Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Anatomy of a Painting 101

It's been a long time since I blogged.  Life got in the way for about seven months last year so I spent this fall catching up with myself again.  Instead, I've used more immediate ways of communication, fbk live and videos to bring you along on my journeys and give glimpses of my process.  I've spread my wings even more on Instagram.  I love to incorporate my art  digitally and infuse it with words that speak to me.  But those platforms don't always illustrate my artistic uncertainties and decision-making midstream.  I've picked a new painting to talk about it, but first a little backstory. 

Thanks to Jodi Ohl's Zenpainting class that I treated myself to this fall, I've really enjoyed the exposure to working with a predominantly neutral palette.  It is alternately challenging and frustrating because you don't have color to set your tone or mood. These are two of my first   

attempts.  The one on the left was made up of four 6" square panels and is all graphite and neutral Golden High Flows.  The one on the right used the same palette but added Titan Buff.  I really enjoyed exploring Jodi's abstract style, but mine kept peeking through and luckily she is very accepting of my walking off the regular path.  I worked in color next and loved that, too (not included here), and then heading back into my interest in high contrast black and saw how it meshed with more neutrals and bronze. 

My own teaching deadlines hit along with the holidays so I didn't return to painting in mid-January. My biggest mistake was not taking photos of this process because it was wild and woolly just hours into it.  I had started with a cruciform composition without any representational intent in my mind, but midway through I saw the iris in front of me.  The rest took care of itself.  (In fact, I'll show the painting both ways so you know I am not pulling your leg.)

Cruciform skewed left.
Last week I continued my explorations and boldly committed to a large arount of black very early.  That go-getter posturing is both a positive and a negative.  On the positive side, it helps you commit in a direction, but on the negative side, that commitment can limit other choices you'd like to make. Here you see in the left picture, I've broken up the gessobord into two parts and I do have a vertical division as well.  That quickly goes by the wayside in picture two.  Here, also, I have committed to the bold, black statement.  Whatever I do now has to balance out that black so I chose to dominate the white background with the palest of neutral florals.  So you ask, where did those marbles or bubbles or pea pod groupings come from?  I don't have a clue.  Well, I drew them.  How did they relate?  They didn't, but I kept leaving them, hoping I would figure out a way to make it work.  Well, the third picture (ignore the cast from the dreary day) Gessobord.  It is the bomb.   No paint except the Golden Carbon Black High Flow.
shows my solution along with the background work I did up top.  I took as much of the circular objects out as I could with a baby wipe.  Luckily the background at this stage was all stabilo and graphite so leftover staining was minimal. 

 Below, I began reworking the center section that I had decimated.  The center became a populated "zebra" area to support the black and break up the areas that showed the remnants of the removal.  Larger flowers were added to link the original smaller flowers to the larger ones near the top.  Areas were darkened with thin layers of graphite and the beginnings of heavily watered down neutral paint.  The high water content allows for a painterly shading that, when dry, works perfectly for this painting.  I drew branch lines to support the original lines that divided out the blackened background areas, plus they broke up the zebra sections.  White was also added to make the centers pop and in places on the petals. 

Pitt pen was added to define the flowers and areas of black were cleaned up and used to further separate the flowers where needed. 

So midstream this painting was going to have one flower tinted with a quote (I'm saving for another piece so mum's the word on it).  I auditioned (with my sister's guidance) both text and tint and rejected it.  It's strong enough to stand on it's own in person.  Who knows what various computer imaging will do to it.  My point is..... you never know where art will end up.  Be loose enough and brave enough to change midstream if you need to.  You never know where it will end up if you do, but each time you are brave, you'll get more confidence to do it again.  

What's up next for me?????  Well, Artiscape for starters in April.  I have three classes on tap there.  I'm really excited for them and to return there.  It's a fab event.  I'll be at Stampaway in August as well with two classes.  Those haven't been published yet.  Who knows what else!!!! To be decided........  Follow me on IG and Facebook at Nancy Curry Art or if you like poodles, find me also on fbk here.  As always, my regular site has links to it all.  PLAY. ALL. THE. TIME. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

When it Rains it Pours

My life always seems to have ebbs and flows in all areas.  They are exciting and exhausting all at the same time, but I wouldn't change a thing.  This month so far it's been flow, flow, flow.

