Featured Artist of the Month
Nancy Richards West
The Peninsula Gallery's Featured Artist of the Month event highlights a different artist each month. The line-up of participants includes some of the gallery resident artists, repeat exhibitors, and artists entirely new to the space. Visit the gallery each month to see the featured artist's special collection and follow our Facebook and Instagram pages to learn behind-the-scenes information about their background and creative process.
“Willet” 4" x 6" image 10.5” x 12.5” framed pastel $175
“Tied Up” 30" x 24" image 36" x 30” framed oil $3,000
“Snowy Egret” 7" x 5” image 12.5” x 10.5” framed pastel $175
“No Worries” 14" x 11" image 17" x 14” framed oil $750
“Prairie Dogs/Cute Little Guys” 4" x 6" image 10.5” x 12.5” framed pastel $175
“Moon Path” 14" x 11" image 17" x 14” framed oil $750
“Black Crowned Night Heron” 6" x 4" image 12.5” x 10.5” framed pastel $175
“Arrogance” 14" x 11" image 17" x 14” framed oil $750
“Backlit Wave” 12" x 16" image 15" x 19” framed oil $1,200
“Fire Dancer” 30" x 24" image 36" x 30” framed oil $3,000
For the December featured artist, The Peninsula Gallery is delighted to spotlight multi-medium artist, Nancy Richards West.
Nancy Richards West has been painting professionally since 1971 but has had a passion for art since she could hold a crayon. At the age of 10, Nancy was chosen to be part of a group of talented children to attend a special weekend class at Carnegie Museum, and later at Carnegie Institute of Technology. She says “this program probably had more influence in my career choice than any other training I have ever received, as I was able to study art at a university level with a group of extremely talented peers from the time I was in middle school until I graduated from high school.”
She studied art at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where she graduated with high honors for her thesis work in portraiture. As an adult, she continued her studies at Barnstone Studios under the incomparable Myron Barnstone. The studios were set up as an atelier, where long hours of hard work were rarely rewarded with praise. Under Myron’s watchful eye, she studied classical drawing principles and advanced color theory. Both have added strength and surety to her work.
Nancy participates in numerous prestigious wildlife and fine arts festivals throughout the East Coast. Her works focus on depicting the quiet beauty of wildlife and nature. Her home and studio are on the picturesque Chincoteague Island, Virginia, the inspiration for many of her paintings.
“Painting in oils with a multi-layered glazing technique results in work suggestive of watercolor paintings. In the paintings of egrets and herons, for which I am particularly noted, I strive for tranquility and softness through skilled use of color and composition. Training in classical drawing techniques and advanced color theory gives my work an underlying strength, while my delicate treatment of the medium imparts a gentle elegance.
I work from life. A special energy occurs when an artist draws directly from the subject. Using pencil and white pastel or oil paints, I focus on capturing the light as it bathes the model. Each of these figurative pieces holds a little bit of magic, which the viewer is sure to feel. For the last ten years, my work has encompassed the exciting world of plein air painting. I take my easel onto location and quickly paint the landscape before the lighting (and colors) can change.
When I moved to Chincoteague Island on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, I applied my experience in portrait painting to wildlife art. My ability to capture the ‘spirit’ of the birds I portray is a direct result of my training in portraiture. Looking beyond the surface, studying my subjects in-depth, taking cues from the environment, and setting the mood with lighting and color choices are aspects of my wildlife paintings that set them apart. At this point in my career, my path continued with wildlife art but branched out to include painting landscapes en plein air and to my love of figure painting from nude models. Both types of painting involve working directly from the subject before you, whether it is a golden expanse of salt marsh in late afternoon light or a beautiful body as the light plays along its curves and planes.
The most recent challenge I have set for myself is to learn the ancient Asian art of Sumi-e painting or ink wash painting. Ink is hand ground on a stone with water and then applied to rice paper with brushes made of various types of animal hair. Once a stroke is painted, it cannot be changed or erased. This makes Sumi-e ink wash painting a technically demanding art-form requiring great skill, concentration, and years of training.”