Nancy Oleata in the Joyce Oroz

I am very excited that Nancy Oleata has agreed to tell us her story, and of course I will share it with you. She is an active member of the Aromas Hills Artisans group and a top-notch artist. The pictures of her work speak for themselves.

Please tell us about yourself, Nancy.

I was born in Washington state but never lived there. I have lived in every city on the Monterey Peninsula and now reside in Prunedale. I have a daughter, a son and 4 grandson's 4,5,6, and 14 and believe me they are a handful. I was married to my husband Mike for 39 years and last May lost him to cancer. Needless to say my life has changed. I now have an urge to make as much art as I can.

Were you always a creative person?

As a child I was always drawing and art was my favorite subject. My father was an abstract painter and I have many memories of him painting in his studio. I graduated from Carmel High and attended MPC for a while before marrying. When my kids were older I got a job as a floral designer and spent 15 years making floral art. It's not as much fun as some people think. Long hours at holiday times and many hours on your feet. I'd always painted at home but never showed anywhere. After taking a glass fusing class at MPC I decided it was time to quit my job and try my hand at art. The Aromas Hills Artisans was a great place to start. I met Linda Bjornson at open studios and she encouraged me to join the group.

What steps did you take once you decided to give up the floral design?

I've taken workshops in L.A. on fused glass lead by Roger Thomas. I just happened to find him on the web and really related to his style. He inspired me to try my hand at landscapes in glass which are so much fun. They take about 4-5 firings in the kiln before I'm satisfied. I also make practical pieces like plates and bowls but from an artists point of view. When I paint I like to start with a photo I've taken or some times a magazine photo will catch my eye. I think I'm a pretty fast painter and can usually finish a painting in a week. After a while you reach the point where you start overworking the piece. That's when it's time to stop. Although I have been know to change a painting after a couple of years if something about it bothers me. I switch back and forth from painting to glass whenever I get tired or frustrated with one.

Nancy, do you have other artistic things you like to do?

My other artistic endevers would be home decorating and gardening. I've taken 25 years to landscape my property and enjoy adding annual color.

Where can people find your lovely paintings and glass work?

I am currently showing my work in The Valley Art Gallery in old town Salinas and hope to expand to other galleries and the web in the future.

Thank you, Nancy for sharing with us today.


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