Representational to Figurative to Abstraction

Nancy Poes 

b. Elizabeth, NJ, 1951

For as long as I can remember I have had an inner drive to create.  Hands-on work always brings me joy.

At a very young age I was able to render images from reality.   I started to use watercolors because their set-up was simple and I grew to enjoy their lightness, delicacy and immediacy.  As a young adult I did a great many such paintings, honing my skill and insight. I studied history at UC Berkeley to solidify an academic understanding of the world. When it came time to make a living I built and persisted in a life devoted to painting. I married, bore two daughters, divorced and always painted.  For twenty years I painted landscape images (in the unequivocal beauty of Hawai’i) and was dedicated to and disciplined in the work.  Santa Fe followed as a painting home, with time spent in Montana, Cape Cod, Portugal, and Atlanta.  

I began creating colorful and more expressive, “figurative abstracts.”  I continually changed the medium, working in watercolor, pastel, oil, acrylic, gouache, oil pastel and collage.  I have always understood that the highest achievement would be to paint images that emanated solely from my imagination and heart, that others would understand, relate to and love…universality.

I strove to combine the ability to “copy” reality with imagined or created images and allowed myself to let my subconscious (or the consciousness just below the surface) to bring images to mind.  

Rote painting vs. inner expression;  standing in front of the flat surface and letting go; not thinking or putting rational meaning on the work; painting for the pure joy of it, for the love of it, for what could be discovered, for what I could express which was unknown before I started.  The work became strong and more interesting and it brought me different and delightful energy.

Over 50 years of painting and I still always look forward to what is coming next.  When I am low, uncertain or afraid, I think about the images that are floating through my mind and soul that have yet to come to life and I am lifted up.  I am so lucky to be a painter with a long, sustained creative life and to get to know through painting moments and places of great beauty.