Nancy Gregg Fine Artwww.ArtPal.com/NancyGregg
For Nancy, making something of her natural gifts has meant the pursuit of a variety of art forms over the years, but now that she has retired from a lifetime of teaching, she is devoting herself full time to her early love—painting.
Nancy’s subject matter ranges from landscapes to florals to figures and animals, but all are imbued with a contemporary sense of vibrant, glowing color. Of course, all of the artistic elements play a role in her paintings, but the most important are color and light, which is why she naturally gravitated to an impressionistic style.
Yet, Nancy’s techniques are thoroughly modern and quite unusual. She typically paints with either a palette knife or her fingers, reserving the use of brushes for her signature only when absolutely necessary. Playing on the same optical effect of the original impressionists—the way our eyes visually blend distinct colors when seen at a distance, yet enjoy the mosaic of colors when seen up close—Nancy tends to apply notes of pure color, sometimes straight from the tube. She often applies her paints in layers, allowing each layer to dry in order to prevent the colors from mixing with additional layers of fresh paint, which can dull the vivid hues if not handled carefully. Extensive color tests performed before she starts each painting allow her to determine how the colors are going to “get along.”
Nancy can still remember the moment she realized the power of color. She was about four years old, lying on the floor, coloring with crayons, and she mixed turquoise and pink. She was so elated at the effect she’d discovered that she ran to show her drawing to her grandmother. Nancy’s parents filled their home with reproductions of fine art, and many others in her life encouraged the young girl’s growing interest in painting and drawing, especially her high school art teacher, Andre Krupe, who taught students to work in every medium and style.
Somewhere along the line, however, music also captured Nancy’s heart, and she “threw her heart and soul into it.” She became an instrumental music teacher in the public school system. During her second year of teaching, she also earned certification to teach computer courses, and since relatively few teachers had this ability, Nancy was often called upon to teach these courses. She tried to make the best of it, but she missed teaching music so terribly that she couldn’t even listen to it. During these periods, she turned to art as a creative outlet.
Hungry to explore all that art had to offer, Nancy experimented with many different media, devoured all the art books she could find, and practiced various techniques and styles of painting over the years. She was serious about educating herself in art since she could picture a second career as an artist after retiring from teaching. During this process, she came across books by Lois Griffel and Susan Sarback, which sparked something in her. A fortuitous meeting with an artist named Kevin Liang at a local art show inspired her to delve even deeper into her passion for color. Through a number of art workshops with the teachers and guides she “had wished for,” Nancy discovered what’s known as the Cape Cod School of (impressionist) Art, which gave her the foundation in color theory she still uses today. Further exploration brought her to the artwork of finger painter Iris Scott and to the workshop of Kimberly Adams.
In recent years, Nancy has set an intriguing and rewarding challenge for herself: to combine her two loves—the traditional techniques and four-step process of the Cape Cod School and the newer finger painting techniques—into a style that is uniquely her own. She adds, “Usually, my smaller pieces are done with a knife and the Cape Cod method, and my larger works are finger paintings. I still use layers in my finger paintings, but ultimately, I’m not sure where I’ll end up. With each painting, I’m learning new things and trying new techniques.”
On the Water