October 9th, 2019 - Galt, CA
A TOUCH OF FANTASY Inspired by her mother, who was also an artist, Nancy Quiaoit has always been immersed in the creative world, teaching at art camps, painting theater sets and designing public murals as a teenager. Formal courses were part of the equation for a while, but ultimately Quiaoit decided to teach herself rather than obtain an official degree. “I found the classes in art limiting,” she explains. “… I just enjoyed painting what was in my mind’s eye, unrestrained.” Although she dabbles with ocean scenes and paintings featuring animals like birds and horses, what Quiaoit truly excels at is painting mermaids. “I love women and fantasy,” she says. “Mermaids are strong and feminine, yet incredibly playful.” Her pieces have a whimsical quality about them, with charming water nymphs depicted mid-swim, down in the ocean, along a moonlit coastline or even in a foamy bubble bath. Using stretched canvases, palette knives and versatile acrylic paints, she adds complex detailing, from dappled color on the mermaids’ tails to luscious curls in their hair. “I can build texture, create translucent washes and layer colors with … [acrylic] paint,” she says, adding that her style is impressionism mixed with “a touch of fantasy.” Each piece begins with an idea followed by a simple curved line. “I usually see or feel something that sparks creativity and evokes emotion,” Quiaoit says. “I’ll scribble the idea down in a journal and think about how to bring it to life. Once I start painting, the image that was in my mind evolves.” Though Quiaoit and her artistic company, Nancy Q Studio, are based up near Sacramento, Calif., her work has been displayed at Pacific Gallery for the last two years, as she says she loves Laguna Beach’s smalltown feel: “It’s a true community with an eclectic mix of people in a beautiful environment.” When she’s not painting, you’ll find her enjoying the company of her husband and two sons, gardening, swimming or hiking. Quiaoit also teaches art to second- through 12th-grade students while simultaneously advocating for creative expression to remain a part of the public school system.