Nancy Jo Graham, Artist
Artist & Floral Designer
Welcome! I am a practicing artist, floral designer and a teacher with a Master's degree in drawing & painting. Included here is a look at some of the art and plant and floral designs which I create. It is my hope that this work will move you, inspire you or communicate with you in some positive way. Most of my work is influenced by my love of color and nature. I hope you enjoy.
I thrive on being creative in many ways and will be posting some new work soon. Check back! Soon to arrive is more about my floral work and window box and container plantings.
To contact me, click on my photo on the upper right side of this page, then click on "Contact Me".
What I Do
The words on the painting say it well.
I love to draw. It is the immediacy of it that I treasure so much. When I am working, my fingers are so close to the tip of the tools which are making the mark on the paper that I feel completely immersed. Wouldn't you love to be drawn into and consumed like this by something you are creating?
We all have our own talents that can be expressed and shared with others. I feel we are happier if we are able to do work which encourages us to use our own unique skills, whatever they may be.
Colored Pencil Drawings
Until recently, most of my work has been done in color pencil. I have been working in this medium for over 35 years. Here is one of my color pencil pieces with a bit of paint added. It is done on paper and measures 30" X 20".
Here is a close-up view of a section of the drawing above. The flowers in this vase were inspired by roses, heliotrope and pepperberry, with a few imagined things thrown in.
Here is an even closer view.
Many people have said that my work does not look like color pencil, but rather watercolor or soft pastels. This is because I like to use paper with very little tooth, in other words: extremely smooth paper. In fact, quite often I will use a soft paper intended for printmaking. I prefer pencils with a harder lead that sharpens to a fine point. I fill in the color meticulously in several layers and then rub it in with my fingers or a blending tool. All of this leads to a finished drawing which doesn't always show the actual mark of the pencil.
Here is a close-up of the spiral on the left side of the piece. It is made up of stylized tulips, calla lilies, peonies, roses and berries.
For the last 35 years, my color pencil work has been very subtle in it's color and line, but here is an early anomaly: a very dynamic piece that spilled out of me in the early 1990's right in the middle of all the delicate line work.
It seems I am now returning to that brighter, more intense palette and a bolder technique. Is my mood changing, or am I changing my mood by being bolder with my art? The next few pieces will show you what I mean. They are my latest works.
Oil Pastel and Paint on Wood
Donated to a benefit sale.
A Small Gift
Another Small Gift
These two small paintings went to someone as a pair and were a "thank you" present.
At Work in My Studio - Here you can have a glimpse of my studio and a mixed media piece.
I made this piece for a charity auction and I missed it after it was gone. It was such fun to create.
Imagine all the Beautiful Things You Can Create!
This was created for a corporate product demo.
Two Sweet Pieces I Made as Donations
- "The Little Paris Apartment"
This is one of the pieces I created for the 2009 benefit auction for Caregivers. It is a cupboard that I turned into a small stage or diorama, of sorts, including a hand-made doll. It was sooooo much fun to make.
I made a second piece for the same 2009 benefit. This piece is a whimsical chair. It's always interesting to put these together and it's for a great cause.
Some Things That Inspire Me
- My Favorite Inspirations
Here is a link to another page where I share some of the things I have found to be inspirational, including cities, books and other artists.
I love my work as a floral designer. In floral design, flowers and plant materials which would not normally be seen next to each other in nature are able to be combined and manuevered to enhance and draw attention to their individual qualities. The close juxtapositon of so many different colors, textures and shapes of flowers never fails to fascinate me.
Here is a collection of hand-tied wedding bouquets for a ceremony in the summer.
Sketching to Plan For a Floral Design
Often, as I am consulting with a client about a floral design, I will "discuss" it in a visual way. Here is one example of a design for a bride's bouquet.
Centerpieces for a Brazilian Wedding
Floral Art: Flowers & Vegetables
Click on the links below to read more from me on floral design.
Here are links to some other pages where I have written about flowers and floral design. Click on these to read and learn more.
- Wedding Flowers
An experienced wedding flower consultant, I offer 'insider' suggestions for choosing your flowers and working with a professional florist. Ordering wedding flowers is not something one does frequently and even a little bit of knowledge and prep work
- A Floral Design Career
For many years I worked in a flower shop where our customers were able to walk through the design room as we were working. It was exciting for them to see what we were doing and we frequently heard comments like, 'That must be so much fun.' 'You are
- Expert Tips For Ordering Flowers
Are you getting ready to order some flowers? Over 10 years of experience as a high-end floral designer has helped me to put these suggestions together for you. Read on for some tips to make sure you receive high-quality, beautiful flowers every time
Custom Plantings - designed for private homes and businesses
I Love to Create, Create, Create.
In addition to classes which I conduct on my own, these are some of the places where I have had the pleasure of teaching.
- Maude Kerns Art Center, Oregon
A community art facility, Maude Kerns Art Center was created many years ago by a group of practicing artists. Today the center offers classes for adults and children, studio space for artists and a gallery which presents exhibits of the work of regio
- Masonic Pathways, Michigan
At this large, well-funded and caring retirement facility, I had the pleasure of working with seniors in the occupational therapy program where I worked with them in ceramics, weaving, drawing and painting and writing.
- Central Michigan University
At this large, state-affiliated university I taught Introductory Art and Introductory Drawing. I am so proud to know that my paternal grandfather graduated from this school with a degree in education and ended up teaching in a one-room school house i
Floral Design Parties - in your own home: what fun!
One of the things I love to do is to bring flowers, tools, vases and my enthusiasm to your house for a floral design party. You provide the snacks and drinks and I provide the entertainment. Each guest leaves with one or more flower arrangements to take home with them along with a bit more knowledge on designing with flowers.
One of My Favorite Pastimes of Late - Drawing with Sketchbook Pro on my iPad
It's a Bit Like Advanced Finger-painting - Here is a bit of whimsy.
Sometimes I use Sketchbook Pro to help myself plan floral designs.
Please sign my guestbook. Thanks for visiting!