Artist, Nancy Lamb. Fort Worth, TX
Whatever you call that ‘thing’ that charismatic people give off when they enter a room, Nancy Lamb says she gravitates towards it “like a moth to a flame” every time. This admission sounds strange coming from a woman who has had people flock to her and her effervescent personality for decades. With her trademark eyeglasses, her inviting smile, and a double-helping of Texas charm, Nancy, one of Fort Worth’s most treasured artists is just as captivating as the art she creates.
Unless you are brand new to the North Texas area, you are likely aware of Nancy Lamb in some capacity or another. With each successive trip around the sun, her legacy has grown and her reputation as an artist has strengthened. Nancy is an accomplished painter with oils and watercolors, and she says that she likes to alternate between the two regularly.
Her body of work is enormous, giving collectors plenty to admire and own, but she tells me that when she’s not painting, she is a passionate collector of people and experiences. This is not as sinister as it sounds; she simply thrives on the energy that other people bring into her orbit, and the experiences they share together. This shines through in her unique portraits, which always capture the spontaneity of the moment, and give the viewer the sense that they are sneaking a peak into a conversation or a joke between friends. This ‘fly on the wall’ perspective lets you participate in the subject, without feeling like you are interfering, and the result has an almost magical quality to it.
For someone who is outwardly so bubbly and fun, it might surprise people to learn that her work has covered a range of subjects, some having a decidedly darker subject matter. Case in point, Nancy says that over the years, she has been commissioned to paint numerous posthumous portraits, and even painted her own parent’s funerals. While thinking back to that time, she ruefully states, “While there was certainly sadness and pain associated with making those paintings…I lost my parents after all…they did win me a very prestigious award! And they both sold.”
This momentary bit of self-reflection perfectly encapsulates what has become her calling card. She’s a serious artist who never seems to take herself too seriously. That’s an amazing quality, because whether she thinks she deserves the title or not, most would say Nancy is a “local celebrity.” To be sure, her long career and body of work has certainly found traction outside of Fort Worth, as well, but she proudly calls the city home. As is the case with any form of celebrity, that status is not without its ramifications. No matter where she goes, Nancy is constantly recognized. I ask her how she feels about being approached whenever she’s in public, and she immediately says, “It’s fun! It’s always fun.”
“I was a teacher, and when you are a teacher for a long time, you end up having thousands of kids, and they all recognize you. You may not always remember all of their names, but they certainly remember yours!”
As we finish our time together with a stroll through her opulent backyard oasis, I realize that perhaps it isn’t so strange that a woman, who proudly admits to being hyper-attracted to charismatic people, possesses a bounty of charisma herself, and that the lady who thinks herself a moth is viewed by so many as a butterfly.