Stamper talks about painting

By Page H. Gifford

Nance Stamper’s work is suggestive, celebrating those quiet moments people love, like the image of a lone kayaker on tranquil waters in the early morning. Her forms and moods emerge out of light and bright colors, solidifying her style as an artist. The people in her paintings use subtle movements to convey stillness and solitude, mostly drifting along the water in a kayak.

Her still lifes feature the same quietness, whether it is a bicycle leaning up against a barn or a large thumbtack. Stamper uses a variety of subjects for painting and anything is possible.

It was in the ninth grade that Stamper took her first art class and she said she was hooked though she never pursued art then. When she moved to the lake 41 years ago, she started silk-screening and signed up for a drawing class in the county. The class was canceled so she took an oil painting class instead. Like many artists, she favors oils for their flexibility. Because they do not dry immediately, they can be worked with over time.

“I loved the smell and mixing the colors. I now use mostly acrylics, but love to mix it up – acrylics and oils – even in the same painting,” she said. She is not afraid of experimentation.

Stamper is mostly a self-taught artist, learning to paint using books, videos, formal and informal courses, “and trial and error.” She has been painting now for about 35 years but said she is still looking for that drawing class.

Stamper’s work is classified as modern impressionistic and she said that artists, including Mary Cassatt, influenced her work.

“I like how she lovingly portrays women with children and women with women and everyone is wearing a hat. So many hats. But my two favorite paintings are Springtime and The Storm by Pierre-Auguste Cot. I don’t know too much about this artist but these paintings are so big and magnificent,” she said. “The young girl’s white dress and the couple’s infatuated faces are so incredibly painted. These are paintings that I want to jump into. This is whimsical realism.” She added that if she could meet one of her favorite artists, it would be Cot so she could learn how he created his works of art.

Like those she admires, Stamper’s work has realism, mostly through the mood she creates using light and color.

“Life inspires my art. All of God’s awesome creations. The lake, the sky, birds, flowers, trees, people, boats, colors, words, music, old and worn-out things, new things — I could go on and on. Hence, I paint many different subjects,” she said. “My friend says that if you stand still too long around me, I’ll paint you. Many of my paintings come with stories and are of places that I want to jump into before, during, and after I have painted them. Someone once said that my style is whimsical realism. I like that.”

Artists often have several ongoing projects but then there are moments when nothing comes to mind.

“I now have a blank canvas staring at me on my easel, but the paints are out.”

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