I am pleased to be the guest artist today on the StencilGirl Talk blog.  The beauty shot of the project is to the left,  and I must say I was really pleased with changing up my methodology.  The handful of people that have been recipients of them have had layered resist but this time I used a Gel Press plate and I'm in love with the crisp color mix I got.  Below, you will see a couple I've done before.  If anyone has one they want to upload to the comments here or on the Facebook post, I'd love to see it again. 

My tumbler circa 2007
Sam's tumbler circa 2012

So this week also brought my artist story to light.  Most of you that know me know that I tell it like it is and my post was very authentic on where I've been and why I still divide my time like I do.  You can find that blog entry on the Artists Tell Their Stories blog here.  I love this blog because  it showcases the essence of who the artist is whether they are a musician, artist, photographer etc. I've enjoyed getting inside the heads of creatives that amaze me.  If you want to know when the next essay is up, you can subscribe on the blog or like the corresponding Facebook page and it should show in your feed. 

As teased on Facebook ( and reteased now), I've had prints made of five of my favorite paintings and as soon as I am able to figure out packaging in the next couple of weeks, they'll go live.  Meanwhile, I added quite a few contemporary wall/table art pieces to my Etsy

And finally, I am announcing classes at a new venue for me.  I'll be at Palette & Paper in Indianapolis on September 23-24.  I fell in love with the delightful owner, Mare, the store itself, and fab detached classroom when I visited in April and am tickled that they'd like me to come and premier some classes.  Come and see me at Stampaway in August or come and see me there in September!!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Kindness, the Zombie Apocalypse, and Creative Rejuvenation

If you're here, I'm assuming the blog title either amused, intrigued, or confused you.  I'll address all of three elements during the course of my story.  But a little catch up is in order, first.  My last blog entry was at the beginning of the year and focused on alignment.  (***Scroll back one entry and see the blueness of my watermedia piece featuring it.  Those that have taken my classes should note it is blue and may remember my story of FW Northlight making me take out the preponderance of green artwork for my book and replacing it with blue.) For me,  alignment is something you can ruminate on, weave throughout the cloud calendar in your head (yes, we've all have cloud calendars before they were popular tech storage) before trying to apply it in life, but I've found that sometimes life has a way of being rewoven without your approval or support.  Realignment can just happen and it can be in a quiet way that you don't notice (for me that's how it started), smacked in the head so that it's immediate and decisive, or opportunities that tantalize and band together resulting in different choices. All of those have happened.  What I am seeing during this realignment is that certain choices have popped out with that, "Look at me! Pick me" while jumping up and down in my mind.  So there we are with that wordy update. 

Art for Artiscape 2016
So, on my way to realignment I had been asked (many times) to submit classes to Artiscape, a gathering in Dublin, Ohio, put together by Lisa Ohmer, owner of European Papers.  Lisa and I have traveled in the same circles for almost twenty years so I was tickled when she contacted me in the fall about the event and it worked in my schedule for the first time.  Three classes were submitted and chosen and I decided to participate in the Artist's Marketplace. In between then and now came the holidays, the advent of diabetes changes, our trip to New Zealand, an unexpected surgery (the second in seven months) with complicationsfor Sam, and regular life, so I while I was still happy to be going, it ended up being stressful to pull it together.  Still, I create well under pressure and made it all happen, but the tank was a little empty when I arrived. 

