About the artist:
Art has been the major motivation in Nancy’s life from an early age. She was encouraged by her father A. L. Shumaker, a professional artist and the RAUHS yearbook photographer well into the mid-1960’s. Realizing Nancy’s potential, he provided her the opportunities to study with other artists including the renowned Joseph Plavcan to advance her skills. While in high school Nancy was president of the Art Club and Unitas yearbook committee, among other activities, and received encouragement from art teacher Leola Marrale Madigan. After graduating, Nancy continued her education at Edinboro University earning a BA degree in Art Education in 1972. She and her husband Tom were married in 1973 and moved to Pittsburgh to pursue job opportunities. In 1976 Nancy began participating in Pittsburgh art shows. She then began displaying at larger juried regional shows held in the eastern states and the Midwest where there was a large audience for her work. Her exhibit schedule steadily grew to over twenty shows per year and developed into a full time business for both Nancy and Tom. Nancy’s painting style at the time was a detailed dry brush technique with watercolors to give her wildlife subjects layers of depth and realism. Her paintings of songbirds, waterfowl, mammals, and botanicals have won numerous awards at events and competitions. She amassed a following of loyal collectors who purchased her paintings, prints, and commissioned work throughout her career. During this time Nancy’s work was used by various organizations to raise funds for a wide range of causes. The National Wildlife Federation and Ducks Unlimited used her songbirds and waterfowl designs, while eclectic paintings of marine life helped generate funds to assist endangered marine and arctic species. Her dog paintings continue to raise funds for Scottie rescue groups. In 1984 Nancy was included in a PBS documentary showcasing Pennsylvania wildlife artists. Nancy was ultimately approached by Wild Apple Graphics, an international publishing house and licensing company. Together they published prints and posters, and licensed her images to be used on textiles, ceramics, and home products. Two books were also published using Nancy’s illustrations and her work has been sold worldwide in numerous catalogues and stores ranging from Harrods to Pier 1. Each week Nancy visits hospitals, libraries, and schools with her certified therapy dog. In addition she volunteers at TREC, Therapeutic Riding Equestrian Center, (to help mentally and physically challenged people benefit from therapeutic horseback riding. She also mentors a young friend who resides at Pleasant Ridge. Nancy continues to reside in Girard since returning in 1983 and currently enjoys working in pastels. This medium allows her a loose colorful and at times abstract approach after many years of counting feathers and petals for accuracy. During and following the many years of business travel, the small town character of Girard continues to provide a place of peace, opportunity, and fulfillment.