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I make small and large-scale abstract gouache paintings and collages on paper. In each of my BLOCK STACK, OVOID, COLOR SHARD and CROPPED OVOID SERIES different arrangements of blocks, ovals and colors create a feeling of transcendent order. These images are anti-chaos. In each piece I strive for a connection to a moment for reflection, a moment of resolution and calm. My gouache works feature luxuriant protean color and are infused with sublime soft texture.

In painting each piece there is an experience of exhilaration and renewal. In each painting I stack and pile simple shapes, placing then sizing and creating visual relationships that build to larger rhythms. My best paintings work like Japanese haiku; each image is paired down to its essentials and each becomes a complete world of its own. In these paintings I aim for an effect deeper than the joy of beautiful surface and color; I want to generate visual places, points of departure for states of serenity and contemplation.  My stack paintings spring from a longstanding interest in building materials and architectural elements that include bricks, concrete blocks, window openings and doorways. 


In my OVOID series, squares without edges, I enjoy the play of organic shapes against the white of the background creating tension as the ovals touch or separate in varying degrees. These images reflect velvety textures such as moss covered earth as well as disparate edges, sizes and patterns coexisting in nature. Each shape is drawn and carved out by the edge of the brush.

I used to use oil paint and watercolor paints. But after I tried gouache, a water based medium like watercolor, I knew it was the medium for me. Unlike watercolor that relies on its translucency for its impact, gouache can be used both in a matte and also a translucent manner. It provides more opaque color than watercolor, so that color relationships have more poignancy. And color relationships are the core of my work. I am ecstatic about color. When I drive or walk around I find that sometimes I am sometimes enormously impacted by color relationships that I see as they change seasonally and often those observations become the color structure a painting.

Formerly, I did still life painting in oils. I found that I was really not interested in objects per se but I was more intrigued with shape and color relationships and the emotive qualities I could make with many different arrangements therein.

I use gouache paint on Reeves printmaking paper, achieving a translucency and depth of color; I blot and dab myriad hues to create complex and delicate surfaces. I love the matt surface of gouache paint. It is the thrill of potential in each new piece that keeps me exploring in the studio.



I am a graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  I maintain a studio in the South End of Boston.  My work has been shown at the Butler Museum of American Art, the Danforth Museum and the University of Maine Museum of Art.   My work is part of over 50 corporate collections. Also, my work is shown at Old Spouter Gallery, Nantucket, MA, The Portland Art Gallery,Portland Me,  Jules Place, Boston, MA along with galleries in Texas and Colorado.    Please visit my website to see a full resume and more images:



Also, I use acrylics on sintra panels.  I used this medium to create a recently installed Public Art Installation, Beacon of Color.   Here is the

Press release from the Cambridge Arts Council:


“Nancy Simonds’s Beacon of ColorNew Temporary Artwork Commissioned by the City of Cambridge

(corner of First & Spring Streets in East Cambridge)



Cambridge, MA – The Cambridge Arts Council (CAC) announces the completion of a new temporary public art installation by artist Nancy Simonds, entitled, Beacon of Color, at the corner at First and Spring Streets in East Cambridge. Nancy Simonds’s Beacon of Color was commissioned by the City of Cambridge to improve this corner, which was damaged by a fire in 2008. Nancy Simonds designed Beacon of Color to add visual vibrancy and interest to this busy area along First Street for all those who live and work in the neighborhood as well as those who pass it by foot, car, or bus. For this exterior installation, the artist used acrylic paint on durable board, a material that can stand up to urban conditions. The paintings bring over 5,000 square feet of rhythm, color, and shape to this once dreary façade. The artist Nancy Simonds describes the images used in her painting as giving a feeling of “anti-chaos.”  She notes, “I strive to make a visual place for contemplation and calm through marvelous, dynamic, and resolved color relationships.” 


:: View images of Nancy Simonds’s Beacon of Color: 



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