Oil on canvas
36 x 36 in.
Available for purchase through the South Street Art Gallery

During her life as a painter, Nancy Tankersley has moved fluidly from portraiture to still life and figurative paintings and finally on to plein air landscapes.

“I think it is important for contemporary artists to capture the land and the people as they are today. I do not try to romanticize or invent my subjects, but I do try to show the beauty of the ordinary. People engaged in their occupations, enjoying their leisure time by eating, shopping or just strolling down a street, as well as abandoned and often overlooked landscapes … all of these are ordinary subjects, which can make extraordinary paintings. I try to paint from life as much as possible so that my work has the authenticity that comes from capturing a moment in time.”

The breath of her themes has enabled her to draw what she has learned from each and apply that knowledge with conviction in Competition. Nancy draws upon her skill with the figure in capturing the gesture of the lone waterman balanced on the edge of his skiff, performing the timeless ritual of ‘tonging” oysters from the floor of the Chesapeake Bay. The baskets of oysters and the rigging of the boat provide a motif for still life while capturing the changing hues of the water and the flatness of the landscape are pictorial elements she has captured en plein air many times in the 15 years since she settled on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

“I’ve always enjoyed capturing the gesture of the figure and especially that of figures at work.”

In the past two decades she has explored workers of the restaurant industry, first responders, landscapers, airport workers, dancers and even cowboys! This year Nancy has been selected to be the Featured Artist at the 49th Annual Waterfowl Festival and will display watermen and women working the various industries provided by the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay.

“Eight years ago a commission to paint portraits of working watermen opened up a whole treasure chest of painting ideas!”

Nancy has recently published a book of her first figurative theme series Figures on the Beach. The book contains 64 color images of paintings from the past 25 years. 

On the Beach is available through her website.

Nancy’s instructional DVD, Painting Figures from Photographs, is available now. To be among the first to see new paintings and learn of events and appearances, follow Nancy on Facebook and sign up for her e-newsletter.