H E R E ' S  T H E  M A G I C:

My classes had great numbers, were well-received, and went off without a hitch.  But that's not the magic.  I witnessed magic in my classes listening to table interactions as students learned new techniques, support each other's explorations, and  became excited by  color and composition choices.  Classes can quickly become "look at me and what I've done" rather than enjoyment in the process and what's going on around you, but these classes buzzed with camaraderie from the get go.  Some of those budding relationships existed from prior years or from friends taking classes together, but most of what I witnessed was happenstance or kismet.  Confidence was gained by all and laughter was heard throughout.  The magic was the lessening of ego and the conscious choice to be kind and share the journey together. Kindness produces a profound energy burst and heart swelling unequaled by any essential oil I have and I felt it towards others and towards me the four days I was there.  I was humbled by it all and that's no small feat. It was infectious and the creativity flowed because of it.  While their creativity flowed, mine was rejuvenated.  I have not taught since the fall and didn't really notice how much I had missed being in the classroom.  Luckily, I have more teaching on the horizon here in St. Louis and elsewhere already planned and several new opportunities possibly coming my way in summer and fall.  

The zombie apocalypse part of the title refers to comments I made all weekend long in classes and while selling my art of Sunday.  It started when students would ask for additional supplies, but were worried I wouldn't have enough myself.  Yes, I am prepared for the eventuality of an epic zombie apocalypse-totally prepared with enough media, substrates, doo dads, etc. that while the world is plummeting to it's lowest point ever, I will be making art.  I am not alone.  I met some kindred spirits throughout the weekend.  Oh, and I will have essential oils to last me during the dark time.  Food and water?  I haven't begun to plan for those. Priorities.

So, to recap:  the kindness of all amazed me and I was especially happy to meet some art peers that I haven't met and rekindle friendships with those I've been on a parallel course with for almost twenty years.  If you need art supplies during the #ZA (everything has hashtags these days), contact me.  I'll have them.  And finally, I 'm ready for my next art adventure in the studio.  That is, once I unpack from last week.  

Art for Artiscape 2016

Places where you can find me:

website:     nancycurry.com
facebook:  Nancy Sanderson Curry and Nancy Curry Art
Instagram:  nancycurryart
Etsy:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/NancyCurryArt

Wednesday, January 06, 2016


I am not a resolution-maker or keeper, but I am a wordsmith.  I love words and quotes and trying to unravel the thoughts behind them.  Hence, the need for my own line of quotes and words for my art.  Also, my new obsesssion for posting my favorite quotes with my art or photography on social media.  My apologies if you get tired of it.  Most are universal, though, so hopefully you take a nugget or two away from them.

A few years ago, the online community was buzzing with those who picked their word for the year.  Most have them ready for January 1, but I always lag into that first week. Last year was an unusual year for me in that I was ready on the first with LEAP.  I think I was true to that word throughout the year.  From my first juried show in November to our church commitment to flying off to immerse in the doTERRA convention and finally an overhaul of my wellness practices, I took risks and accepted change as gracefully as I could. However, as my opportunities came to fruition (some taking on a life of their own), I realized that I need boundaries and limits within these choices. So, the new word for the year is:

Yes, I meant that to smack everyone in the face because I am probably not the only one who is trying to balance out various parts of our lives.  I am seeking to realign a plethora of parts of my life:  what I love to do, what I have time for, what relationships do I want to nurture daily (and those that are budding), my relationship with God and what that means in the whole equation, and time to dig deeper into who I am underneath all those protective layers.  That's a tall order, but I am taking this year to make some changes. I am couching it to my mind as me going towards something, rather than going away from what has been.  We'll see how that goes.

My need for alignment has been a product of some of the studies I have been invited into and have accepted in the past year.  From Frances Chan to Rob Bell, I've been smacked over and over with spiritually based topics that have resonated with me.  From Chan's Crazy Love to Andy Stanley's "Time of Your Life" series, they have all helped me realize that trying to do it all isn't what is making me happy.  Even last night, I was smacked again while participating  in a new study led by Christine Caine. The Propel Women Conversation Series (first night only so I am not too deep in yet) really spoke to me about balancing.  Caine's premise is that you shouldn't be obsessed with balancing everything at once. Your life will naturally flow so that some aspects will need to be cradled and nurtured (take more time) and others will need to become secondary.  That doesn't mean languishing off in a corner, just that they won't have center stage.  I am hoping that the rest of the series is just as impactful.  The quote from below came through this week:

I think this year is an answering year.

