Thursday, December 3, 2009

Roadside impressions from life

By Melody Gustafson
NEGLEY -- Driving from the Peace Valley Orchard on the skinny and windy Millrock Road, around a tight bend Eastern Flash passed a woman standing over her board and oil, her sight overlooking the grade that rolls toward the creek.

The driver asked, "Do you want to go back?" The photographer said yes.

Although the only car on the road drove by her a second time, her face didn't turn from her task.

Nancy Hawkins becomes so absorbed in her peace of mind that she seemed not to notice the reporters until they were at her side.

Her inspiration comes from a love for God's creations and she finds that she applies her Quaker approach to worship, seeking "God's word within," to her process. Focused introspection operates as a technique that serves both her spirituality and her art.

She drives around the countryside with friends and family searching for "paintable scenes" and while enamored with the ominous beauty of the natural landscape, the full majesty of these moments eludes her brush.

"The experience of translating what I see into my painting gives a felt sense of connection to life in that moment of time," Hawkins wrote on her website.

A member of The Ohio Plein Air Society (OPAS), a non-profit organization that celebrates love for art and nature, her impressionist style thrives on natural light and open air. Impressionism incorporated "plein air" as an integral aspect in the nineteenth century.

She won first place in the OPAS Plein Air Competition 2009 for her oil, "Catawba Island Peninsula." Her paintings are for sale, and she displays some of them with price on her website, . Hawkins has a Bachelor Degree of Fine Art in painting and drawing from KSU, and has shown her work in the East Liverpool gallery before.

To explore OPAS further, go to .
(Photo by Mike Canaday, Nikon D90)