Artist of the month

Nancy Springer sits in her studio with two newly completed gourds.

Nancy Springer sits in her studio with two newly completed gourds.

Many media fill Nancy Springer’s “Palette”

LaVerne Kyriss

Acrylics, watercolor, oils, photography, pen and ink drawings, gourd-making, stained glass and ceramics are just some of the media that Nancy Springer has explored in the world of art. An accomplished painter, she professes to be a dabbler, “I’m always trying something new. I don’t show. I don’t sell. Art is something I do for myself, my family and my friends. I go to my studio when I need time to find myself,” Springer reflected.

Growing up on Long Island, New York she loved art and wanted to study it in college. A high school teacher advised her parents that she was good enough to be an art teacher, but not good enough to make a living at it. “My father insisted I choose a field of study where I could make a living so I went into textiles and clothing with a minor in business.”

Springer spent most of her adult life along the eastern seaboard, living first in the Washington, D.C area, then in an Appalachian coal town in Pennsylvania and finally in Maine with a view of Acadia National Park’s Cadillac Mountain. “When we moved to Pennsylvania I took a few art classes in the adult evening community program. It was a very small town and we took whatever work we could get. I worked at a flower shop and took the postal exam. I passed and became the back-up Postmaster. We also bought an old coal baroness’s home and restored it. I joined the artist’s co-op and made baby quilts to sell. That experience taught us to be very strong,” she reflected.

Then her husband Doug, now working for the YMCA, transferred to a position in Maine. Springer had one request: “I wanted a home that wasn’t constantly in need of repairs. All he could find

were old homes, so we ended up getting a three-story Victorian at an auction. Needless to say, we remodeled that one as well.”

“Once again, I looked for work. I went to see if I could get reinstated with the Post Office. Because my boss in Pennsylvania showed my status as on leave without pay, I was able to get on the list for a postal job in Maine. I stayed there for 28 years, moving up the ranks from a carrier and first class window clerk to regional trainer for New England,” she said.

Meanwhile, busy raising three children, running a home and being an active community member, Springer joined the local photography club where she competed in—and sometimes won—various contests. When the couple moved to SaddleBrooke in 2003 she took up art in earnest and hasn’t stopped.

“I love the Guild classes. It’s hard to learn a new technique on your own, but the classes make it easy. I also appreciate the support and camaraderie from fellow students. One example: I learned basic acrylics from Laurie Bressler. That was good. But then I took a class from Barbara Cowles and learned all about how to use a variety of compounds to add different effects to my work. I could have never learned that on my own,” she said.