In an interview, Pope Francis said that "Artists are apostles of beauty" and maybe he is correct. When I am in my studio it seems like I am an apostle, or a chosen one. I become a preacher and my gospel is beauty. My studio is sacred space, and the process of making art commands my full attention, like meditation or prayer. All other distractions fade away and I am in the moment, in a Zen-like place where creation is possible.

My artwork consists of mixed media paintings on wood panel, stretched canvas or various papers. I call my work mixed media because it combines drawing, painting and collage. The finished artwork merges the styles of abstraction and realism. When I begin a new piece, I do not have a finished composition in mind. My first step is to create an inviting surface that stimulates my imagination. This first step is done by painting an abstract design that I will later use for my figures. It is the stage on which my subject performs.

To start a new painting, I decide on a figure or figures that interest me, choose one of my prepared panels that have an abstract design and then loosely block in the figures with colored pencils or a brush with watered down acrylic. I move quickly and loosely block in a beginning composition.

My process is like a free form, improvisational dance where the dancers make up the moves as they dance. When I go into my studio, I let go and trust my instincts. My aim is to surprise myself and ultimately surprise the viewer, to produce work that is full of life and energy, and is both expressive and aesthetically pleasing.

What is my work about? It is about beauty, movement, freedom, emotion and life force. These are the forces that inspire me. Because people and animals abound in these qualities, they are my primary subjects. My artwork is usually not dark but it is emotional.  In fact, I consider many of my paintings to be my "happy dance". Sometimes I think the work is a reclamation of my inner child, a psychological concept denoting a person's original or true self.


Art uplifts, enriches and transforms our lives and our lived in environments.  I appreciate when people tell me my work is beautiful, healing and "full of feminine energy".  There is a Navaho prayer that talks of “walking in beauty” all of our days. This Native American concept of The Beauty Way is a piece of ancient wisdom sorely needed in our contemporary world.  My purpose is to create beautiful works of art that will last my lifetime and beyond and to share my vision with my viewers and collectors.



Nancy Calcutt