Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Creative Adirondacks: Nancy Brossard: A Lifetime Passion for Painting

Nancy Brossard

By Linda Friedman Ramirez

The need to paint, and to paint well, has been with Nancy almost all of her life. She’s very clear that there is really nothing that could stop her from painting, as well as requiring that any painting that leaves her studio is worthy. In some cases, when she is not satisfied, Nancy will paint over a canvas or if it’s not possible, cut it up. Nancy will be exhibiting at the Downtown Art Center, Malone, New York as part of: Three Perspectives with Nancy Brossard, Charles Atwood King and Sandra Hildreth, [the] opening reception [took place] on September 29, 2023 [from] 5 to 8 p.m. [For more information, reference the following link:]

She also has a solo exhibit at Paul Smith’s VIC’s Heron Marsh Gallery, Nancy Brossard: Plein Air Paintings, [which runs from] October 21, 2023 through January 7, 2024. Nancy will do a demonstration of plein air painting at the VIC on October 21, 2023 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Nancy paints almost exclusively in oil, often large canvases featuring landscapes in the Adirondacks. She discovered early on that she needed, at the very least, to work outdoors to begin a painting. Where does she choose to paint? Places often catch her eye because of light, color and patterns. You’ll often see Nancy’s paintings with falls, ponds and bogs because water has movement, and creates so many interesting possibilities. It is a beloved theme in her paintings And cold weather is not an impediment for Nancy, as she enjoys wintertime, and routinely plein air paints in the cold.


She often ventures out with Sandra Hildreth, President of Saranac Lake Artworks who is also part of the Three Perspectives exhibit.


“Nancy is a very skilled painter who has developed her own distinctive style,” Hildreth said.”I love going out to paint with her because we both just quietly work, we check out what each other is doing every once in a while, and spend a great day together. The result is two very different paintings, both very faithful to the forms, contours and colors of the land, but interpreted uniquely.”

Bog River Falls painting by Nancy Brossard

Bog River Falls painting by Nancy Brossard. Photo provided by Linda Friedman Ramirez.

As a child growing up in the suburbs of Milwaukee, Nancy would sit outside for hours, losing track of time drawing her house, nearby buildings, or whatever she might see sitting with her sketch pad and pencil while sitting at a bus stop. She used watercolor and colored pencils, as well as paper left over by her father who often drew sketches and blueprints as part of his work as a commercial appraiser. When Nancy was ten, her grandmother gave her a set of oil paints, and around this same time, her mother sent her to a class at an art center near the Milwaukee Art Museum. After class, with her younger brother in tow, Nancy would wander
around the museum, viewing its varied collections.


Later while in high school, Nancy had two very good art instructors who encouraged her. She and another student were selected to attend a college level class at the prestigious Layton School of Art in Milwaukie, the predecessor to the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. It was an experience that exposed her to an environment dedicated to art instruction and she loved it. Nancy wanted to pursue painting and art in college, but was told that she needed to study something more practical such as nursing. She began her studies at the University of Wisconsin, but realized that she was not able to focus on anything other than art. She studied drawing, design, printmaking and sculpture, although oil painting was her passion and has taken the lead ever since.


One summer, Nancy was working at a Girl Scout camp near Lake George, New York, she met her lifetime partner Laura Reid. She and Laura moved to Boston and then to New Paltz, New York. and Nancy worked while Laura finished school. Nancy painted all her free time, and had amassed some 100 paintings, when a fire destroyed their home. It was very traumatic, and at first Nancy thought she was done with painting. But the break was short-lived, and even while she and Laura were raising a family, there has never since been an interruption.


Nancy, who now lives in Lake Clear, is well known in the region for her beautiful paintings of locations in the Adirondacks. She has been featured at the Adirondack Artist Guild, where she has been a member for more than 20 years, as well as in solo and group shows. She has also been accepted into a number of regional juried art exhibitions. Nancy takes part in plein air competitions in Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake and Malone, and recently joined the Downtown Artist Cellar Gallery. She also shows her work at Gallery 46 in Lake Placid.


Regardless of her well deserved successes, my observation of Nancy is that it is the personal satisfaction she derives from the act of painting itself that means the most to her.


For more information and to see additional images of Nancy’s work, go to: https://www.adirondackartistsguild.com/collections/61973


Photo at top: Nancy Brossard painting plein air. Photo provided by Sandra Hilldreth.


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Linda Friedman Ramirez is a resident of Saranac Lake. She previously owned an art gallery in St Petersburg, Florida, and appreciates how art is integral to a community. She's contributing these artist profiles on behalf of ArtWorks, of which she is a member.

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