Nancy has always been interested in art and nature. She was born in Southfield, Michigan, and later moved to Florida, working her way through college in Jacksonville. After graduation, she worked in conservation law enforcement as a Duty Officer for the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission. Her interests in painting and nature eventually led to a career in wildlife art. Lacking extensive formal training, she believes her artistic ability was an inborn gift from her father, the noted artist Boyd A. Zimmer II.
Early in her career Nancy was presented with 2nd and 3rd place awards in the World Wildlife Art Championships. Her work is internationally known and found in galleries, state museums, and private collections.
Education efforts are important to Nancy. She created T-shirt and jewelry designs for the Florida Wildlife Federation. She was commissioned by the New Jersey Conservation Officers Police Benevolent Association (PBA) to create the limited edition art print Nature's Legacy. The print commemorates the centennial celebration of the State's Division of Fish, Game, and Wildlife. The funds raised from the sale of the prints act as tuition grants for college students interested in biology or conservation law enforcement. The original painting was donated to the New Jersey State Museum by PBA Local 120.
Nancy strives for accuracy and realism in her work and continues to strengthen her commitment to furthering conservation awareness. After spending over six years in the capitol region while her husband served at the Pentagon, Nancy and her family now joyfully reside in rural Montana where she continues to create new works and has become an award-winning and bestselling author, sharing her life in the still somewhat wild west. Most recently she has started her own line of designer clothing and home goods featuing her artworks, which is produced and marketed through Le Galeriste of Canada.
Thoughts from the easel...
I believe art has a purpose other than decorating our walls. I think it can touch our minds and our hearts. When I sit down to create art, I think about how best to give an animal or bird a soul and how to foster an emotion on canvas, paper, or precious metal. If I can have a positive effect in someone's life, then my work has served an important purpose. I remember a particular story of a woman who lived alone. She told me of the forlornness she felt each day sitting by herself for every meal. After she framed and hung up my barn owl limited edition print in her dining room, she noticed how lifelike the image was and so gave it a name. As time passed she began to talk to it and soon she no longer dreaded mealtime because she felt as though she had some company. It is a true blessing for me when clients write and tell me how my art has made them or a loved one happy. Each of their personal stories is remarkable and unique, and their enjoyment keeps me motivated, making my work a pleasure.
Before I create an artwork, I first have to make some kind of a connection with the subject bird or animal. I prefer to physically handle and study the wildlife prior to painting, drawing, or sculpting it. I look for its individual personality, as well as what physical and behavioral characteristics are common to its species. Above all I want to evoke a feeling and understanding of what is amazing about them in nature. It is challenging work. I have laughed and enjoyed animal antics and I have also escaped some potentially serious injuries. Working with wild animals is a risk and I handle them carefully with an educated and well thought out plan. Happily, I rarely suffer a boring day and I am always learning something new.
To experience the call of the natural world one must be silent, so I prefer solitude when I am at my easel. Through quiet introspection I contemplate the best way to portray the special qualities of each subject, be it the fierce strength, vulnerability, graceful beauty, determination, cunning, or loyalty common to its species. I hope each time you look into the eyes and study the body language of the animals in my artwork, you will see and feel these emotions. If so, then I have succeeded in helping you find your own connection to nature through art.