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Interview with Artist Nancy Romanovsky

In our artist interview with Nancy Romanovsky we discovered family and nature played significant roles in her becoming the artist she is today. “All through my childhood, I camped and hiked quite a lot with my family.” She smiles. “It was then that I developed a rich appreciation for nature. I began to love it with all my senses – the sound of aspen leaves in the wind, the smell of the autumn earth, the feel of a cold-water stream, the taste of foraged berries... My oeuvre of paintings today can nearly always be traced back to being in nature.

The biggest supporter in my life has been my husband. With his encouragement I was able to leave my ‘other career’ in 2012 and focus on my art. He supports me in nearly every aspect of being an artist; he even often titles my works! Together we own and operate a Douglas-fir tree farm in western Washington. Our partnership brings us the greatest joy of working the land together, and our idyllic forest property is a main source of visual nourishment for me.

I have always been intrigued by the design of nature itself—the line of a tree, or the way the light falls. I think my appreciation for nature and my eye for design have been constantly developing, especially after I started painting full time.

My favorite painting technique is oil on linen panel. For my color palette I use what is called a double primary palette, which consists of a warm and a cool of each of the three primary colors plus white. I use a limited color palette to help me create harmony throughout a piece.

The above painting, “Boughs to the River” was inspired by our tree farm – I’ve actually painted this particular tree a number of times from different angles, during different seasons, and in different times of day. I call it “my tree”. In this particular piece, the focus is on the tree itself – a portrait, so to speak. It’s why I chose a tall vertical format, to focus on the tree and the way its boughs reach down to the river. This painting highlights the elegant shapes of nature, and how light reveals them.

My painting style is called representational style -- somewhere between impressionism and realism. My level of detail varies from piece to piece and throughout a piece to help the viewer focus on the main idea and to travel through the painting. There are enough areas of implied detail or complete lack of detail for the viewer to rest – similar to a rest in a musical composition. I also vary my brushstroke and thickness of paint to enrich the scene and create visual interest.

My advice for aspiring artists is firstly to soak up as much quality art as you can by visiting galleries (like The Artists’ Gallery!) museums in person, and reading art magazines. You need to study and practice, just as any serious professional does, to find what makes your heart sing, and develop your own ‘voice’ in your work. This takes some experimenting and a lot of “brush miles”. Being an artist is a profession and a business, but the first ingredient is to consistently produce good work. This leads to my second bit of advice, which is to develop a tough skin because there will be a lot of rejections: by show jurors, by gallery owners, by your viewers, and even by yourself! Art is very subjective. Being rejected is part of being an artist; don’t let it deter or discourage you!

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