"My paintings are improvisational. I just begin to paint, ponder, and paint again. I paint what I feel in my heart and imagination, not what I see in front of me, which translates not to a representation of something tangible, but to a painting full of emotion and thought."
Nancy Eckels approaches her work with a determination that she will finish with something that pleases her eye, her emotions, and her sense of purpose. When painting, her focus is complete and exhaustive, excluding all outside influences, including the list of other tasks she meant to accomplish that day. Complete focus is depleting and exhilarating all at once, but results in a mental "zone," which produces her best creations.
Improvisation lends itself to experimentation and playfulness. Eckels is never tied down to traditional implements, but uses many unusual tools, including paper towels. Her process of adding and subtracting paint is key to the final creation, with layers of paint being removed, added, partially covered, scratched through, and scraped. She plays with color, texture, and composition, always changing, rearranging, and enjoying the results of her new discoveries in color combinations, color layering, and changing shapes and textures.
Her parents met in an oil painting class. Her aunts and uncles were painters and sculptors. Her sister is also an artist. She considers herself self-taught, although she gained quite an education through "osmosis" while hanging around talented family members. There was no formal art education, but she has learned much from workshops with several experimental abstract painters, including Katherine Chang Liu, Carole Barnes, and Pat Dews.
Selected Exhibitions & Awards
Stanford Art Spaces, Palo Alto, CA, Stanford University, 2009