Artistic Excellence 2016 | Honorable Mention: Eileen Nistler


Eileen Nistler, A Study of Beets, colored pencil, 8 x 13

Eileen Nistler, A Study of Beets, colored pencil, 8 x 13

What inspired your winning entry? My father brought me some beets from his garden. I set them on the counter, and they looked so pretty that I took some reference photos.

Where did you study art? I graduated from Louisiana Tech University with degrees in architecture.

What artists have influenced your work? Charles Harrington was my teacher in college, and his watercolors were the first major influence. The biggest influence was in an art group. One of my friends held up a portrait in colored pencil by Carrie Ballantyne, and I was hooked. I read every book I could put my hands on and taught myself about colored pencils.

What is your creative process? I set up still lifes to create as much drama as possible with the light. I drag out every vase, every board, and every piece of fabric I own, and sometimes it works.

What’s the most meaningful recognition you’ve received for your artwork? I have been blessed with many prestigious awards, but the best recognition came a few weeks ago when someone said they began their art career because they saw my work.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? I asked a landscape photographer how often he got the quality shots he had in his gallery. He told me he usually got two or three photos a year that were good enough to sell. This inspired me to take thousands and thousands of reference photos to find the ones with the qualities I want to capture in my paintings.

What is one thing you’ll never paint? Commissioned portraits.

When you’re not painting, what do you enjoy doing? I really enjoyed volunteering at my gallery as the art director. I also love to read.

What galleries represent your work? 1875 Gallery, Sundance, WY.

This story was featured in the December 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  December 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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