Woman artist in front of one of her paintings
Nancy Banks and her painting “Sand Dollars Awash,” 21 x 29 in., watercolor, 2005
Woman artist holding a painting palette in her studio
Nancy Banks in her home studio

How did you get started and then develop your career?

Nancy Banks: While growing up I was fortunate to attend schools that provided excellent teachers and art classes. My first two years of college I was an art major, and I received valuable attention and instruction from Professor Neil Lieberman. He was an extraordinary teacher and artist who always had time and energy to help his students. During my sophomore year I won Best of Show in the annual student art show. But I became an education major in my junior year so that I could secure a supportive job while I developed my artistic skills.

Upon graduation from Penn State University, I married a guy who was in the Navy. We were stationed in many exciting locations; Hawaii, Cuba, Newport Rhode Island, and then Pensacola, Florida where I met a group of wonderful artists. They taught me the fine art of watercolor painting and related skills such as framing, sales, and showing my work in galleries. Since then, my paintings have been in numerous galleries and art shows.

How do you describe success?

Success is that wonderful feeling of accomplishment, whether it be a small arduous task or the recognition of winning first place in an art show. As young children we are taught skills, and as we master them we enjoy the praise and emotional feeling of a job well done. So, we work harder and learn more skills so that we can continue to enjoy that emotional high of a job well done. As an artist, that emotional high is what we can call success and we use our artistic skills to receive the recognition of a job well done. That’s what I call SUCCESS!

How do you find inspiration?

Just about anything my eyes gaze upon inspires me to draw or paint. Growing up, my younger brother who was blind, would pick something up and ask, “What is this?” Or we would go to the beach, which we did every summer, and he’d ask questions about the creatures on the beach or the noises he would hear. So, we would carefully describe what we saw to him or capture sand crabs to show him. This attention to the beauty of nature to this day inspires me to carefully inspect, enjoy, and want to duplicate the image on paper.

My plein air paintings, especially the beach and ocean scenes, are truly my favorite subject matter and always an inspiration to paint.

What is the best thing about being an artist?

I truly enjoy being an artist for several reasons! The recognition and awards that I have received for my paintings are wonderful! The years of practice, taking classes, interacting with fellow artists, and the enjoyment of such has been exciting and fun!

But the best thing about being an artist is that artists are some of the most supportive, caring, and helpful people. I would not be where I am today if I hadn’t through the years had the support of my teachers and artist friends. So, the awards and recognition are great, but my artist friends are the BEST!

Who do you collect?

My collection of paintings is very special because I have taken classes from most them such as Charles Reid, Janet Rogers, Pat Weaver, Everett Draper, Ken Broomfield, M. Douglas Walton, Darlene Homrighausen, Mary (Tootsie) Blanos, Pat Regan, Patsy Pennington, Lois Newman and Bunny Morgan.

Watercolor painting of a beach with ocean waves in the background
Nancy Banks, “Pershing Avenue,” Long Beach Island, NJ, 3 x 5 in., watercolor, 2018
Watercolor painting of the door of a brick building
Nancy Banks, “Siena Porta,” 9 x 16 in., watercolor, 2002
Watercolor painting of a rocky shoreline of a body of water
Nancy Banks, “Cranberry Island,” 5 x 8 in., watercolor, 2017
Watercolor painting of sand dunes with ocean and clouds in the background
Nancy Banks, “Beach Time,” 9 x11 in., watercolor, 2020

To see more of Nancy’s work, visit: www.nancymeliabanks.com


  1. It was so nice to read about Nancy Banks. Not only is she a talented watercolor artist but the epitome of all she describes as a good artist friend, supportive, caring, helpful. Nancy well deserves being in the Artist Spotlight!


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