Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Nancy Calhoun's complex watercolors often start with a collage created from scraps of paper or photographs. Her ideas come from people or places that have inspired her -- the southwest, the Sierras, and a recent trip to France are depicted in her current work. From her collage, she creates a drawing that she transfers to watercolor paper. By using multiple applications of masking fluid and pouring numerous washes of transparent paint, she builds depth in her images while retaining the vibrant glow of the paper.
Nancy started her art life as an oil painter, studying with Chris Borggren in his San Carlos studio. Born in Denmark, Borggren studied with the Fauvist artist Maurice de Vlaminck in Paris, eventually moving to the U.S. where he taught art for his entire life. As the mother of three small children, Nancy cherished the hours that she spent studying with Borggren, remarking, "He was an incredible person, artist, and teacher with a fauvist's love of color which he passed to his students." After several moves back and forth between northern and southern California, Nancy and her family settled in the Bay Area and she began taking art classes at local community colleges. She took her first watercolor classes in the early 1990s, eventually discovering Mike Bailey's challenging class, Watercolor Beyond the Obvious. Although she still loves the smell of oil paint and still has Borggren's easel, which she purchased after his death, Nancy now works exclusively in watercolor.
Nancy studied art and education at both UCLA and San Francisco State University, earning a bachelor's degree in Education. She has won Best in Show in the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society annual show in addition to other awards. She is a member of Viewpoints Gallery in Los Altos and a longtime and very active member of Arts of Bear Valley, near her summer cabin and studio in the Sierras. Arts of Bear Valley sponsors a summer show in conjunction with the annual Bear Valley Music Festival, as well as another show in Calaveras Big Trees State Park.
Please visit Nancy's website to see more of her work.