MOORE ON ART – Nancy Yarbrough

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AA dream, a design, a thought or just happenchance…all ways something starts in life.  Sometimes a defining moment speaks loudly to us and sometimes it whispers in our ear and makes a splash. Nancy Yarbrough heard the whisper of talent at a young age and she dove head first into her artistic destiny full throttle!!! Her talent started at an early age when she began drawing and coloring and working with clay as a child. Her parents were not well versed in art but they encouraged her to create with any media she chose. They did not encourage her to be artistic as a future career but as a past time and hobby. Nancy found a natural talent that needed no formal training just some creative introduction to the details to fine tune the process.

Nancy and her husband have been married over 46 years and are blessed with 3 sons, their wives and  7 grandchildren who love their time with “Nanny” each year during what they call Camp Cousin.

Nancy’s interest in art began as a student in school where she took every art class she could enroll in each year. She painted, sketched, drew and colored her way through every level of art and techniques that existed. After high school, Nancy planned on attending college and major in Art but as we all know life sometimes has other plans and Nancy put her art on a temporary hold for her family. She devoted her time to her husband and her children relishing her life as a stay at home wife and mom. Her husband opened his dental office and Nancy tended the home fires. Art was always in her plans and Nancy still pursued her dream while raising her children. In her art pursuits she found and perfected stain  glass work.  In 1999 she began her journey in the Glassell School of Art in Houston studying drawing and watercolor with Nancy’s passion for all that is beautiful in God’s world. Her time and intensity refueled her love for painting which she had paused for raising her boys. According to her website, “Over the years, Nancy’s watercolors have won awards and were displayed throughout Houston and Galveston.”

Nancy is not an outdoorsman although she marvels and relishes the fact that when she and her husband moved to Boerne approximately 8 years ago they built a home on the acreage property they had purchased years prior. They loved the quaint little town Boerne offered when they visited family there. When her husband retired from his practice due to health distractions they decided it was time to “settle down” and relax and Boerne offered everything they desired. A few dwarf goats later and they are all as snug as a bug and love their life!!!!  They love the Nigerian dwarf goats and the Pygmy Goats that they raise. Each year there are a few for sale but it is limited and you need to talk to them early to request purchase of one of the new baby goats each year.

But the magic that Nancy provides with her art is not the only artistic magic that happens on their property. Each year an event is organized with all of the grandchildren, they gather with Nancy and her husband to enjoy what is so aptly named “Camp Cousins” and a week of grandparent and grandchild fun is on!!! One activity among many others is when Nancy helps the grandchildren create a memorable plate that is both useable and decorative as a memory of their own. The plate is meant to provide a memory of their fun experiences with the grandchildren and a comfort piece to pull out and use in stressful times, happy times or just a time to reflect.  The creation of the piece has multiple purposes and adds to the memories for each grandchild.

Nancy speaks highly of her daughter in laws and recently had the honor of coordinating with one-Cris Yarbrough-to illustrate a children’s book that Cris wrote. The book that Cris wrote is called “Sweet Child of Mine” and is available to the public through the internet or at the local Bookstore in Boerne. Cris wrote the book for her children but it quickly became popular. Find a copy for yourself or as a gift for someone with a child.

In 2004 Nancy turned her love of art into a medium she had been introduced to  years before but had not acted on it until opportunity presented itself. Painted Fused glass art talent as a viable art medium. Nancy had always loved art for its transparency and color and vibrancy but the ability to fuse both painting and creating in a glass form excited her and she jumped right in immediately and the result was stunning. Colors popped, strong, vibrant colors that did not fade, or lessen in beauty!! Nancy had found what she desired-a durable art form that maintained the integrity of her design. Watercolors can fade in vibrancy, paintings can be damaged by water and sun but fused glass was both steady and functional. It could be a wall hanging, a utensil, or exhibited piece. One of Nancy’s pieces is a trio of glass art that is displayed by the purchasers who could not find anything suitable for a very sunny spot in their home. They found the perfect piece to show off their dining room within Nancy’s collection.  Nancy has sold many pieces and some pieces she has sold were pieces that she had almost decided to keep for her own pleasure and before she could pull them from the gallery or her website, they sold.

