Photography Credit:

Nancy Hagin
Birth Date:


Artist Gallery
Nancy Hagin was visually oriented from a very early age. She was deaf in her childhood (she is no longer), and started making pictures at age two or three, perhaps to see what she couldn’t clearly hear. After her childhood she attended the Carnegie-Mellon Institute. She was an art major, but she says, she wasn’t painting. It was winning a scholarship to the Yale-Norfolk School of Music and Art one summer that turned the trick. How could she not paint, with classmates such as Chuck Close and Brice Marden? Hagin’s schooling occurred in the mid-60s, and like so many other painters of her time, she “wanted to be an Abstract Expressionist. My hope was to get rid of all references to subject matter.” Somehow though, she was never able to quite get away from realism. Hagin describes working in watercolor: Watercolor is marvelously portable. All the paint tubes can fit in a small tackle box. The support is paper, which is lightweight. What I like about painting with watercolor is its brilliant luminosity. It made me very conscious of transparency. I’m self-taught in watercolor, so I took cues from Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper. They worked very directly and never used white. I work the painting horizontally, on tall sawhorses, to control the gravity of the wet and densely pigmented color. One can’t go back and make endless revisions. It is a nice change of pace for me (from working in acrylic). In a career that has spanned more than 40 years, Hagin’s work has been influenced by art movements that have come and gone, but she has never strayed far from her own path. Over time, her work has changed, it has evolved, and it has become more complex. Hagin’s disarmingly forthright still-lifes draw in the viewer with tightly composed geometrics, repeating color patterns, and deliberate chromatic schemes that contribute to a pleasing balance of elements.