meaning to them like Mom's ice skates and Dad's hockey glove. The challenge was to allow rendering and composition to trump sentimentality (a black abyss, in my opinion). All was a success and I will continue my weekly class and do another workshop in March.


Here’s a bit of news:  I have been encouraged to teach again. 


I have been away from it for some time but did a workshop for the artists in my Episcopal Diocese.  I had forgotten the fun of it.  All of the work of the planning, arranging, set up and schlepping goes on the front end.  That all is fraught with decisions and full of angst. I’ve just come from 3 wonderful days painting with David Shevlino.  He made himself vulnerable to us by often answering “hmmmm.  I wonder why I do that?” or “I don’t always do it the same”.  It was very liberating for me and kind of him to let us see his wheels turning.  So I will do a workshop at Quinlan and a weekly class at the Art School of Sandy Springs.  I will weather on through my own elastic method of painting giving permission to painters to receive the teachings but settle on their own (as David called it) “quirky methods.” 
I do have something to teach and nothing is more fun than passing that along to another eager beaver.



Quinlan Chooses Confident Graduate to 'brand' show

logoquinlanThere is no extent I won’t go to please a client who is creating an heirloom from an old Brownie Hawkeye snapshot. I could not get it right and I was tormenting myself. My daughter lowered her voice and said “Mom, begin another” and I was free. I asserted myself upon the new canvas and then finished both offering the client a choice. Then “ta-da”, sold the other.

Quinlan Art Center who hosted my solo exhibition chose this image as their brand FOREVER for this competition. I love those people. They are second next to parents who brag about you.

Quinlan Arts Center Website


New from Nancy


There are three reasons for my borrowing a composition of Frank Cowper’s.

I have always been told that a painting should not be symmetrical and nothing put dead-center.
I have also been told that there are no hard-and-fast rules.

I could not put away, or throw out, the leftover Christmas cards that we sent maybe 12 years ago.  They showed the detail of Cowper’s larger painting, Our Lady of the Fruit of the Earth.  The composition was riveting.  It remains tacked on my bulletin board.


In-your-face symmetry:

two white rectangle verticals
one white horizontal rectangle between the verticals
one small white rectangle/square above that and directly in the middle!
As if we might miss the point, the astonishing bold red arrow that leads us to the only horizontal middle value lying in the young mother’s lap—the infant Jesus.

The composition is totally symmetrical with the exception of the two very small oblique marks that make up the tail of her shoulder wrap.

My second reason for choosing an image of the young Mary with the infant Jesus is that the first image of her holding her son foretells the last time he will be laid in the lap of His mother:  thus, “Mary Ponders These Things in Her Heart.”

My third reason is emotional.  The father sees the man in his grown son.  A mother sees her little boy.

Liberties taken with Cowper’s painting:

I “fattened-up” Jesus
gave expression to Mary
and used thick paint and a palette knife to excite the eye.