Nancy Barry-Jansson has been drawing since she was old enough to hold a pencil, and lucky enough to have a technical drawing instructor who served as her mentor during high school in western upstate New York. In her teens, she was taught the basics of shade and shadow, bone structure (for figure work), and color theory. By the time she got to college, she was well-versed in these subjects and ready to take her skills to the next level.
Although she was accepted at Carnegie-Mellon University’s Fine Art program, the death of her father brought about a change of plans. She moved to Salt Lake City, sight unseen, to attend the College of Fine Art at the University of Utah, her mentor’s alma mater. Though neither Mormon nor a skier, she acclimated to the experience and graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelors in Fine Art (Painting and Drawing), minor in Arts Administration. After graduation, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she settled down.
Since college, Nancy has worked in a variety of industries, both non-creative and creative. After working at Adobe Systems, Inc. as their Presentation Coordinator, creating and managing 110 presentations a year, she became self-employed as an illustrator and presentation designer in 1994. Since then, she’s helped many companies create templates and presentations and has been sought-after technical coach teaching creative and non-creative software programs in 1:1 phone sessions.
Nancy was a member of the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society from 2000-2010, serving as their webmaster from 2000-2004. In 2001, Nancy founded Artists for Open Space with 6 other Bay Area artists. In 2004, she left the group to focus on her commercial business and the group disbanded a year later. She has taught drawing classes for Michael’s Cupertino and Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, CA.
I’ve been working as an artist for so long, and my art has undergone many shifts. My early pieces were primarily tightly crafted representational works, and it has slowly shifted to looser, representational work that borders on the abstract. As I progress, I find myself bored with trying to replicate a photograph. Cameras do this so much faster and more accurately.
As a creative artist, I am more intrigued by the ability to manipulate color, shape, and composition, and have moved from acrylic and oils to watercolor. Watercolor is exciting and unpredictable, two factors that long-time artists are attracted to, and I am no exception. I also enjoy mixing watercolor with other media, including Prismacolor ArtStix and Pencils, a wax-based color drawing medium. The combination creates more the the separate media can produce on their own.