The North Bay knows Napa-based artist and educator Nancy Willis for her landscapes and other paintings inspired from trips to Europe and especially the French countryside.
In addition creating to her own work, Willis inspires others to create art, and she normally offers art classes throughout the year and leads annual educational “Path of an Artist” tours abroad.
Although she could not make it to Europe in 2020 or this summer due to pandemic-related travel restrictions, Willis has expanded her local plein-air painting classes to several locations throughout Napa and Sonoma counties.
Willis is also currently showing work as a resident artist at the Solera Courtyard Gallery at the Westin Verasa Napa, which is just down the street from her Napa studio.
The hotel recently became an asset to the artist, as she took refuge there when the 2020 Glass Fire forced her out of her home. She and her cat Smiley lived at the hotel for a full month.
“For thirty days, I found a lifeline away from the smoke, the devastation and the trauma, and a safe place to regroup and recharge,” Willis wrote in a recent statement.
Willis will be displaying her work in the Solera Courtyard Gallery throughout the year, changing themes with each season. Currently, she is exhibiting “Summer Color,” featuring over a dozen works of art from her catalogue that speak to summertime activities or memories.
Willis also created some of the exhibition’s images during “guerrilla plein-air” sessions near Lake Hennessey or trips to Mendocino. According to Willis, the exhibition celebrates a brighter outlook, studying multiple motifs through the lens of color.
“The world is opening again and beauty is waiting to be discovered,” writes Willis in a statement.
For those seeking to paint their own summer landscapes, Willis has upcoming offerings that include wine and cheese pairings at Coursey Graves Winery, Old Faithful Geyser and Charles Krug.
“Summer Color” is on display through August 2021 at the Solera Courtyard Gallery Westin Verasa Napa, 1314 Mckinstry Street, Napa. For more information on Nancy Willis’ art and art classes, visit nancywillis.com.