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  • Writer's pictureShea Stanfield

Delightfully Unexpected Outcomes

The history of contemporary art and illustration mirrors the issues of the day. The subjects may be a rapidly changing world, morphing values, sharing unique personal reflections, or cultural identity. Often critiques of social and institutional structures attempt to redefine art itself. The contemporary art of artist Nancy Pendleton may surprise, perplex, and thrill you with its sense of humor, vibrant colors, rich textures, and unique compositions. Her evolution from creative play into delightful, unexpected imagery started in the most unexpected place, Storm Lake, Iowa.

Nancy’s childhood was spent in Royal Oak, Michigan, a Detroit suburb. When Nancy and her sister Sandy were growing up, her grandmother was the influencer of creativity. There was never a shortage of projects, ideas, and gifts to create. Nancy went on to begin her art studies at Michigan State University. While working on her degree, there were many record cold-setting temperatures and mountains of snow; Nancy decided to take a break to visit a friend living in Scottsdale, Arizona. Nancy was anxious to see a different kind of mountain formed in the great southwest. Realizing a great opportunity when it presented itself in the Valley of the Sun, Nancy's visit became a permanent move. Once established, she enrolled at Arizona State University, Tempe, to complete her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis on illustration.

After graduation, Nancy worked a few years as a free-lance illustrator before landing a job with the Arizona Republic in the Newsroom as an illustrator/graphic artist. Her thirteen-year career with the Republic cemented her foundation as an illustrator, winning numerous Press Club awards for her graphic works. During this time, Nancy's paintings caught the eye of Wilde Meyer Galleries located in Scottsdale and Tucson. She quickly developed a fan base with enough collectors she was able to quit her day job and devote her complete focus to her paintings. Nancy works today from her home studio. She takes her cues from the brilliance of the unique Nature objects surrounding us in the Sonoran Desert. Her pieces have been known to include seed pods, unusual sticks, leaves, and handmade paper.

She also has a keen eye for the area's wild and domestic animal life, often appearing quite unexpectedly in her paintings. Nancy’s devotion goes further than adopting shelter animals into her own home. It’s not rare to find one of her masterfully rendered animal subjects as an auction item to raise funds for a shelter or charitable cause. Nancy’s image creativity doesn't stop there; her passion for fashion as art and personal expression plays a significant role in her mixed media pieces. Her interest has evolved into her involvement with the Arizona Costume Institute with the Phoenix Art Museum. According to Nancy, “Being creative involves being fearless, being vulnerable, being open to inspiration in each moment, and taking risks.”

“Being creative involves being fearless, being vulnerable, being open to inspiration in each moment, and taking risks.”

For the last 20-plus years, Nancy’s work is represented by Wilde Meyer Galleries in Scottsdale and Tucson, Arizona. She has been featured in Phoenix Home and Garden, Images Magazine, Get Out, the Arizona Republic, Get Out, and Focus Sante Fe. Her work is in the permanent collections of corporations such as PetSmart, Henkel, the Hyatt Regency, and Hello Education Foundation to name a few. She enjoys patronage from private collectors across the country. Nancy is a member of the Arizona Costume Institute and the Sonoran Arts League; she participates in SAL’s Hidden in the Hills Artist Studio Tour each November as well as the Camelback Studio Tour. She invites you to contact her for commission work and check her website for where her work is showing.


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