an interview with Nancy Regens who will show her work at ‘The Happy Artist’ (my place)

On saturday april 1th Nancy Regens’ exhibition of her art will start. You probably want to know a little bit more about her, so I asked her a lot of questions, which she answered with flair and enthousiasm. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did.
Mariska: Hi, Nancy,
Welcome here! I’m so happy that you are showing your paintings at my place!
I love them very, very much!
I want to ask you some questions about you and your art.
I understand that this is the first time you’re showing your work to other public than your husband or direct friends. Can you tell me why this is?
Yes, very few people have seen any of my artwork. While in middle school I remember my art teacher sarcastically saying, “Well, I hope you are not planning on making a living in art!”
But about 15 years ago I found myself painting every room of my house and porches. I mean walls were different colors. Then I started collecting art of all sorts. And before I knew it I was told I had a “good eye”. I would move things around – furniture, art objects, paintings, etc until they looked good to me. People would ask me – are you an artist? I’d say no. Then a common comment began – it looks like your house is your canvas.
A few years ago a friend asked me to go with him to a drawing class. Since I travel so much I missed probably half of the classes. After awhile I figured out online art classes would work better for me since my attendance was not stellar.
Being in The Netherlands has given me the time, space and inspiration to delve into my more artistic side.
It has been very rewarding and a lot of fun!
Mariska: Can you tell me how you ‘work’? Do you have a routine? Do you have any habits concerning making art?
Nancy: A very important part is music. I have to have that. We are lucky to have a great sound system in our rented apartment here. So I crank it up, dance and begin putting paint on the blank canvas in a random manner with no intentions. I find my paintings are better if I do not have an idea of what I’m going to paint when I begin. And after a few layers I begin looking for things. I begin pulling these things out and then begin looking at color, lines, composition, etc. When I plan something out too far ahead of time I get frustrated very quickly. I let the painting come to me.
Mariska: What inspires you? How come?
Nancy: I’ve been taking photographs for a few years now. This makes me look – really look at things around me. I work with Lightroom and again this helps me hone my visual skills.
After retiring I decided to become a docent at the University of Arizona Museum of Art. I love sharing art with people of all ages. I use VTS – Visual Thinking Strategies to get art patrons to look over a longer period of time. We talk about what they see and what exactly they see that makes them say that. Listening to others talk about their experiences with the same piece of art is very important. The group is stronger than one individual art patron. I believe in looking at a few pieces of art for a longer period of time rather than quickly seeing many works of art. The docent experiences began to make me think – maybe I could make art.
Mariska: What does making art mean to you? How does it make you feel?
Nancy:I like your question – not what does art mean to me but what does making art mean to me. Making art is like an itch that has to be scratched. I have to do it now!
Creating art is such an intense experience that time flies by when I’m making art. The music helps carry me along as well. The feeling is all consuming! And I find if I go too many days without working on some art project I feel something is missing in my life. I truly miss it! Creating art definitely makes me feel more alive.
Mariska: What is the first creative moment you remember?
Nancy: I think that was when I felt compelled to paint the walls of my home and collect art and other artistic objects to fill it. I think that was my first positive art experience. Until then I never thought of myself as an artist. When growing up my parents were very practical. They both grew up in the Midwest. And art was not practical. They wanted me to support myself – teaching or nursing careers were my options.
Mariska: What artists are a model for you or do you like a lot? Why?
Nancy: There are so many. I find artist models everywhere. My husband, Steve and I just went to see the street photographer Ed van der Elsken’s exhibit at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. It definitely made me think about where he found inspiration and how he went about creating it. His motto was “show the world who you are.” The word here for me is “show”. Showing my work is difficult for me.
Mariska: You seem to be travelling quite a lot? Does that influence your art? In what way?
Nancy:Travel is very important to me. I love seeing new places, visiting old places I’ve made connections with, meeting new people and visiting friends I’ve made earlier in my life. When I travel I use my camera to capture what I’m seeing and try to convey what I’m feeling. I’m always looking around for a photo shot. These skills come in handy when I’m looking at my canvas for what I can find there. Through this I bring out what is inside of me.
Mariska: What do you dream about?
Nancy: I feel like I am living my dream. Steve and I are here in Leiden, enjoying the Dutch lifestyle. I’m painting and Steve is writing and giving talks. Now I’m having an art show with live music. Don’t think it can get better than that!
Mariska: What are your plans concerning the art?
Nancy: So far I’ve concentrated on making art–paintings and photographs. But slowly I’ve been shifting towards showing others what I’ve been doing. I now have a website via Zenfolio and I post on Instagram. This art show is my first but I’m planning on having a show for my friends and family at my home sometime after I return to Tucson. We have art studio tours a couple times a year in Tucson. So I’ll try to get into that.
Finally I want to thank Mariska Eyck for this opportunity to show my work. She has been very support and positive. She even loaned me a table easel. I’m super excited about the live music at the opening.
Next I want to thank my “head cheerleader”, my husband, Stephen Pompea. He brings home new canvases when I’ve painted on all of the others. He gives me encouraging words at times when I’m doubting myself.
And now:
You’re welcome to enjoy Nancy’s work at my place.
Saturday april 1th we will have an opening party with live-music from Boys on the Edge and the Girl.
Join us from 4 to 6.
Nancy’s paintings will be here until may 6thand can be seen every saturday (except on april 8thwhen the place is closed) from 12 till 5.
Mariska Eyck’s gallery/studio/shop ‘The Happy Painter’
Rijnsburgerweg 75, Leiden
Nancy on the internet:

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