My canvas is a story or conversation that takes place between me the artist, the subject and the canvas. Each journey is a new challenge and sometimes the process, the learning that comes from failures along the way, is more important than the end product. Technical proficiency is an ongoing process as is the work to develop one’s own style. Studying with artists whose work I admire and learning from history is important and enjoyable me, but ultimately I have to believe in my own vision to be authentic. I strive to create a strong dynamic of light and shadow in my work and a place where the viewer might find reason to reflect and enter into the conversation.
Painting is a solitary journey for me, demanding hard work and reflection and giving great satisfaction. If occasionally someone else comes along for the ride, that just adds to the joy.
Born and raised in Indiana, Nancy Maxwell has spent most of her life as a resident in Morgan County. She and her husband, Chris, are parents of two grown children.
After concentrating on art in high school, Maxwell went on to earn a BA in Fine Arts and an MS in Art Education at Indiana University and taught art in public schools for approximately 20 years.
Active in various local and regional art and community events, Maxwell maintains a studio at Art Sanctuary in Martinsville where she has served on its Board of Directors. She serves on the local CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) and the Indiana Arts Commission Regional Advisory Commission, working to promote awareness of the arts and artisan based tourism in Indiana. She is frequently called on to judge regional shows and county fair youth exhibits (where judging is “open”) because of her teaching expertise. She frequently speaks and demonstrates to community groups on the role of the arts in the community.
Working primarily in oils, Maxwell is both a plein air and a studio painter. Studies and workshops with Antonius Raemaker, Ron Mack, Ned Mueller, Debra Huse, Douglas David among others serve to update her skills and challenge her focus. Maxwell is well known for her light filled landscapes and can be seen frequently out in the fields and woods of central Indiana painting on site. Fine line pen and ink drawings are also part of her ongoing work.
She is an active and regularly exhibiting member of the Indiana Plein Air Painters Association, Hoosier Salon and Indiana Heritage Arts and a member of the Brown County Art Gallery where she shows her work and serves on the Board.
Having received numerous local and state awards, she was part of the “Thirteen Exceptional Indiana Artists” show at TOP (Traditional Oil Painters) Gallery, Bloomington, the Alcove at the Conrad, “En Plein Air” exhibit (Indianapolis), both invitational. She was selected as one of the top ten plein air painters in the state as she was juried in to the Painting Indiana II: The Changing Face of Agriculture book project, and had ten original works included in the book.
During her public school teaching career Maxwell was selected for an Eli Lilly Fellowship Grant enabling her to study textiles and design in Japan. Her research there was used back in the classroom settings to encourage a new understanding of design, cultural influences and color usage, as well as adding depth to her own painting and fabric design work.
Always striving for better work, and new challenges, Maxwell is a committed teacher and holds regular open studio work sessions in both painting and drawing for students of all skill levels. Comfortable teaching a group or working one on one she is able to clearly and comfortably communicate skills and concepts that help her students find their own successes.
Combining a competent skill set with the challenge of each new painting, whether from life or her own photographs, Maxwell’s work is a sentimental conversation with the Midwest.
Her work can be seen at Brown County Art Gallery in Nashville, IN and at Art Sanctuary in Martinsville, IN.