Nancy displays in 3 different galleries-Carriage House, Helotes Gallery and the RS Hanna in Fredericksburg. In any of those galleries one can find a beautiful piece of art for their own home or as a gift. Nancy also does some commission work. Commission work requires a deeper commitment from both the artist and the buyer as the communication must be exact, in paintings and watercolors the artist must understand the details and express the general idea in both color and subject with both artist and buyer knowing and agreeing on finished product where in fused art, it must be understood that while the process can be lengthy due to firings in the kiln colors are not always precise nor can the design be changed once it is created. Nancy paints with glass. She takes ground up glass and fuses or paints it into glass to create a design. This involves layers of the glass that she paints with being fused/painted with larger pieces of glass to create a gorgeous piece. The colors, transparency and designs are stunning!!! Each layer requires some time in the kiln to cure or set the design. Nancy starts with large sheets of glass and glass paint called frits and paints her design with the frits. Then layer by layer it is put in the kiln to harden each layer until the next layer can be detailed.

This brings this article to fused glass. Fused glass is the process of fusing 2 or more pieces of glass of different colors, or types and heating them in a kiln to fuse them together creating a piece to work into the desired product. It is at this time that any designs or color choices are introduced into the piece and arranged. The glass piece can be slumped or draped in the kiln to create the form or shape it is desired as a final product. The glass piece is then cooled which can take from hours to days and then additional glass is added and it is placed back in the kiln for additional heating and fusing. Some pieces may take as many as 4 trips inside the kiln until the desired product is reached. The temperature of the kiln can reach 1500 degrees in its process.  Fusing glass art creates a strong sturdy piece of art. This is the simplest introduction to fusing that there is…there are many more steps but to properly understand one must take a class or have an artist mentor. Nancy does not currently offer classes or tours of her studio but plans to as soon as it is feasible so be sure and watch her website nancyyarbrough.com. Or just google Nancy Yarbrough artist. You can also find her on facebook.

Nancy still creates beautiful watercolors, drawings and paintings that can also be seen on her site or in any of the galleries in which she exhibits. Please check the hours and days of the gallery near you and visit for an experience in art that you will not regret. Adding a treasured piece of art from any artist is always a good investment. The galleries offer the opportunity to expose your children to art and artists in a casual setting.

Nancy has always created art for her own pleasure and has never sought out shows or fancy awards even though in her earlier art days in the Houston and Galveston area she captured many awards. Nancy stated that “as an artist, I love color. I love that our Creator did not design a black and white world but gave us an array of glorious colors, shadows and reflections. I delight in capturing God’s amazing creation in glass or watercolor.” Nancy loves the outside world in all of its beauty and color, she prefers to create in her studio. She may take a picture of something for a reference but she does her actual creation in her studio. Nancy likes that her studio is a part of her home in distance and she need only to go through a door to get there and not have to travel out.  Many times she will find herself heading to her studio after night has fallen to check on a project or move something from or to the kiln in its working journey.

Nancy has recently had some knee replacement and is recuperating well and will be having the other knee replaced soon so her plans for classes or opening her studio to the public are on hold for now.  But her art goes on and one can still contact her for commission work or to purchase what is already created. So do not hesitate to contact her.  Nancy has not had any major formal training just some classes to tune her gift from God of artistic talent.

Nancy does have a favorite piece when asked for the purpose of this article and it is a piece of about 2 X 3 feet in size she calls it Intrigue and she reports that it is a familiar piece of a canyon with its colors and design. It is framed abstract work that is full of colors, shapes and impression. Nancy has many admirers and her work hangs as far as Atlanta, Georgia in a realtor’s office.

Nancy does not work with stained glass which is a very different process and has the artist working with pieces of glass, cutting and fitting the pieces to fit a specific design while fused glass depends on the artist to combine the right glass, heat, design, and shape to create the desired piece. Nancy loves the clarity, transparency and color that comes from creating a fused piece. Nancy works on her art at least 3 times a week when possible. Nancy’s art has gone from representational to more abstract meaning that she is a master at more traditional art but prefers the more abstract now. She has come a long way from her childhood where she worked with clay, drawing, and painting. Her site Nancy Yarbrough Studio is a great place to start admiring her work and contact her if one wants. The beauty in this world can definitely be seen in Nancy Yarbrough’s art and one would do them self a good deed by going to her site and viewing her beautiful work. Better yet, buy one for yourself and enjoy it whenever you want!!!