Nancy Thompson's Artist Studio, Ames Iowa


Pillar of Cloud (1st Place at the Iowa State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition

About Me


Artist's Statement

I am an artist who believes that I am doing my best work when my paintings and drawings are my personal reflections of the reality that I see before me, bringing all my understanding of color and form, light and shadow, expressive line and creative imagination to bear on the media and the medium I have selected, whether pastel, oil, or acrylic, whether canvas, paper, cloth, or panel. It is my firm belief that all art starts in a realistic portrayal of the world around us, whether it be a carefully selected landscape, a well composed still life, the flowing  intricacies of the human body, or the shapes and shadings of the human face. It is all there, ready to be interpreted by the mind and skill of the individual artist. 



  I have always been fascinated by cloud formations, and as an artist I look to the endless variety of the sky and the clouds for subjects for my work. When others are afraid of the power that the thunder and the dark clouds portend, I see beauty, and it has been my goal to reflect that beauty in my art.  I often immerse myself in these angry skies when life throws situations at me that seem impossible to overcome. I find vicarious emotional satisfaction from taking a powerful image and creatively taking it apart in order to recreate it in my workspace. Somehow, things seem more manageable afterward and the art work is often even more vibrant than usual.


The Iowa Landscape

   As a lifelong Iowa artist, I have always found the beautiful and varied shades of green in the agricultural landscape along with the geometric organization of the farm fields to contrast nicely with the incredible cloud formations that bring the life giving rain to these crops. The setting sun illuminates the clouds and intensifies the colors to create an almost surreal effect. Because the land and the sky are so symbiotically related, one dependent on the other,

The Studio of Nancy Thompson


Who am I?

I am a Drawing Instructor at Iowa State University and also have a private Fine Art Studio. I can be reached by email at

I am a professional artist.

Much of the work on this website is for sale.  Sizes and prices will be added to this website.   If you are thinking of buying one of my works, contact me by email.

If you would like a print of a particular image, contact me and we can discuss it.

I also do commissions.  See examples of commissions. Contact me by email if you would like to commission me to do a particular subject.

I am a competitive artist as well, and I regularly enter Local and National Juried shows in the central Iowa area.  I have won many prizes for my art work.

While most of the work on this website are pastel, I have worked with acrylic and oil for most of my life as an artist.  

Upcoming project involves Iowa State Artists, the Department of Natural Resources and the Iowa Arts Council: Iowa Parks 2020

Iowa Parks 2020 grew out of the Common Channels project and is designed to celebrate the 100th year of the Iowa State Park system in 2020.  Twenty artists from Iowa State University will travel to twenty Iowa State Parks and use their creativity to share their vision of the parks.  There will be oils, pastels, sculpture, ceramics, installation art, wood, and more and the exhibit will be shown in three or more locations around the state.    I am the organizer and project coordinator, but I am also one of the artists.  

Watch this space for more information.

Matting and Framing

Since 2017 we have been doing our matting and framing in house.  My husband and I have purchased a state of the art mat cutter and he has put together a workshop for cutting and assembling frames, cutting mats, and preparing my art work for presentation.  We use the finest quality mouldings from Superior Moulding Corporation in Minneapolis and museum quality glass from Reflections Glass in Ames.


Recent Project: Common Channels

During the last 2 years my colleagues in the Iowa State University Fine Arts Department and I have put together an exhibition entitled "Common Channel: Responses to Ledges State Park.  As the organizer and curator of this project, it was my honor to work with thirteen fine artists and to mount two shows of the work.  You will find my contributions to this show on the Common Channel page of this website.