On a cold snowless day when the color of the sky blends with the gray landscape beneath it, a selection of photographs of Nancy Newcomb’s paintings infuses the At The Lake magazine office with color. Newcomb, a long-time Lake Geneva resident, is a gifted watercolor artist who has graciously shared her work with us for publication on the next six pages. Although her collection is extensive and paintings of familiar scenes span every season, we’ve chosen those that seem especially appropriate as we look forward to spring.
Nancy Newcomb’s style comes directly from the heart and is filled with emotion. Her paintings draw us in with a technique that is not quite photographic in nature, but rather as if we are looking at the world without its harsh edges. Some have described her interpretation of the watercolor medium as almost transparent yet her colorful palette is lush and rich.
Each scene she paints, she explains, must strike a chord within her. She scouts a location several times, gauging the light at different hours of the day and then takes to her sketch pad to roughly divide the space in an interesting way. Finally, before she puts brush to canvas, she photographs the scene, perhaps several times, to capture the right perspective.
Newcomb’s love of painting began at a young age as she was growing up on the south side of Chicago. By the seventh grade she had earned the Dudley Crafts Watson Scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago, and it was those two-hour Saturday morning sessions, she says, that truly cemented her career path. She attended Northern Illinois University, where she met her husband, Rex. His career as a chemical engineer took them to several places, but Nancy’s love for art was unwavering.
Her work has been seen in many exhibitions and it’s been published in regional and national magazines. Permanent collections of her paintings are housed in several locations, including the Miller Art Museum in Sturgeon Bay; Palo Alto Medical Clinic, Palo Alto, California; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Covenant Harbor Conference Center, Lake Geneva.
Through the years, Nancy has enjoyed teaching watercolor painting workshops from coast-to-coast to students of all skill levels and personalities. She says the journey of educating others has been especially rewarding. “I’ve learned a lot along the way not just about art but about people, too.”