There are many ways to unlock parts of ourselves. For me, the key arrived while I was working full-time as a book editor (my profession for 38 years), and it came in the form of a delux 96-color pack of Crayola crayons. I opened the lid, and the scent transported me to the cool green linoleum floor of my childhood playroom, where I spent hours blissfully imagining and drawing. Those crayons, along with watercolors and pencils, led me to create my first painting as an adult: a chameleon titled “Self-Portrait,” the idea being that women are continually shedding and growing new emotional and intellectual skin in order to adapt to their environments. That painting turned out to be the first one that sold in my first exhibition, and it was all the incentive I needed to move forward. As time passed, my chameleons began sporting women’s heads and hands, and today I’ve discarded the tails and scales and replaced them with fully realized women. With my current series of Unconventional Women, I feel like I’ve tapped into a rich vein of material that I”ll be mining for a long while. The women keep coming into my head and heart and pouring out onto the paper, and I’m doing my best to keep up with them.
I’m a self-taught artist, and proud of that, although certainly at the beginning my process was accompanied by near-crippling fear and doubt. Fear and Doubt have now become two of my dearest friends while creating. In 2005, I was invited to exhibit my paintings of animals at the Environmental Sciences Center at Yale University’s Peabody Museum. The result was a show that ran for one glorious year. Since then I’ve exhibtied my work widely in galleries, museums, and other public institutions. My artwork also hangs in many homes, from Vermont to California.
I work predominantly on large slices of beautiful archival paper, choosing to work with watercolor, graphite, gouache, metallic paint, colored pencil, wax crayon, and wood burner. The seamless blending of materials reflects my thought that humanity and nature should ideally function on a seamless, mutually sustainging continuum. My theme is transformation and how it relates to shape-shifting, gender-bending, evolution, and creation myth. The morphing of materials into images, of self-composed words into art, of pattern into nature is endlessly fascinating to me. Sometimes I turn to fiber and woodcut in order to explore these themes.
To see my work in progress, follow me on Instagram: #nancymooreart
© Nancy Moore 2022
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