By Debbie Hall
Art has reached out to Nancy Stillwell over the years and at this stage of her life, she has been able to share her talent. Along with her creative endeavors, Stillwell is a busy wife and loving daughter who also cares for her 91-year-old mother.
The first time Stillwell remembers creative stirrings was through the influence of her father. During the holidays, he would take down the large mirror that hung in their living room. After blending his own colors, her father would paint a Christmas scene on the mirror, using a Christmas card as his guide.
“When I was in junior high, I showed an interest in art and loved it,” she said. “My parents actually invested in a correspondence course in art for me.”
But life took over and while her background was in fashion retailing, it was in her late 20s when Stillwell decided to pursue her artistic endeavors. Stillwell realized that her passion was art and wanted to develop it further. She came up with a solution to operate her own cleaning business so that she could set her own hours and devote more time to creating her artwork.
Over the years, Stillwell would take classes, draw and paint in various mediums but still found it difficult to put her entire self into it.
“I considered art more of a leisure thing and I always wanted to get my work done first before I focused on art. But let’s face it, when is work ever really done?” she admitted.
Ironically, it was when she and her husband lived in the small town of Tonopah, Nevada that Stillwell could really follow her passion. At first, Stillwell was discouraged but realized it was the history of her surroundings that inspired her and her art flourished. Stillwell also discovered that she loved to teach art as well.
“It is an evolving process but my art has really changed. I was started in realism in oils but that was actually stressful. I changed to abstract with design and color and was having fun,” she stated. “I express myself with intuition and I now play with art. It is therapy and good for my health.”
She has created her own medium which Stillwell calls “scribble art.” She takes a piece of very white paper and black permanent maker and scribbles. Stillwell then looks at the paper in different angles and uses watercolor markers and fills in the shapes. “It taps into my intuitive process. This is a wonderful way to become creative using scribbles.”
As well as dealing with other health issues, another obstacle occurred when Stillwell was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease five years ago. Because of this, she also experienced freedom when Stillwell’s spiritual life changed and she embraces love and not perfection or rigid perceptions.
While her health affects her daily life, as Stillwell stated, “I love art so much and it does so much for me, that I will always find a way to express myself.”
Stillwell displays her art in various businesses in Pahrump and is a part of the Southern Nevada art community. She loves creating art whether alone or with other people and Stillwell encourages others to find their own creativity. Stillwell is a member of Friends of Parkinson’s, a nonprofit organization that connects and supports the Parkinson’s disease community. For more information, call 702.381.4141 or visit friendsofparkinsons.org.