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Featured Artists

Nancy Howe

 

Being the first woman to win the Federal Duck Stamp Contest is only one of Nancy Howe’s many accomplishments. She is a full-time wife and mother, a part-time model, a sheep farmer (she and her husband Jim own the “Triple Jump Sheep Farm” in Vermont) and most important to collectors, a talented painter. Howe was born and raised in New Jersey. At 18, she moved to Vermont to attend Middlebury College where she graduated Cum Laude in 1973 with an Associate Bachelors Degree in Studio Art.

After graduation, Howe worked as a veterinary technician for several years. Her love for animals eventually drew her to her current occupation as operator of a family-owned sheep farm. Her lifestyle and her paintings are evidence of her deep respect for the environment. Howe has been putting brush to canvas since she was a little girl. She won her first art contest in the first grade when her painting was chosen to appear on the cover of her grade school magazine.

Although she has a degree in art, she is a self-taught wildlife and landscape artist. About one-quarter to one-third of her painting time is spent in the field or doing research. When painting birds or waterfowl she prefers to have them in hand, often utilizing frozen or mounted specimens acquired locally. She also studies habitat closely, often bringing parts of trees, rocks, mud and moss into the house where she paints. She prefers acrylic paints to oils because they enable her to work continuously and provide better detail. Although she has always had an eye for detail and the ability to transfer it to canvas, she is now evolving a style where the success of a piece does not rest on detail and realism alone, but more on the intangible qualities of paintings which draw in the viewer.

For Nancy the number three is lucky. The family sheep farm earned its name, in part, for the high number of triplet lambs that are born there. And the name of her studio, “Triple Jump Studio,” reflects a “triple Jump” in 1990 for her career. The first “jump” came when her painting was selected for the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s Exhibition Wildlife: The Artist’s View. When Howe’s painting of “Where Paths Cross” was chosen as a Top 100 winner in the 1990 Arts for the Parks contest, she made her second “jump.” Last, but certainly not least, Howe won the 1991-92 Federal Duck Stamp contest to complete her “triple jump.” No artist has ever won these three major national honors in one brief year.

Her work has also received several other awards and honors. Howe’s entry into the 1987 “First” Arts for the Parks contest was also chosen for the coveted Top 100. She was the 1985 Companion Artist for national Ducks Unlimited (DU), and in 1986 the New England regional DU chapter produced a special edition print from one of her paintings. In addition, she has been selected as a finalist for several years in the Federal Duck Stamp Contest, the national DU Artist of the Year competitions, the New York State DU Artist of the Year competitions, and was runner-up for the Vermont “First of State” Duck Stamp Contest.

Other activities that keep Howe busy are modeling for Orvis Company catalogs and skiing. As an alpine ski racer in high school, Howe was New Jersey’s State Slalom champion, and later was a member of the Middlebury College Ski Team. Howe is also an active member of several conservation organizations including Nature Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited. In regard to wetlands conservation, Howe has said, “I’d like to see my art do something nice for the ducks, because the ducks have done something wonderful for me.”

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