You'll still see art from me and I'll still muse about oils.  They are a large part of my wellness practice-physically and emotionally.  And, I'll still make you laugh!

H   A  P  P   Y     N   E   W      Y   E    A    R  !!!!

Monday, November 16, 2015


I finished these pieces a few minutes ago for a show this weekend.  Mélange was the perfect word for them since I have quite a mix of thoughts going through my head day after day.  It was also the perfect word since it's derivation is French.  I am so full of sadness over what is going on in the world and a lack of clear course thus far.  The escalating violence eclipses a good portion of the joy I feel when I am creating for myself or others.  I've pushed through it for the show, but it feels so trivial compared with what we are facing in the world.  On a positive note, I am pleased with the pieces I will share on Saturday and Sunday.  They are extensions of what is going on inside of me that hopefully will resonate with others.There is much truth to the phrase "I am my art."  I will keep diffusing my oils and send out prayers for all of us fighting this ultimate evil.

Thanksgiving will be upon us very soon.  I've spent the month reflecting as many do. The blessings in my life provide much comfort. I wish you and yours time and respite with those who are important in your life. 

Regarding the pieces featured in this entry.    They are both Citra Solv manipulation pieces but done with different intents.  The first one I left largely intact because of the movement in the background.   The second one is more typical of what I usually expand on:  random and organic.  It also worked with the same composition but gives a different vibe.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


It's quite a summer so far with times in the studio having to take a back seat, but today I had a few hours to ready some art for two art tables I am vending here in St. Louis  and to find a little bit of myself in my art.  It always fascinates me when what is bubbling under the surface arrives so unexpectedly right in the middle of your composition.  It can be the raw you that you don't show the world regularly (but give a glimpse of yourself every so often), or something that resonates so deeply that you are sure it came from your soul.  I am so humbled when this synergy happens because it doesn't happen with every piece of art.  

The piece above is a second ink manipulation of CitraSolv.  I used the second manipulation to push back part of the word voices that was left behind the first time.  Voices have come and gone in my life from the voices that told me to keep going late into our infertility years to the thoughts (still voices in my book) that for years kept me up most nights, refusing to be silenced.  Those voices have receded for the most part, but I actively do a lot of meditation, some yoga, many essential oils, and take the required pill each night to keep my brain in balance.  I am indeed lucky that I was very high functioning all of my life.  I kept the plates spinning for many years with only a few dropped.  Others aren't so lucky and the stigma of having a mental illness still exists. Until that changes, many won't get the help them need just to feel "regular". Off my soapbox, but now you can see why I pushed back the word. 

I added the Allegro treble because of the solace I have found in music.  From the depths of personal despair in the early '90s with no child (REM's Losing My Religion) to a new favorite by Matt Skiba & the Sekrets (appropriately titled, Voices), music has always been my confidante and my inspiration. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't listen, wonder, and try to decipher what the lyrics mean to me.  I've given up trying to figure out what they mean to the songwriters.  

Finally, I just received a delightful assortment of Seth Apter's new stamps with Impression Obsession.  I had the pleasure of meeting Seth in his class with Mary Beth Shaw in April.  I enjoyed the day, the art, and even getting to know him a bit.  He's a keeper so make sure to check out his urban art when you get a chance.  It's something else.  The matboard is done with his bar code stamp.  I did some light mark-making in gray around the perimeter and then inked up only part of the stamp with black StazOn and used pressure to get the small contrasting marks.  

It felt good to be back in the studio.  I managed to get about 15 pieces done for my artist tables in August.  Join me at the first annual Valley Vinyasa Marketplace on Saturday afternoon from 1:00-4:00 PM.  My other event is a private one that evening.  I'll be putting the extra art in my Etsy after the events. 

I'll post some other sneak peeks in the upcoming weeks.  I travel to Stampaway next week for my two classes and a lot of fun. Hello, Skyline and Jungle Jim's. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


I had a very busy April between taking the fabulous Paint Mojo class mid month, a surprise squeeze into Seth Apter's class here in St. Louis, teaching at Art & Soul, and making my own art that goes into the new session at the Wood Icing/Heather Haymart Gallery this week. I  had a lot of fun putting these together!  Not much new in May since I was in PA most of the month.  I will revel in April. 

