Lynn Nash • abstract artist

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Bio/History:

 

The world I grew up in did not actively encourage art careers. In fact, it was more commonly expected that women with a college degree would become teachers or nurses. But I always loved making things, creating. So I believe the seed was there since early childhood, just waiting to germinate.

 

It took about 40 years to give myself permission to actually call myself an artist. When my mother died, I decided life was too short to not paint. I took art lessons as a child, and art classes in college. And I always made sure my kids had lots of creative opportunities. Chairing the visual arts for their PTA in elementary school, I helped kids create, but never seemed to have time for doing my own creative work. 

 

Eventually I began taking art classes at the local community college. Sometimes this was intimidating, as I had little time to practice. I still had kids in school, plus other responsibilities. I painted more often or less often as my life circumstances changed, kids growing up, elderly parents getting sick, having horses to care for, etc. 

 

For several years I took workshops from a number of different artists. I did a couple of residencies and artist retreats. This was a time of growth and expansion of my work and confidence. It was during this that time I found several amazing artist friends who supported and encouraged me. Here was my tribe, though far flung and quite varied in age, gender, and backgrounds. These people saved me from my inner critic. They helped me come home to myself. They helped me realize that I am, at my very core, an artist. I am so grateful for this path in life. 

 

Process/materials:

 

Most of my work is abstract and non-representational. Sometimes recognizable images appear, but mostly I work with line, marks, motif, colors, and layers, including glazes. Sometimes textured supports help create interest and depth, as well as collage elements. Lately I have been more interested in using a larger canvas, giving me more space and freedom to experiment. Excavating some areas partially has been exciting. I am interested in the evolution of a painting, the unique history of marks on the canvas.

 

I typically begin with no plan or expectations other than a choice of colors, often using simple black lines/marks on a large white surface. Blind contour drawing is fun and this often provides an interesting way forward. Stepping back from the work reveals patterns or at least generates areas of interest. I respond to this by obscuring areas that don’t work. I continue playing all over the canvas using color, glazes, scrapers, point media, collage elements, etc. I stay in “play mode” as long as possible. Simply responding generates another response, and at some point the painting somehow takes on a life of its own. This way of painting often reminds me of the natural horsemanship way of communicating with horses: It's called "following a feel". Each canvas seems to have its own unique energy. 

 

Sometimes it is finished before I realize it, and some paintings die of overwork. I try to get out of the way. 

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Lynn Nash • Elizabeth City, NC  

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