Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday Feature: Nancy Laliberte

"Mid West Quilt View From Above" original oil by Nancy Laliberte
Hi Everyone,

It's Friday Feature time!!!  Today we have Nancy Laliberte, I met Nancy through facebook.  We both have kids at home and funny Mom/Artist"s stories.  Nancy's work is beautiful whether she's painting in oil, acrylic or sharing her creative sketches.

To see more of her work visit her website or blog or facebook.

How did you get your start?  What’s your artist journey so far?
My art career started around age two when I snuck a crayon into my crib and created my first mural on the bedroom wall. Paper and my coffee can of crayons were my favorite childhood toys.  Art was definitely my favorite class in school and I incorporated it into everything I did, even creating extra credit projects where I could write and illustrate. In my teens I decided I wanted to go into advertising and graphic design.  I had my first graphic design job while still in high school and went on to earn a BFA in Graphic Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.  I worked in that field for over 20 years and still do some occasional freelance work for friends and former colleagues depending on the project and my schedule. A breast cancer diagnosis in my mid-thirties made me re-evaluate my life and what I wanted to do with it.  I guess you could say I had a medically induced, early mid-life crisis. While I loved the creativity of design, I had had enough of the deadlines.  I made a plan to leave the advertising business by the time I turned 40 to become a painter, and with God’s hand, serendipity or what ever you want to call it, enough bad and good things happened that it all fell into place.  I wake up every day thankful for the opportunity to create and share all things art.

Where were you born?
Tomah, Wisconsin
"Beckoning" original acrylic by Nancy Laliberte
 If you could live anywhere where would you live?
I would split my time with summers in the mid-west, and winters somewhere warm.

What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?
Landscapes are probably my first choice.  I think it is from growing up in the country and spending a lot of time outdoors.  The imagery and patterns are so much a part of me, and painting them is like comfort food.  Floral and still life are my other favorites.  Again, I think it has something to do with patterns of color and light, and organic shapes. I also keep a creative journal–a sketchbook/diary–where anything goes as far as imagery is concerned.  It is my creative playground and laboratory.  :)
"Beyond the Trees" original acrylic by Nancy Laliberte
 Could you talk about your painting techniques? 
When I paint in oils, I work primarily alla prima or wet-into-wet, starting with a transparent under painting (learned that from Dreama—thank you Dreama!) and then going in with more opaque colors.  Often, I just keep painting until I get the piece to where I want it to be or I don’t know what to do next.  That usually means it’s done. When I work in acrylics, I often start with a toned canvas, again a transparent color such as red oxide or yellow, and then start blocking in my big shapes and build from there, eventually getting to smaller shapes and details.
"Square Foot Garden Series" by Nancy Laliberte
 Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?
In oil, I start with a basic palette of warms and cools of the primaries, plus burnt umber and some transparent colors that I was introduced to by Dreama–pretty much what is on her supply list.  I use walnut oil as my medium and no solvents indoors.  For acrylic painting, I mainly use Golden Open acrylics.  There was a bit of a learning curve, but now I love them. I use Golden acrylic glazing medium with them, or the Golden Open mediums and only use water to rinse my brush.  I use regular acrylics in a wide range of colors (warm and cool primaries, a few greens, violets, earth tones and luminous opera-love that color) and brands (Golden, Liquitex, Winsor & Newton, Holbein, Tri-Art) in my art journal and when painting small works.  They are fun to play and experiment with–more water, less water, drippy, chunky–that playground and laboratory thing.  I also use watercolor in my art journal and when traveling. I have a Winsor & Newton compact travel set, and some Yarka semi-moist pan watercolors that are marketed for kids, but have great color and are inexpensive.  I tend to paint wet on dry with my watercolors, and sometimes forget to save my whites! Painting in watercolor helps me be more aware of light since I need to think about that first and retaining the lights.  In oils and acrylics, you can “turn on the lights” toward the end of the process and it’s all good.

Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration?
I have many favorites and they are all inspiring in different ways:  the Impressionists–European, American and Russian; Georgia O’Keefe; my artist friends and fellow bloggers, especially artist Moms, and of course, my family.  I recently started teaching some new art journaling and painting classes, and as I walked out the door for my painting class, my husband said, “Now go have fun and live your dream.”
"Simply Red" original acrylic by Nancy Laliberte
 What have been some of your crowning achievements?
Winning Best of Show in the first show I entered when I started painting was a big one.  It was a themed show, and I thought my painting was going to be rejected because I didn’t follow the theme exactly as the other artists.  Instead the judge loved it for that very reason.  It just goes to show how important it is to just get your art out there and take some risks.  I have won top awards in other international, national and local shows, but truly, just being able to have a studio and create art is my biggest crowning achievement.  It is a dream come true.
"Bearded Iris" sketch by Nancy Laliberte

What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)
  1. Continue to enjoy painting, teaching and growing my art business
  2. Traipse around Europe and paint
  3. Get accepted into some of the more prestigious shows
  4. Have every painting I paint, sell (you said dream big)
  5. Have my house and studio clutter-free, and stay that way (really dreaming big now!)
"Life in a Fish Bowl" sketch by Nancy Laliberte

What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?
Just keep painting and when you feel like giving up, don’t!  Stick with it and enjoy the process, don’t worry about the end result. Also, keep an art journal, and listen to the Artist Helping Artist shows. 

What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?
Don’t ever give up; when life is crazy busy, don’t worry about the dishes or housework, just carve out 30 minutes a day to work on your art, it will make a difference; treat it like a business; stop at 90% (with your painting); and my new favorite, “Don’t want someone else’s gift, want the gift you have.” Artist Liz Wiltzen recently posted that and it really struck a chord with me.
"What's for Dinner" sketch by Nancy Laliberte

Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate (DARK)
Your dream vacation spot?
Can we change that to spots so I can list more than one?  Hawaii, Europe, the Mediterranean, and I will have my paints and sketchbook with me, along with my family or anyone else who wants to chum along.
Book or movie?
Book, definitely.
Favorite author?
I don’t have one in particular.  I just enjoy reading a good book, usually ones recommended by friends and fellow artists.
Favorite movie?
Gone with the Wind
Romance or comedy?
Romantic comedy (laughter is good medicine)
Favorite dessert?
Anything with dark chocolate
Night owl or morning person?
Morning, definitely.

Thank you , Nancy!!!  I just love your work and wish I lived closer to learn your creative sketching techniques.
******************NEWS *******************
I have a 3 day workshop coming up.  If you're interested don't wait to long to sign up, space is limited!


  1. Good interview and another discovery of an unknown artist (to me!)!

  2. What a wonderful insight - Her work is gorgeous - and I love her sketches! :0)