Featured Artist - Nancy McKinnon

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“In The Beginning”

It was in 1998 when I experienced my first watercolor workshop in Maui. A tropical island, sunshine, and beautiful flowers had all the components to put myself into a zone…the perfect location to begin my new love for “doing art.” It was also during this time when I first met watercolor artist and instructor Barbara Mathews in Janesville. In addition to being one of her students, I also was the travel organizer for the “Come Paint With Me” art tours that Barbara has lead for two decades. Her passion for painting and her love of travel was a winning combination. She was instrumental in attracting students of all levels to follow her to new and exciting destinations, such as tours to the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, Greek Isles, Hawaii, Italy, Ireland, Sedona, Santa Fe, and Alaska.

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Traveling the world opened my eyes to the richness of different cultures and landscapes. It was during these years that I realized art needed to be a major part of my life. My favorite style in watercolor is when I paint very loose Abstract backgrounds, and the subject matter is very realistic. These pieces reflect my current watercolor subject, which are flowers and trees.

I also love experimenting with different additives and mediums to see what would happen if I just add this or that! The spontaneity of art is important to me, and it was during this process that I decided to find some “kid friendly” projects in art. Grandchildren needed to become part of my art world, so I started searching projects that would be suitable and safe. It was during this time that I came across acrylic pouring’s and alcohol ink projects. Online opportunities were many! A set of poured coasters were made at Ravens Wish in Janesville for a kid’s class, and that was another beginning. This led to my current love of fluid acrylic art pouring’s. For the last two years I now realize that this process is the most fun for kids and adults! Layering paints in a cup and watching it explode into a piece of art is both exciting and amazing! Working with many different types of acrylics and mediums can result in beautiful abstract backgrounds.

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I recently started painting on some of these pieces, and realized it can be another extension of this type of art. Abstract background with a realistic subject matter and it seems that I have come full circle infusing my watercolors and acrylic pouring’s. In our community I have been involved with the Janesville Art League by promoting and exhibiting the membership’s art at various venues, such as Marling Homeworks, Janesville Performing Art Center, the Janesville Innovation Center, and the Janesville Country Club. I have done art workshops for children and adults in Janesville, Beloit, and Clinton. Last summer I exhibited at the WAA Mixed Media Show and became a member of this art organization. This summer I will be participating in this event by doing a workshop titled “Pour and More.” During 2018 I was the artist selected to do art therapy workshops at Gift’s Men Shelter in Janesville. It is a very rewarding opportunity to help make a difference when I see their art proudly displayed in the shelter’s hallways, lobby, and board room. I was the featured artist at Creekside Place in Evansville in January, and it was my first solo show. My work can also be seen at Sievers, a nationally recognized School Of Fiber Arts on Washington Island in Door County. I am currently on the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Regional Art Association (WRAA). I am the appointed chairperson for Bridging Generations, a youth program for children ages 5-12 years old. Our mission is to educate, instruct, and have fun doing art. In November 2019 we will do another workshop and art exhibit at Basics Cooperative in Janesville.

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I have also exhibited at many Wisconsin Regional Art Programs in Wisconsin. My state awards have been in watercolor, photography and acrylics. My first state award “Leave Me Alone” has a fond memory for me because it was in Whitewater! In 2018 I received a state and conference award on “Within The Deep,” from Whitewater again!

“Beyond My Imagination” is my newest acrylic piece of art, that has become one of my favorite styles of painting. It is done with the colors of the rainbow on canvas and it is an expression of my feelings for a series of pieces that I will call “Beginnings.” After 48 years as a travel agent, I am currently now retired, and find that I am “doing art” every day. I am often asked if I will share my art techniques. I am happy to say that it flatters me to hear these comments. My philosophy on art is quite simple: To Each One-Teach One. If I can share my knowledge and techniques, then I hope each recipient will pass it on to another.

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