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A Portrait of Nanette – The Painter

Over the next several months, we will get to know Nanette V. Hucknall, author of HOW TO LIVE FROM YOUR HEART (coming out this October!) in a Q&A series entitled “A Portrait of Nanette”. Many of you know her as a critically acclaimed author and founder of Higher Self Yoga. Throughout this series, we will share new insights about Nanette and shine a light on her many passions and interests.  We hope to be a source of inspiration that allows you to listen to your heart and let it guide you in all that you do.This week, we’re kicking off the Portrait of Nanette series by spotlighting Nanette as a painter and artist.

First, thank you so much for doing this interview! Can you tell us tell how you first got into art and painting?

I attended Cooper Union, majoring in Graphic Design and I also took a painting class each year I was there.

Swiss waterfallWhat was your very first painting and what was the inspiration for it?
Even though I did some painting in college, it wasn’t my main interest.  When I graduated, I saved my money for a year and went to Europe for six months with a friend. We traveled to every country, going to the cities and the countryside, seeing the beauty and unique charm of the different nations. Some of the nature I saw was so compelling that it awoke in me the urge to paint.

When I returned home I rented a room and immediately bought a large canvas, put it on a table with my paint cannisters and decided to paint a scene I saw from the top of the mountain in Salzburg, Austria.  I went to work during the day and came home every night and sat and looked at the blank canvas. I just couldn’t start it! Somehow I knew if it turned out badly that I would never paint again.

I did this every night for about two weeks. One night, as I sat there looking at the canvas, I heard a voice say very loudly, “For God’s sake, get up and paint!” It scared me so much that I did just that and painted the scene in 3 hours. It ended up being good enough for me to continue. Years later when I met my teacher I realized it was his voice.

How has your work developed since you first started painting?

It’s become more abstract and now I do a Gesso undercoat that gives texture to the painting.

Many of your paintings feature landscapes and natural settings. What does nature represent to you?

Nature brings beauty into my life. I’m fortunate to live on a lake surrounded by hills and mountains. I watch the sunset in the evenings reflecting on the water and the reflection of the sunrise in the mornings. The vibrancy of nature inspires everything I do.

What do you love about painting? How does it make you feel?

To me it’s completely getting in touch with feminine energy and the inspiration coming from the feminine. It’s also physical. I use my whole body when I paint. During the process, it’s never mental. Only when stepping back and looking at a painting does it get more into my mind.

Photo: Trish Mayo/Wikipedia Commons

Photo: Trish Mayo/Wikipedia Commons

What’s your favorite painting of yours and why?

Monet’s Blue Water Lilies at New York Modern Museum of Art.

What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?

My brushes and pallet knives, which I’ve had for many years.

Where are you finding ideas for your work these days?

Always in nature. I have some beautiful gardens that I’m thinking about painting.

What’s the last artwork you purchased?

A large painting by Shichan Takashima from her estate after she passed. She was a good friend of mine and a well-known Canadian artist.

What famous work of art do you wish you owned?

That blue Monet I mentioned or any of his work.

Who are your favorite artists (living or deceased)?

Monet and Nicholas Roerich. Most of the Impressionists, and I also like Turner, Picasso, de kooning, and Rothko. There are so many I like that this is difficult to answer.

Do you have any advice for budding artists?

Just let your heart guide you.

Check out Nanette’s artwork gallery where a small collections of her paintings is featured.

Claude Monet, Water Lilies, The Museum of Modern Art – New York, photo by Daniel Miller

Claude Monet, Water Lilies, The Museum of Modern Art – New York, photo by Daniel Miller

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