For an artist like Nancy Eckels, whose inspiration comes, largely, from her time spent in nature, it makes sense to live in a place like Sand Canyon. When she and her husband, Don Thorne, began looking for a house, they wanted a bigger piece of property than they could find in the San Fernando Valley.
“I saw a small ad in a newspaper talking about acre-plus lots,” Eckels explained. “We came out to look, and the rest is history.”
They built a house in the canyon and moved into it in August of 1993, about six months before the 6.7-magnitude Northridge earthquake.
“While it was happening we thought, ‘Oh no, our brand new house is going to come down around us,’ but it, and we, survived in good shape,” she said.
That was good news in and of itself, and ever since, the couple has been happy with their decision. “We love Sand Canyon,” Eckels said. “It’s quiet and friendly.”
An artist who does mostly abstract painting and mixed media, Eckels has also dabbled in sculpture, but not often, due to a lack of time. Two decades ago, she left a 25-year career in television to pursue art full-time. She joined the Santa Clarita Artists Association, a group where she’s met and made friends with many fellow artists. Eckels will present a demonstration at the non-profit organization’s meeting next month.
The natural beauty that influences much of her work began to make its mark long ago.
“My Dad took all of us to many national parks when my sister and I were young,” Eckels said. “I’m sure the beauty of nature that I learned to appreciate with him is part of my inspiration.”
Color is important in Eckels’ artwork. “Sometimes just seeing a combination of colors will inspire a painting,” she explained. “I recently told someone at the gym that I was going to do a painting based on the colors of his shoes and socks. He probably thought I was a little strange.”
The colors of the ocean are a part of her work as well. She recently created several paintings based on tropical waters.
Her career in television production included many jobs and titles from receptionist and producer’s assistant to game show writer and associate director. Her final TV job was director on the daytime drama “The Bold and The Beautiful.”
It was that creative side that helped Eckels through a diagnosis of breast cancer five years ago. She said it was painting, her passion for poker, and her husband, Don, who got her through treatment.
“During my initial diagnosis, the Sheila Veloz Breast Center was very caring and helpful as far as getting me to the right people for my treatment. This included Dr. Gregory Senofsky, my surgeon,” said Eckels, who was also pleased with her oncologist, Dr. John Barstis, who has since retired. “My treatment has been through UCLA Oncology out here in Santa Clarita. My current doctor, who is supervising my ongoing treatment, is Dr. Rena Callahan, who I also like very much.”
Nancy plays once a week in the SCV Poker League, which she calls “a friendly group.” (SCVPoker.com)
“I also like playing a big tournament in Las Vegas every now and then,” she added.
Nancy Eckels pays it forward by offering guidance to others, including her work with the Santa Clarita Artists Association, a group Eckels applauds for staying active and giving members a way to show their creativity. She will demonstrate abstract acrylic painting at next month’s meeting at Barnes & Noble on August 20, and the public is welcome to attend (see below).
Abstract Acrylic Demo at Barnes & Noble
Nancy Eckels will demonstrate acrylic painting at the Aug 20, 2018 meeting of the Santa Clarita Artists Association (SCAA). This event is free, open to the public and meets at 6:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 23630 Valencia Blvd. in Santa Clarita.
Since her work is totally abstract, it comes entirely from Eckels’ head, heart, and imagination, according to a release by the SCAA. Anything that has contributed to her sense of color, texture and composition becomes the basis of what eventually comes from her hands and brushes.
“A creative block is overcome only by working on your art, not sitting on a couch waiting for inspiration,” Eckels said. “My paintings are a combination of sculpture and painting. I begin with a texture medium, which I sculpt by shaping, carving and manipulating on the canvas. When I apply the texture, I keep in mind a loose composition and try to imagine what it might become. I want to make something new. I’ve often thought that abstract art is the purest form of what people consider a one-of-a-kind art.”
Eckels often experiments with combinations of color, making colors pop against each other, pulling some forward and pushing some back to create depth.
“I love making the texture, color and composition – the ONLY things I need to concentrate on when I create,” she explained. “It’s just so freeing to my imagination.”
For more information about her artwork, visit NancyEckels.com.
To attend the demonstration, arrive early, as there will likely be standing room only by 6:30 p.m. For more information about the event, visit SantaClaritaArtists.org.