OUTLOOK: Vicksburg native Nancy Mitchell showcases her newfound medium at Gore Gallery
Published 4:00 am Sunday, September 11, 2022
When locals hear Nancy Mitchell’s name mentioned, they think of art.
She was an art educator at Warren Central High School for 30 years, and during that time amassed a wealth of accolades and awards for teaching as well as her personal work.
Mitchell has now achieved yet another recognition. Beginning in September, Mitchell opened her one-woman show at the Gore Gallery in Clinton.
“This is something I have always wanted to do,” Mitchell said.
The Vicksburg native said those who are familiar with her art may be surprised at what is showing at the gallery.
“I changed from watercolors that I did for 30 years to acrylic after I moved to Oxford,” she said.
Currently, Mitchell lives in Oxford with her husband Charlie, who was a former editor of the Vicksburg Post and is now an associate professor at the University of Mississippi.
Mitchell said the transition from watercolor to acrylics has been a six-year process. The first three she said were spent on deciding her color palate, the brand of paint she would use and “how I wanted to paint my art.”
The last three have been spent enjoying her newfound medium.
“So finally, for the last three years, I like what I am doing. I found my own voice with how I want to express the world around me,” she said.
Mitchell, while she appreciates abstract art, described her works as “realism.”
“I can’t do abstract art. I don’t see things that way, but I like some of the depth they (abstract artists) achieve with all the layers,” she said.
Therefore, Mitchell devised her own method of creating layers.
“I use stamps,” she said, which transfer a pattern onto the acrylic paintings. Mitchell said she will sometimes use a ready-made stamp she has purchased, but more often will carve her own out of wood. These patterns within the painting, she said, help give her works not only depth but also added interest.
Mitchell said she does not like to paint landscapes, preferring to paint things that are “up close and personal.”
“I am interested in painting birds and animals because the expressions on animals amaze me because they just remind me of people and students,” Mitchell said.
Randy Jolly, who is the director of the Gore Gallery and taught alongside Mitchell for 20 years, said he was happy to have Mitchell showing at the gallery.
“I am very excited for people to see her work,” Jolly said. “In the last eight years, she (Mitchell) has grown tremendously.”
Jolly said those who have already been in the gallery and have viewed the show have been captivated.
“People are responding to her work beautifully because it is so nice and bright and colorful and well done. She has a very good understanding of color and design,” Jolly said.
There are 47 pieces of Mitchell’s art displayed at the gallery, which is open to the public from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays and from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays through September.
A reception will be held from 2 until 4 p.m. on Sept. 11 at the gallery, located at 199 Monroe St. in Clinton.
Jolly said the art is for sale, and at the reception, Mitchell will also have prints for sale.
Mitchell was among the first secondary art educators in Mississippi to achieve National Board Certification and was named the Mississippi Art Educators Secondary Teacher of the Year for 2003-2004. While at WCHS, Mitchell was a STAR teacher and served as Head of the Fine Arts Department. She was accepted three times to present at the National Art Educators Conferences in New York, Washington and Chicago.
Mitchell has received honors in state and local art shows for works in mixed media, drawing, acrylic and watercolor. Her paintings have also been accepted into several Mississippi Art Colony shows that travel to galleries in the state.
Mitchell has been an active member of The Mississippi Art Colony, The Mississippi Plein Air Painters, The Art Guild of Oxford Mississippi and The Vicksburg Art Association. She is also a member of the “Dames” of The University of Mississippi, where she served on the board as Vice President and President.
After retirement, Mitchell created a “More Than A Painting” art class for non-artists, which has been offered at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center for years.