Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you! See all of our past Artists of the Week in our dedicated section.
Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? Do you work with different mediums?
Nancy Romanovsky: When I was nine, my parents started me in semi-private art lessons, and I am still grateful to them for not being enrolled in sports – like my siblings! But it was not until 2012 that I left my career in graphic design and marketing to pursue painting full time. I am a loyal subject to oil paints. Although in high school and college, I experimented with other media, oils are my first love. With variety of brushwork, thick and thin, loose and detailed oils give me the opportunity of portraying the breadth and scale of nature. Recently, I have been toying with gouache as well – while doing small studies for larger oil paintings.
Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
Most every painting of mine begins with a moment spent in the outdoors, the moment that takes my breath away. A subtle curve of a branch, a reflection rippling on the river surface, the way the light filters through the leaves. Following this inspiration, I take photos for future studio work. I then take time to select and combine portions of different photos to create a pleasing composition. For commission work, my process is more formal; please check my website if interested.
Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from.
I have always been intrigued by designs of nature: the line of a tree, the patterns of light and shadow, these mysterious designs create moods and become the source of my inspiration. My goal is to capture on canvas and interpret both nature's grandeur and its subtleties.
Do you have a specific "beat" you like best – nature, food, profiles, etc.?
My oeuvre includes scenic portrayals of forests, rivers, deserts, and canyons. Before relocating to the Pacific Northwest, we lived in Arizona, and my works mostly depicted Arizona landscapes. Now, our Douglas fir tree farm in western Washington, an idyllic forest property, is the main source of visual nourishment for me. This is where new ideas for paintings are often born!
Do you have one piece of art that means more to you or is extremely special to you?
There is a favorite spot along the river on our tree farm, a place where the river curves against a steep cliff backdrop light filters through the forest, sandy bank on one side, and deep water on the cliffside – the river eddies creating a variety of water surfaces. This ever-changing spot has become the subject of many of my paintings. Some of those works have won awards and entered private collections in the US and abroad, and others I have kept in our own personal collection.
What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
For my love of the outdoors, I credit my father, who often dragged me along on backpacking trips as a young child. There was a period in his life when he was a landscape photographer – real film, his own lab work, large format! In some ways, my life echoes my father's life; we certainly share the appreciation of nature. The biggest influence in my life is my husband. It is only because of his encouragement that I was able to leave my "other career" and focus on my art. He supports me in every aspect of being an artist; he even often titles my works! And our tree farming partnership brings us the greatest joy of working the land together.
If we want to see more of your work, where should we go to find it?
In Arizona, I still kept my partnership with Esprit Décor Gallery; this gallery has been representing me since 2014. Because we have just relocated to Washington, I am not represented by any galleries in the PNW yet; I hope this will change soon. I do plan, though, to participate regularly in local juried shows – you can find the current and upcoming events with my participation on my website. I tend to stay away from online galleries, but you can always view and purchase my works on my website and Instagram (@nancyromanovsky).
What is next for you? Anything you're working on right now that you’re really excited about?
I am really excited about being settled here, in the PNW, and I am working on a couple of pieces inspired by the Pacific rainforest. Let's wait until the oil cures and see what comes out of this inspiration!
Lastly, how do you take your coffee? (We ask everyone!)
With heavy whipping cream, no sugar.