BOOK EXCERPT: An Artist's Journey




Nancy B. Frank’s sensually brushed horses are powerful creatures, beautifully articulated with great attention to detail.

Dignity and intelligence shine through soulful eyes…The multi-talented Nancy B. is a larger-than-life personality whose larger-than-life equine images [treat] the eye with equine grace and majesty.  Once this gifted artist hit her stride, Nancy B. was, and remains, unstoppable in the genre…


When she was a girl, Frank did not just love horses, she thought she was a horse.  “My best friend Peggy and I galloped around the block with scarves sticking out of our pants to look like tails.”  The artist, who holds an M.F.A. in photo-printmaking [from] the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.F.A. in painting from Ohio Wesleyan University has lived in Telluride, Colorado, since 1989. …Despite her childhood passion for equines, fact is she had routinely shied away from horses as a suitable subject matter.  [In her words:] “So many people like me love the magical mystery and beauty of a horse, but for years I felt trying to capture that majesty on canvas would  be a cliché.”...Those feelings changed when Frank began doing equestrian travel to different countries and cultures.  Because of digital photography, she was able to paint from her original color photographs.   Nancy B. found herself painting horses through the strength of her photographer’s eye and the heart of a person who loves them…


[The artist] never liked empty spaces on canvas, so she photographed her horses to fill the screen and,  subsequently, the picture plane, with heads, manes, bits and reins in extreme close-up.  Her horse images hold the dynamic tension embodied by these powerful, proud creatures, bound up with tack, yes, but only superficially submissive.  Inside, like the artist herself, they will always remain unbridled…Frank’s horses mark the moment the artist came into her power, the result of finding her natural subject and creating work that is very very good and honoring that fact of her life [as an equestrienne]… Nowadays, when it comes to painting horses, Frank owns the finish line.  [As she says,] “My horse paintings mark the first time in my life as an artist that I managed to marry my love of color with a subject I am passionate about.  I am proud of these paintings because I was finally able to infuse technique with emotion.”


There is a good reason that “art” is embedded in “heart.”  


--These excerpts are from a painting exhibition review entitled “UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL” by Susan Viebrock that appeared in Telluride Inside and Out (January 26, 2018)