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August 9, 2016 • Headline News
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She has 2 paintings in the Louvre!

Acclaimed artist continues to paint portraits in Osgood

Mary Mattingly

Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Rembrandt have something in common with Nancie Scott Davis of Osgood. They both have art hanging at the Louvre, the world’s largest museum in Paris, France. In the same 12th century museum that houses Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, and world famous Venus de Milo sculpture is Scott Davis’s pen and ink/ pastel of a buckboard wagon and another of a doctor’s old fashioned buggy.

Pictured is Nancie Scott Davis at her art table. Below is an oil painting done by Davis.

“It’s very American art,” she said at her Osgood home where she moved to a year ago. She’s never seen the paintings at the famous art museum, but was shown a photo of them from a Madison friend who visited there. How it got there some 20 years ago was through her innate talent, timing and a bit of luck. She was in the sound business with her first husband and working at a special event at the Belvedere in downtown Louisville when she connected with some French visitors. It was raining and she offered shelter in her nearby hotel room at the Galt House. That’s where they saw her acclaimed art work lined along the walls for an upcoming art show. They invited them to France for a sound job, and wanted her to show art as well. How could she refuse? “I sold everything I took there! French people like American art,” she said. Scott Davis isn’t sure if the Louvre purchased the pieces or they were donated. “I just know I have two pieces of art in the Louvre!”

Acclaimed artist

To have her art displayed at probably the most prestigious museum in the world isn’t that unusual for this Hoosier artist. She also has had pieces at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, has been commissioned for portraits of famous personalities such as James Whitcomb Riley and Bill Monroe. The late movie star Charlton Heston actually bought one of her western paintings as well.

Nancie Scott Davis oil paintingMainly self-taught (she also attended Herron School of Art), Scott Davis taught for 33 years in the Greenfield and Greenwood area, won numerous art show awards, served as an art judge throughout the state for many exhibitions and shows, and is actually listed on the Who’s Who of American Artists. One of her well-known paintings was after 9/11, an Eagle with a flag in the background, and the 300 limited edition prints sold out soon afterward. Scott Davis takes her accomplishments and innate talent in stride. Art is often about timing and connections, she admits. “Many opportunities hit when I least expected it,” she said. After Eli Lilly corporate executives were disappointed in a rural barn and windmill painting they had commissioned, Scott Davis was suggested by one of her students who worked there. She turned out an original in 10 days, that has since been exhibited all over the world.

How she ended up in Osgood is through loss. Years ago, she and her husband Sid Davis, moved to Friendship and set up a small business Wolf Bear Creations where they sold art, wolf and Indian artifacts in Friendship and Madison. A Kiowa Apache, Sid grew up on a reservation in southwest Arizona, and Nancie’s father is half Southern Cheyenne, hence the connection with Native Americans. (The Academy award winning movie “Dances with Wolves” features Sid’s stone pieces and tomahawks, she proudly says.) They also built a unique house full of their originals and Western artifacts, but “there was too much heartache there after he died” from brain cancer 13 years ago. She eventually found refuge and comfort in the 1890 brick home in Osgood that houses her and all her beloved and priceless treasures.

Not just on canvas
The house is virtually a small art museum. The walls are adorned from floor to ceiling with her art. A wood display cabinet is filled with handmade intricate bead work of moccasins, beaded and parflesh (rawhide) bags and other western accessories. Upstairs there is the wedding dress she made out of leather and a large painting of her father as a boy visiting his Cheyenne father on the reservation. “I have to paint something I know,” she said. If she doesn’t know her subject, she researches and studies, and once toured Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota observing the natural landscape and Indian art forms and customs and spirit of the West.

Known mainly for her portrait work, the petite (4’8”) woman with the vivid blue eyes is not limited to expressing on just traditional surfaces. Given a photo, and with the use of very fine French brushes, this portrait artist can reproduce the precise likeness on a small feather. She also does scrimshaw on deer or wolf carcasses, and of late, her original animal and people portraits are printed on wine bottles. Scott Davis also developed a unique brown-tone monochromatic oil treatment of rural and western subjects.

“Every piece has a story,” she said, pointing to the original hung in den/studio of the two boys crouched on the rails. She happened to be out with her photographer trying to capture some scenes, when they ran into the young runaways. They had actually ran away from home because they didn’t want to do chores, she learned. The timeless pencil rendering is one of her more popular ones and the prints quickly sell. Artists often claim portraits are one of the hardest things to paint. “You have to get the eyes right. Put the personality in and give it heart,” she advises her students. “The eyes can capture the soul and spirit.” It can take her hundreds of hours to complete a portrait. Well versed in every art media, from pastels and oils to watercolor, pen and ink, pencil and mixed media, Scott Davis only shuns acrylics. “I can’t feel the paint like I can with oil,” she commented.

Close to her heart

Not one to hold on to dates or numbers, this artist is not sure how many paintings she has created. But she does know the hardest one she ever did was of her only child, Jason Scott, who died 11 years ago at the age of 34. A gifted artist also, he was a police officer in Greenfield and died suddenly of an aneurysm. She painted it six weeks after his death and hopes to transfer it to his tombstone.

Her favorite art piece? “Each one is my favorite,” she replies, but upon reflection changes her mind. It has to be of a senior portrait of her only granddaughter, 18-year-old Peyton Scott, who also shares her art gene, and is soon to be a Ball State student. She worked on it all winter as a gift for her graduation. “She told me it was the best gift she’s ever received,” Scott Davis says. That means a lot to her.

Police work
Scott Davis’s artistic talent not only has given pleasure to others, but can be useful too. She has been a courtroom sketch artist, and because of her acclaimed portrait work, a composite sketch artist for several law enforcement agencies. “It’s very rewarding to help find someone’s missing child,” she added, noting it can also be painful if it doesn’t turn out well. Because of her son being an officer and her long-time work with police, she donated all the proceeds from the 9/11 print to fire and police departments. She gave the sheriff’s office in Madison a signed print and it hangs there today. Art has always been about expression for her, and the emotion it conveys. “It becomes a part of me,” she commented. “It’s emotional to sell the originals,” which is why she makes prints, copyrighting all that she creates.

Painting into her golden years, Scott Davis plans to keep using this form of expression until she no longer can. As she realizes “It’s a gift from the Creator.”

Local Bulletin Board

August 24
Southeastern Career Center open house, college fair and chili supper

The Southeastern Career Center will be hosting a combination Open House, College & Career Fair, and Chili Supper on Wednesday, Aug. 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. Current SCC students and parents are invited and encouraged to attend. Read more on page 2 of The Versailles Republican dated August 11.

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