2015 SWIC Art Faculty Show – Interview #2

Our exhibition of artwork by the art faculty of Southwestern Illinois College is now open through February 26th. Sculpture, painting, ceramics, drawing, digital images, photography, and mixed media all show the diversity and talent of the faculty artists. 

The faculty is not spared from our intern Kailey’s interviews. Below, Nancy Friederich answers her questions.

Nancy Friederich's "Into the Japanese Garden", oil on paper

Nancy Friederich’s “Into the Japanese Garden”

When did you know the arts were what you wanted to do, long-term?
I was in my early 30s, and a friend was taking a casual studio class one night a week, and turning out some good work.  I looked at her paintings and just knew that I could make art too.  My third child was very young, so I had to wait until he began school, and I joined her art group.  I was hooked immediately, and the rest is history.

What inspires you the most?
I love nature.  The symphony of color and texture in my flower garden is a constant source of inspiration.

What is your current favorite medium?
My early paintings were in oil, but I was soon drawn to watercolors, and worked in that medium for 20 years.  It was not until graduate school that I rediscovered oil paint, but I prefer painting in oil on watercolor paper.  For me, it is a great marriage.

When you are working, what do you listen to, if anything?
I love piano music, both classical and contemporary.  I light a candle too, and then I take a deep breath and squeeze out the paint.

What piece are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the large iris painting that I did a few years ago.  I struggled with it and repainted it three times until it was finally right.  It took me 14 months to complete.

What would you like to be remembered for?
I hope people remember me as a good person.

Have you ever regretted making something and showing it?
Oh yes.  One of my very first paintings ever was a mountain scene.  I had never seen a mountain in real life at that point, so I have no idea why I thought I could paint one.  I sold it at my yard sale for $5, and was lucky to get that much for it.  It was a terrible painting.  The lady who bought it still has it hanging in her house.  I have offered to buy it back, but she will not sell it.  She thinks it was be valuable someday.  Poor thing.

What is the best comment you have ever received?
Friends and colleagues are always so kind in reference to my work, but I have had some pretty scathing comments in my art school critiques.  I usually had it coming to me.

What would you like to accomplish in the next five years?
I would like to spend more time at the easel.  Of late, I have spent a great deal of time on other projects, and as soon as they are complete, I will be back in the paint.

What is your go-to snack when working?
Anything and everything.

If you could be anyone (Seriously, anyone. Past/present/future/nonexistent/existent. You get the idea.) who would you be and why?
Just for one day, I would love to have been part of the Impressionists group, painting in the streets of Montmartre, and comparing notes after a day’s work over a cocktail.

Thanks again to Nancy for answering our questions!

Posted by Jessica Mannisi, assistant curator
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