As an artist, it was an invaluable experience to be exposed to Japan — Any visual person will be influenced by time there.”

— Nancy Silvia, NPAF September Resident Aztec Ruins

AZTEC, NEW MEXICO, USA, September 21, 2018 / — Nancy Silvia, a plein air artist currently working in pastels, is spending the month of September at Aztec Ruins National Monument. With a Bachelor’s degree from Rhode Island School of Design and a Master’s degree from Yale, plus several decades of making art under her belt, she is looking forward to new interpretations of a landscape she has already come to love, since moving to Santa Fe in 2003.

Aztec Ruins’ Chief of Interpretation, Nathan Hatfield, is excited to host Ms. Silvia, and has arranged for her to present a slideshow and discussion of her work and a brief history of Artists in the National Parks at the Visitors Center at Aztec Ruins National Monument, on September 22nd, 2018 at 11:15 AM

Though she is currently working in pastels, one notices right away that the works look like paintings. As a painter first and foremost, she believes that whatever tool they’re using, a painter will naturally create a painterly product.

One of her first memories was as a small child in Connecticut, when she noticed the horizon – where the sky meets the ocean. What is interesting to note is that even in her depictions of mountains and mountain ranges, the horizon is still very present.

Ms. Silvia has also lived several years in Japan, having married her college sweetheart who hails from there, and their oldest daughter was born there. They married in 1964, not so long after the end of World War II, and while there were a few members of each family who did not approve the union at that time, she is very close to her Japanese family and made sure her children were able to visit multiples times, so that they learned both their American and Japanese heritage. This time shows in the spareness of some of her work, as well. Though she never formally studied Japanese art, “as an artist, it was an invaluable experience to be exposed to Japan,” she says. “Any visual person will be influenced by time there.”

“In Japan the importance of craft, both in life and in dedicating yourself to your art, is more prevalent than here,” and has shaped the careers of both herself and her husband, also an artist.
What Ms. Silvia enjoys about working in pastels is that they are almost broader than paint. She can make very tight photorealistic art with them, or a looser impression. As many artists agree, the freedom to interpret draws her to her craft. She can choose what to emphasize or what struck her about the subject at hand. While she has not done a planned series, she does enjoy returning to beloved subjects and seeing how they change in the light, or under different weather conditions.

Nancy’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums and is held in public and private collections in both the USA and Japan, and recently had shows at Gallery Tokyo Eizo in Tokyo and The Coryell Gallery in Lambertville, New Jersey. Nancy has been active in the Pastel Society of New Mexico and Plein Air Painters of New Mexico and is a member of the American Society of Marine Artists, Pastel Society of America, Pastel Society of New Mexico, and Plein Air Painters of New Mexico.

Founded as an Antiquities Monument in 1923, the Monument’s buildings date from the 11th to 13th centuries, and while the misnomer attributing them to the Aztec civilization can be traced back to early American settlers, the actual construction was by Ancestral Puebloans. Pueblo history notes that the Aztec Settlement was an important waypost on the migration south and east to the Rio Grande.

Programs like Aztec Ruins artist-in-residence series, in which artists seek inspiration in the beauty and history of our national parks and agree to share their ideas with park patrons, represent some of the highest aspirations of the National Park Service, an arm of the US Department of the Interior.

The National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF), a 501(c)3 non-profit, is the only nationwide organization working with the NPS to promote arts programs, and is continually expanding its Artist-in-Residence opportunities to NPS locations nationwide. 

The NPAF encourages all types of artists to apply for these residencies, from traditional landscape painters, photographers, to performers, installations, films/video, as well as writers, poets, sound artists, and new arts media. For more information on how you can support the Aztec Ruins National Monument Artist in Residence or for more information about this and other programs, visit

John Cargill
National Parks Arts Foundation
505 715-6492
email us here


Powered by WPeMatico