2019 Featured Art Piece titled “Podgin’ for Oysters,” revealed – a study of the Eastern Shore Waterman captured by nationally recognized painter Nancy Tankersley.

Featured Art Piece “Podgin’ for Oysters”

Tankersley, who resides and paints in Easton, was selected as the Featured Artist back in March and created the piece “Podgin’ for Oysters,” a 48″ x 36” oil on linen painting, as a homage to the Eastern Shore and the balance between environmentalists and the Watermen who make their living on the water.

“I especially like painting watermen who are hand-tonging for oysters the way it has been done for over 250 years,” said Tankersley. “Not only does it take good “sea legs” and a strong back, it seems to me that there is a particular grace, akin to a well trained athlete, in the movements of the waterman who is balancing on the edge of the boat using long unwieldy tools to fish for the oysters laying on the bottom. In this painting he is “feeling” or “podgin’” for the oysters and gently raking them into a pile, or combining with other piles, so that when he grasps the tongs with both hands and heaves the loaded basket up with all of his strength, the effort will have been worth it!”

Waterman Robbie Bowman, the subject of the painting, poses with artist Nancy Tankersley at her studio in Easton.

“We are so pleased with the piece that Nancy has created for the 2019 Waterfowl Festival,” said Kathy Dawkins, co-chair of the Festival’s Featured Artist committee. “Her work exemplifies everything that is special about the Eastern Shore, and highlights the importance of preserving the health of the Chesapeake Bay for future generations. We are planning a few special events around the subject of the painting and think they will be some of the highlights of this year’s Festival.”

Speaking about her creative process she said, “When I have an idea, I like to get it on the canvas as quickly as possible. For a large painting I always do preparatory sketches, it isn’t until I have all the big shapes established on the canvas that I know if the design will work. If it doesn’t feel right, I wipe it off and start again. You can see from the progress shots that I was working out design and detail and it wasn’t until the final stages that I brought the colors to a more realistic tone.”

Tankersley explains that her painting process can be unusual in that she begins with exaggerated colorful tones and then later makes the color more realistic to the water and sky of the Chesapeake Bay. “Dry glazing on top of the base colors is a big part of my technique on my larger paintings,” she said. “On my smaller works my approach is much more “alla prima” or immediate. I often do plein air studies so that I have a good visual memory of an area’s colors.”

Tankersley has been active in the plein air movement and is one of the founders of Plein Air Easton. She travels worldwide participating in competitions, judging and teaching. In 2018 and 2019 she was invited to be an instructor and demonstrator at the Plein Air Convention in Santa Fe and released her first instructional video with Lilliedahl Videos. In 2009, she co-founded the Easton Studio & School, where she now teaches weekly classes and short-term workshops. She is a Signature member of the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters, the Washington Society of Landscape Painters, the American Impressionist Society, the Oil Painters of America, and the Salmagundi Club in New York City. In 2016 and 2017 she was invited to exhibit at the prestigious Masters Exhibition at the Salmagundi Club in NYC.

Recent honors include Best of Show at Parrsboro, Nova Scotia International Plein Air 2018, Best of Show at the Lighthouse Plein Air Festival 2017 and the Dickinson Award for Best Painting by a Signature Member of the American Impressionist Society 2016 Annual Juried Exhibit.

“Podgin’ for Oysters”, 48″ x 36″, oil on linen canvas, will be available for sale at the 2019 Waterfowl Festival for $12,000, you may call 410-822-4567 for additional information. Posters of the piece can be purchased online.