Nosegay:  Ink Manipulation & India Ink

"Concentricity" Ink Manipulation and India Ink
Copse  Ink Manipulation

Posies:  Ink Manipulation and Watermedia
Clefs:  Ink Manipulation and Alcohol Ink highlights

They will be on display until September 15 in Chesterfield, MO and are waiting for their forever homes.  I have decided to keep (for the time being) my piece from Paint Mojo.  Once varnished it will hang in my sunroom. 

Jim gave me my time in Indiana for my birthday last year and finally the time came.  I really enjoyed Tracy Verdugo's style and willingness to let me still embrace my own style for a winning combo.  Here are some small jpgs that show you where the painting came from.  It definitely had an "ugly" stage that was a little scary, but I love the finished project.  Enjoy the journey and definitely take a look at her book, Paint Mojo, or find her when she tours again.  

      Pushing colors back.....and bringing them out again. 

I love the detail of this bird.  It came out of nowhere when I was trying to figure out the focal images. Then the other bird appeared, too as if by magic. 

 AND VOILA....... "Topsy and Turvy" were born.  30" x 30" acrylic paint and ink.  GO BIG OR GO HOME!!!!!!

Finally, and in no particular order, I really enjoyed Seth Apter's all day Saturday class.  We made a grungy, many-layered journal and had a lot of fun all day long. 

a WIP....needs some finishing!

BONUS:  My new stamps for Rubbermoon are live!!!!!!  Look me up by artist there and see up close what special items I designed for them.  It was a huge month for me.  I hope you enjoyed the tour!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Peek at Possibility

Most of my blog entries are musings, new art tutorials and announcements, travel, and, of course, my dogs.  But I've alluded several times to a change in my life over the last year so today I decided to take some time to talk about what I've experienced as I opened my mind to different wellness practices.

I have a good friend that tells me she thinks things, people, ideas are brought into view when you are ready for them and I've come around to that line of thinking.  If I'd been told even as recently as three years ago that I would be meditating on a daily basis,  doing yoga even in the morning, or using essential oils and supplements to augment my wellness, I would have stared open-mouthed.  I grew up in probably the least holistic house on the planet.  Pill popping always occurred after something happened to you.  My adult life has been trying to shake that mentality off, but I wasn't able to make a dent until I hit a wall with some, not life-threatening but very painful, body weaknesses that caused me to think outside the box OR ..... COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES.  

It's amazing what some small changes have meant to my overall health.  Now, I split my time between yoga and a gym.  For transparency's sake, I must admit I'm not making huge strides to overhaul my less than perfect body, but I am making strides towards staying stretched out and gaining cardio benefits as well.  My goal is to be active without risking more disc problems, although I hear they are stemming from too much time bent over in the studio.  But still, I am leary, so I am careful about my activity.  Maybe too careful, but I am a work in progress.

I'm able to be this active because I was introduced to essential oils a year ago.  I went to a workshop mostly to debunk the idea that these were anything more than nicely-smelling bottles.  I listened as I would at a Pampered Chef or other "home party" but really I knew the bottom line was going to be... are these the real deal?  After experiencing some benefits that day, I found myself a member or Wellness Advocate and began my trip through the oils.  I was very tunnel-visioned in what I thought my use would be:  mood enhancement.  For the first couple of months, I experienced those on a daily basis.  My world seemed to pick up at that time, but it was spring so while I enjoyed the newfound joy and peace, I thought it could have been the weather.  My "a ha" moment came when I found myself in a second acute TMJ phase at my sister's house in May.  I had only three oils with me but as I laid there at 4 am in agony (not an exaggeration if you've ever had an acute attack,) I used my phone to look up protocols for it.  I had Frankincense oils with me for migraine use, but the book said to rub the oil on the bone next to my ear.  I did and within 25 minutes the pain in my jaw was gone.  I said this was my second attack.  Well, the first attack had been 6 weeks prior and my primary care doctor's high powered anti-inflammatories took a weekend to give me relief.  I now travel with more than 3 oils.

