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About the Artist: Nancy Walters was born and raised in San Jose, California. She is a descendant of the founding families of Pueblo San Jose California. Nancy is proud of her diverse ethnic background and the deep connection many of her ancestors had with the natural world. When she was very young she had pneumonia and was very sick and thought to be dying. She remembers looking at curtains on her mother’s windows and seeing a host of animals moving about. One by one the lion, tiger, elephant, birds, snakes, giraffes, foxes, rabbits and all sorts of other animals, came into focus and one by one they told her they would look after her, that she would be all right and that they would follow her for the rest of her days and protect her. Nancy rapidly recovered. Some say it was a fever induced hallucination, some say it was her first vision and first knowledge of her animal guardians. In any case it was the beginning of her life long love of animals which she began drawing in childhood.
Nancy attended Abraham Lincoln High School in San Jose California. She then attended San Jose State University where she initially was an art and drama major. Having to support herself she found it would be difficult to make a living as an artist so she pursued her other passion of psychology. Nancy achieved a BA in Psychology and a Masters of Science in Clinical Psychology and established a successful career as a therapist. However, she never stopped developing her art. She continually worked on her artistic techniques and sought training with professionals. At one point, a health scare caused Nancy to rethink her priorities in life. During her recovery Nancy spent time at the San Francisco Zoo. There she could walk around and yet rest, as frequently as she needed, in the company of animals she had loved since childhood. She never forgot the healing experience of her early childhood and continued to believe in the healing powers of her animal companions. As a child she had been taught to respect animals as teachers of life and as spiritual guides. She felt this spiritual comfort at the zoo during her recovery time and was inspired to paint these wonderful subjects and to develop herself as an artist and wildlife painter. After many years in the profession of psychology, Nancy closed her private practice to pursue full time her interest in oil painting.
Nancy’s journey as an artist has been an exciting, challenging, and incredibly enriching experience. She is often traveling in search of her animal subjects. She has visited many zoos and animal preserves throughout California and other states to photograph and study animals. She has hiked in many of our national parks watching and studying animals living their lives in their natural habitats. Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley, where you can find Buffalo, Wolves and Grizzlies sometimes all at once, is a favorite place. She has traveled many times to Alaska and Northern British Columbia to photograph Eagles and Grizzly Bears in the wild. She has traveled to Churchill, Canada to study Polar Bears as they waited on the Tundra for Hudson Bay to freeze. She has traveled to Kenya and Rwanda Africa to observe, study, and photograph the beautiful animals of Africa. Her most recent research trip was to the Galapagos Islands. Nancy looks forward to many more wildlife travel adventures throughout the world as she seeks subjects for her paintings. She only paints from her own photos and observations and feels it has enhanced her art to directly observe living subjects in as natural an environment as possible. She shares with her husband her passion for art and outdoor adventure, and pursuing the elusive perfect animal photo. Once equipped with inspiration and images Nancy retreats to her studio in Nipomo California where she can immerse herself in the painting process.
Nancy’s childhood love of animals and her passion for painting them has evolved to include an interest in the protection and conservation of wild animals in their natural habitats, the support of animal preserves throughout the world, and in promoting the use of zoos not primarily for human recreation, but as study, rescue and conservation resources. She has become increasingly concerned with the multitude of animals that are now threatened and endangered throughout the world and supports multiple animal and environmental protection organizations.