Nancy J. Mclaughlin

Nancy was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1954 and began her art-making pursuits at a very young age. In 1976 she earned a BFA in painting and creative writing from Bowling Green State University, then worked as a substitute art teacher in Arizona before moving to Seattle in 1978. Due to a lack of viable work in teaching and artist’s fields, she became a locomotive engineer for Burlington Northern Santa Fe while remaining devoted to her painting practice. From 1980 until her retirement in 2014 she experienced the Northwest from the unique and challenging perspective of the driver’s seat of a freight train.

When away from the railroad, Nancy took full advantage of the surrounding wild country; hiking, backpacking, and skiing in the mountains, then depicting what she saw and experienced in her paintings. Her work is influenced and inspired by many artists and techniques, including Emily Carr and the Canadian Group of Seven, abstract expressionism, and contemporary urban art. Her paintings have won numerous awards and are included in many private collections including Microsoft.

Nancy currently works at her home studio and divides her time between Prescott, in northwestern Arizona, and Copalis Beach, on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state.



A Journey Back

The goal and purpose of my art is to conjure up the perceptions of childhood. The act of painting a picture is, in itself, an innocent act of blind faith. We once knew with unquestioning wonder that the universe is truly magical. When we experience life from a place of excitement and discovery, anything becomes possible.
I work with fluid and heavy body acrylic paint on canvas and paper, often integrated with crayon, pastel, and colored pencil. My compositions include both naturalistic and purely non-objective forms. I enjoy working within the tension that develops between the abstract and representational, while using gestural brushwork, mark-making and a vibrant color palette. I focus on transforming the literal version into my own whimsical creation. My best work invites the viewer to experience a direct and dynamic expression of the complexities of nature.

Overflow “Overflow”

Acrylic on canvas
50x30 in.

Opening “Opening”

Acrylic on canvas
40x54 in.

Cumulus and the Wildfire “Cumulus and the Wildfire”

Acrylic on canvas
48x44 in.

Flying Fleur de lis “Flying Fleur de lis ”

Acrylic on canvas
40x54 in.

Wonderland “Wonderland”

Acrylic on canvas
54x38 in.

Among the Cottonwoods “Among the Cottonwoods”

Acrylic on canvas
36x54 in.