I took some time this summer to learn the chemistry behind the use of plant/fruit oils and became fascinated.  I, of course, knew that the history of medicine includes the use of plants, but nonetheless it was an interesting study.  I continued my use and began to add more medicinal oils to my stash and probably talked oils in 98% of my conversations.  That's how excited I was.  I shared some samples and people found them effective.  I had never planned to sell the product, just to use, but I was asked repeatedly so that started happening in November.  By then I had used many of the oils and had started to use their number one seller, the Lifelong Vitality Supplements, and was delighted to say that it brought new life to a tired Nancy.  I have napped only on two occasions since starting them in August.  It's so nice not to have those 3-5 pm doldrums every day.

I now regularly teach classes at my home and for others and am enjoying introducing others to the possibilities of these oils.  They sell themselves amazingly well and I invite all who are using the oils back for continuing education on specific topics.  It's exhilarating to hear about their journeys when they return.  My art is still the most important part of my adult life, but I do like serving others as well.  By the way, another by product of all this is that I am more prolific in the studio. That was unexpected, but not unwelcomed. My body and mind feels like they are working better. Neither are perfect, but definitely better due to being well-rested, fairly well-adjusted, and able to find joy and peace here and there. I have to admit that I love hearing how changed I am in looks and in my demeanor. 

I plan to blog periodically, maybe even once a month, about some of my oil experiences.  You'll see them here and there.  Just ignore if you aren't interested as you would with tutorials that don't appeal.  But if you choose to dabble in them, be sure to buy pure oil that is sourced where it grows the best.  There are many retail oils that lack that purity.  With those, you are really just experiencing a perfume and not an oil that can help your body be all it can be.   If you're more interested, follow my Facebook page, Make Every Drop Count, or message me. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Jaunty Jillian

March has been a whirlwind.  I had two wonderful visits from my daughter, Sammi, and my sister, Gayle.  Sammi was here at the beginning of the month and we alternated our time between shopping, the Zoo, and binge-watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix.  Gayle and I shopped as well, caught up on summer plans, went to see Insurgent, did some stitching and I gave her an introduction to alcohol inks.  In between those two wonderful weeks, I managed to do three doTERRA events.  Crazy busy!!!  Hot on the heels of Gayle's visit was the inaugural event at The Moon & The Maker, Kae Pea's storefront, retreat center, RubberMoon manufacturing headquarters, and FAB Bed & Breakfast.  And who better to open up the festivities, but Sunny Carvalho!!!!

I'm only about an hour from Louisiana, MO, so I took my time and took the scenic drive along the river.  There are frequent stopping points to eagle watch.  I stopped, but they were shy.  The river, however, was beautiful.  ABOVE This is my view after I parked for my overnight visit.  By the way, this space is amazing. I took some insider pictures to show you how cavernous this destination is, yet it is warm, welcoming and charming at the same time.  BELOW:  I missed a picture of the front right of the store, but the first picture is the studio, and the center and right pictures are of the expansive space that houses the boutique, local and regional art pieces, art supplies, and, of course, RubberMoon stamps.


BELOW LEFT:  The center hall from the back to the front. (NOTE THE TIN TILES) BELOW RIGHT:  Our class home away from home with a pub feel.  I love this room. 

I didn't take any pictures of the b & b portion, but it is upstairs and is just divine.  I had the best night's sleep before class today.  Everyone pitched in to make our time there perfect.  We wanted for nothing and had a terrific teacher in Sunny.  It's a rarity that I stay on task in a class, but this one was full of technique and challenge for me (faces make me nervous).  I was delighted to see how unique everyone's painting was today.  We all had our own spins to add as we created using Sunny's approach.  I can't say enough about her talent, patience, and vibe.  If she is in your area, run to the nearest venue and sign up.   It was such a wonderful 24 hours full of new and renewed friendship, art, great music, laughter, great stories, and camaraderie.  I wonder how long I'll have to wait for the next one?