Nancy Davidson, Artist
Oil on canvas
As a young girl growing up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, my parents and
teachers recognized my artistic abilities and enrolled me in private art
classes. In the years that followed, I received much encouragement while
developing my talent. Art was my favorite high school class and led me on the
road to Philadelphia's Tyler School of Art, where I received a Bachelor of Fine
Arts degree. Creating art has always been a part of my life. It is what I like
to think about and I look forward to the challenges it creates in the process.
Through the years I have likened my canvases to musical compositions. I am the
conductor of all the instruments that are laid out in the studio before me. Just
as a conductor may have a favorite approach to bring out the best in his
orchestra, I use composition, layers of color, tone and line - all directed by
my brushstroke - to achieve the desired effect.
A good conductor must convey the emotion he is feeling to his musicians, as must
a painter. I often choose subject matter with abstract lighting. I mentally
travel with the suns movement as it dances across my subject, often into the
softer, more subtle sounds of a shadow. As the painting's director, I am always
aware of creating spaces and shape. The artwork has to entice and then hold the
viewer's interest. I attempt to leave the viewer with a strong, evocative
Because I like a jumping off point, my work has always remained
representational. I am attracted to subject matter with a sense of whimsy and
romance; to scenes that are familiar but seem to have a story to tell. I spend a
long time musing about a canvas before I ever touch the palette. I ask myself:
What is the aesthetic common thread of the piece? How will my compositional
choices and material approach help tell the story I want to tell? I plan 50
percent of the work and let the piece lead me the rest of the way.
I enjoy working in series, (i.e., shrimp boats and my current garden nursery
series). The more familiar I become with my subject matter, the more freedom I
have to be creative. My paintings are strong, like my personality. I like the
solidity and structure of objects, and spaces that define them. I have learned
to be comfortable with whom I am and believe that confidence shows in my work.