Growing up, my father was a great teacher. He showed me how to use tools and make all kinds of things with all kinds of material. I spent much of my childhood with him in his workshop while my friends and sisters played with dolls. Early on, my parents created a special space in a large closet in our house just for my art. That is what I have always liked to do—create art. Nature, God's creation especially intrigued me. My father seemed to understand and would often stop to look at things I commented about.
Also, my kindergarten teacher often had me bring my creations to show the principal and my primary school art teachers told my parents that I should be signed up at the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA).
I was privileged to study at the DIA every week from fifth grade though my Senior year in high school. There I studied paintings, copied them and listened to wonderful instruction. It was there I found my favorite artist: Carravagio!
During this time, I was accepted at Cass Technical High School where I majored in art in a specialized Art curriculum. After graduation, I attended Wayne State University and then became an Art teacher. As I look back on this wonderful training, I’ve continued to practice and hone my skills.
Perhaps it was luck. There are many wonderful artists today but over the years I have been accepted into almost every show I have entered and have received many honors.
My first experience with an art show was when my husband secretly entered two paintings of mine in an international show sponsored by Ford Motor Company. Both were accepted and I received a second prize.
My bent after college was clearly the "Abstract Expressionist” movement. Yet I always remembered Carravagio! So when I received an opportunity to take a trip to Italy to study under renowned artists Jack Beal, Sondra Freckleton, Fred Wessell and Bill Patterson in 1997, I was thrilled and my husband was excited for me and encouraged me to go. It was there I rediscovered my love for Realism.
One morning in Asissi, when I went down for an early breakfast, the only other person there was Jack Beal. He asked me to join him. As we talked about the trip, he asked me what I was going to do about my art. After I responded that I would like to get my MFA, his reply was, “Young lady, you don't need that. Just keep painting!" I was so encouraged! And that's what I have done!
So why do I paint? Is this God given-ability just for Nancy to be honored? No, I believe it is for God glory!
May the purpose of my life always be for Him. May those who see my work see the truths of God in it!
All my work hints at stories from Scripture and contain a scarlet thread.
Among Nancy's many accomplishments are a couple that she is particularly fond of...
- 1st prize for a painting in the 2020 'Cowgirl Up' show at Desert Caballeros Western Museum - Wickenburg, AZ
- 1st prize in the "All Arizona" Carefree / Cave Creek Art and Film Festival - 2007
- Selected as Artist in Residence for the summer at Mammoth Cave National Park - 1997
- Cover artist for "Hidden In The Hills Art Show" catalog - 2006
Some of Nancy's Favorite Pieces
"My art allows me to create a visual music using patterns, rhythms, harmony, balance, and all the elements and principles of design. I make visual statements, speaking thoughts and feelings by using realism as my starting point.
To begin a painting I careful draw and paint common objects, people , and/or environments that are selectively placed on the two dimensional surface. I then push, pull, and manipulate the painted surface much like a musician tries different keys and volumes to feel their sounds. By using the visual tools of color, value, direction, size, etc. I create a harmony that speaks to me beyond what words or music can say.
My art speaks thoughts about life and eternity that some people may hear while others may not. In every piece of my art I try to create a beautiful statement of balance and harmony beyond the message. In this way I draw the viewer in to hear the message. Also, I love to create a beautiful surface in a finished painting."
- Nancy Michaelson