89 Nancy Guzik

Nancy Guzik is a phenomenal American impressionist who paints in what she and her husband (and mentor), Richard Schmid, term the 'Grand Manner' style. She and Richard are an American treasure, teaching and painting for decades, currently at the school they founded, the Putney Painters in Vermont. Both have won multiple awards, and have published extremely popular books on the art and instruction of painting. Nancy's awards include a Grand Prize from Int. Artist, First Prizes from the Art Renewal Center and the Midwest Pastel Society, Best in Show from Fine Art Views, three gold medals from The Palette & Chisel Academy in Chicago, honor awards from the Portrait Society of America and the Cecelia Beaux Forum, and many others.

'Making of the Quilt'

     Nancy Guzik studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, the Palette & Chisel Academy where she met Richard (as well as students Scott Burdick and Rose Frantzen), and the Lyme Academy of Fine Art. But, her love of art started as a child, with two prints by Renoir that hung in her room. In this interview with Norman Kolpas (Southwest Art, 1999) she says, “I remember looking at them all the time. I couldn’t believe that someone could draw a line on a piece of paper and communicate something. It was like magic to me.”

'Autumn Grace'

Nancy drew throughout her childhood and high school, despite her teachers warning there was no future in it. Fortunately her mother encouraged her, and she found a job in animation, working for ten years on cartoons of fairy tales like the Gingerbread Man, and commercials for Cap'n Crunch (Southwest Art, 1999). "I absolutely loved it. I trained my eye to capture movement, and I think that has helped my painting to this day.”

'Janice & Zorro'

Her fellow animators encouraged her to study art at university, where she eventually met Richard (she first fell in love with his art). According to Nancy's website, "Richard describes the Grand Manner as a certain mingling of virtuosity and unrestrained joy in Art. . . . He taught me to identify and understand what I am passionate about and then paint it."

'Warm Tea'

Richard is a fan as well, saying (Southwest Art, 1999)“It is her chaste skill at painting and her irrepressible enthusiasm at being alive that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary and makes her art so haunting.” For her part, Nancy gives one secret to her process in this 2014 interview for Southwest Art, “I wait for that inspiration—the lighting, or color, or whatever it is—and I know I can’t start until I see it,” she explains. “That’s what the magic is; something clicks inside. It’s a beautiful mystery, and even through whatever problems come up in the painting, I want to grasp and hold that inspiration to the end.”

Nancy has an intimate knowledge of color; she must know every tube and color available, and how they all mix together - 'the beautiful mystery', as she calls it, of which colors go best together, focusing on cool blue greens next to intensely hot oranges and yellows. It's no accident, she'll even peel a grapefruit to get the most intense colors underneath. 

'Summer Stories'

Nancy especially enjoys painting children, saying on her website, “There is something that all children are born with that I connect with. As my painting begins to unfold, the child and I are drawn together into a magical process of creativity. Meeting on this creative level, we journey together into the realm of imagination -- and into the world of art we go.” She says further for Southwest Art (1999), “they’re so honest in what they do and what they say, and their honesty is something to learn from."

'Spring Teacups'

On the importance of art, Nancy states (Southwest 1999), “I think what people hunger for in art is the artist’s willingness to go deep down inside and share an inner experience,” she says. “That experience can be good or bad, but when it is expressed as art, it is always beautiful. And we need that kind of beauty for our spiritual nourishment.”

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'Two Spoons'

'Grapefruit & Grapes'

'Catherine La Rose'

'Nasturtiums & Gold'