Oil painting of a lone waterman oaring his way to his old moored workboat

Still Floatin’
By Nancy Tankersley
20 x 20 in.
Oil on canvas
Available through the artist

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 each painting. In Still Floatin’, Tankersley draws upon her skill with the figure in capturing the gesture of the lone waterman oaring his way to his old, moored workboat, checking its hull and lines and making sure she is still afloat. “As one can see by the numerous boats that have met a watery end, this is a task that a good waterman must attend to frequently. I started this painting as a plein air painting, drawn by the light, but ended up adding the figure and placing the half-submerged hulls as design elements to encase the lone figure. 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!

In 2019 Tankersley was the featured artist at the 49th annual Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Maryland, and in July she will debut a new body of work featuring the agricultural workers of the Eastern Shore at a special exhibit at the Academy Art Museum. In 2021 she will participate in Plein Air Easton in July and En Plein Air Texas in October. Her work was recently accepted into the first online International Exhibition of Marine Art. which includes the work of artists from US, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Australia.

The artist is represented by the Trippe Gallery in Easton, Maryland; Anderson Gallery in St. Simons, Georgia; and Gallery 330 in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Tankersley enjoys teaching and mentoring other artists and in 2021–22 will continue teaching virtually as well as in Portugal, Georgia and Italy.

Her instructional DVDs, Painting Figures from Photographs and Essential Principles of Painting, is available through Liliedahl Art Instruction Videos.