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nancy takaichi

Oil Painting

Plein air painter, Nancy Takaichi, lives in San Jose where sunlight is plentiful, and a variety of scenery is within a short drive of her home. She grew up near Cincinnati, Ohio and went to DePauw University in Indiana where she majored in art, with a painting emphasis. She spent a semester in New York City as an apprentice to Jack Beal and Jane Frelicher in the late 70s. All of this instilled in her a strong foundation in figure, landscape, still life, and art history. Upon graduating, she traveled cross-country to San Jose, with the hopes of getting her MFA, and then teaching art while painting. But then life happened.  She needed a job first, and ended up making a 30-year career in event planning and marketing in Silicon Valley, while raising a family.


When she picked up a brush to paint again in 2012, her first studio was the great outdoors. After four years of refreshing her skills, she started to enter plein air events. She won 2016 and 2017 Best of Show in North Lake Tahoe Plein Air, as well as 2017 and 2018 First Place and Best of Show in Frank Bette Plein Air Paintout (Alameda). She has been juried into the prestigious Los Gatos Plein Air and in Carmel Art Festival for the last 3 years. She’s been juried into California Art Club shows as well as the Santa Clara Triton Museum 2D Art state-wide competition, where she won an Honorable Mention.


Nancy’s work is known for its strong design and even stronger sense of light. Her compositions are based on dark and light patterns and she explores  wide range of subject matter. In her own words, “I’m game to try new subject matter- I love being versatile. It keeps me interested and probably more interesting, because, really, it’s all just shapes. Shapes with a light side and a shadow. The fun is in how to interpret it: the composition, the color palette, the paint application, what to eliminate, and what to enhance.  Would I paint from a photo? Yes, I have, but the more I paint from life, the more necessary it is that I do so. In life, my eyes can adjust to read into dark passages that would be tough to see in a photo’s limited exposure. I can pull in other elements outside the frame if it helps the composition. By painting in one place for a few hours, an element may appear briefly that becomes the perfect focal point.  It really takes being there to get all of that. It’s the difference between seeing a distant mountain, and thinking of the air between me and that distant mountain. Much is intangible, yet in thinking about it, it’s sure to reflect in the work.”

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