Off The Wall Magazine Q&A with Nancy Simonds



Maine: I went to Camp Wyonegonic in Denmark as a kid. There I learned a sense of independence and modest survival skills, through experiences like solo canoeing in high winds, multiday camping and canoeing trips, starting campfires, sleeping in a tent, and rudimentary hiking. Through these I developed a lifelong love of Maine. Now, I spend a portion of every summer at Acadia National Park.

Inspiration: The rocks and islands off the coast of Maine.

Medium: I started by doing realistic oil on canvas. Now I do gouache on Rives BFK printmaking paper.

Artist Hero: I admire a tremendous number of artists but several are at the top, including Edward Hopper, Henri Matisse, Charles Sheeler, Rembrandt, Georges Braque, Francisco de Zurbarán , Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur Dove, Balthasar Van der Ast, Paul Manship, Marsden Hartley, and Jan Davidsz de Heem.

Studio: I used to have a studio at home, but that was a disaster since I was using oils at the time: the smell permeated everything. So over 25 years ago I found cheap studio space in a building in Boston.

Where in Maine: My husband was a publisher and founded the Best Places to Stay series. We researched Maine together and now, several times a year, we revisit many of the towns, galleries, parks, and scenic parts of Maine. My husband and daughter both went to Bowdoin College in Brunswick. Through those connections and our business, we have met many dear friends in Maine that we visit each summer. I love visiting Obadiah Buell’s Stone Designs and Granite Garden in Sullivan. There is a tranquility and power in the sculptures they create there. One of my other favorite places is Bailey Island.

Education: I majored in classical studies, and spent a semester in Rome at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies. I loved the ruins, studying ancient city sites, architectural design, and ancient Latin and Greek. Every weekend my friends and I would visit every museum and church that had a masterpiece, in various Italian towns. When I finished college, I applied to art school, realizing that I was driven to do something hands-on that could incorporate my love of design and architecture.