Nancie King Mertz

Chicago, USA

Master & Eminent Pastelist
“Lively urban scenes captured in pastel and oil with all the teaming energy of the big city”.

Nancie King Mertz  –  Eminent Pastelist!

How does an idea transition from out-in-the-world to actually being a completed painting?

Nearly all my paintings begin with a “tick-mark-map,” the initial charcoal notes I make on the surface to include all desired elements in the composition. The quick map helps me to get the perspective correct and the scale right before I begin adding pigment.

At what age did you know you wanted to be an artist?

As a small child, my parents often joked that my first sentence was “I want an easel”!

What is the earliest artwork you did that you can remember?

At about 5, I started with watercolor and tempera, covering the paper then using a small matboard window to crop and identify shapes that formed compositions, and developed them into small paintings.

Which classical or contemporary artists have inspired you?

John Singer Sargent, Degas, Monet, Sorrolla, and Richard Schmid, our greatest living Master.

How would you describe your artistic style?

Impressionistic, finding beauty in the ordinary.

When did you first sell an artwork? How did you feel?

In early high school–loved selling and sharing my work!

What's your workstyle? Do you work on one piece at a time or work simultaneously on multiple pieces?

I work quickly, so I don’t lose interest.  I tend to work on one, through to completion.  However, I do have a pastel area in my studio as well as an oil setup, and often both easels have a piece going.

How do you get the inspiration for a new piece?

Light & shadow do it for me, whether a cityscape or landscape.

Tell us a bit about your personal life ...

A lifetime painter, I opened a frame shop while in college getting my MA in painting.  This quickly grew into a gallery and this is the 40th year for my business. My husband joined me nearly 2o years ago as printer and web master.

Often when we just start-in painting, we run off the surface, omitting some of the elements that are key to the composition. My “map” helps me avoid this blunder. From the quick map, I begin to place all the darks throughout the piece (only the darks) and then lightly wash them in with denatured alcohol and a fan brush for pastels.


A few pieces from Nancie King Mertz’s gallery

Flower Show

Three's Company

More about Nancie King Mertz

Shows & Exhibitions


  • Pastel Society of America-Master Signature Member

  • Chicago Pastel Society-Master Signature Member

  • Int’l Assoc. of Pastel Societies-Master Circle Member, Eminent Pastelist

  • Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Arts, Chicago

  • Salmagundi Club, NYC

  • American Impressionists

  • Oil Painters of America

  • Chicago Plein Air Painters

  • Degas Pastel Society, New Orleans

  • Indiana Plein Air Painters Assoc.

  • Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce

  • LakeView East Chamber of Commerce

  • Philanthropic Council Advocate IL Masonic Medical Center

  • Holy Covenant United Methodist


  • PSA:  awards in 2018, Richard McKinley award in 2017, 2016, 2015,Bill Creevy Award 2014, 2013 award

  • CPP:  Best in Show, 1st Pl, and various awards

  • IAPS:  Prix de Pastel 2018, First Place 2017 and 2018, Award of Merit 2015, 2013 and Master Circle Recipient, 2018 Eminent Pastelist

  • Palette & Chisel:  Diamond Medal and various awards since 1988

  • Butler Museum Invitational Pastel Exhibition 2017, 2015, 2013

  • Pastel Journal, various awards, Feb. 2015 cover, and articles, Pastel 100 juror in 2017

  • The Artist Magazine, various awards

  • Plein Air Easton! awards 2010 and 2015
    First Place Carmel on Canvas

  • OPA: 5th Pl

  • Degas Pastel:  Award of Excellence 2017, Honorable Mention 2015, Great American Award 2014,

  • IPAPA: Award of Merit 2015, Honorable Mention 2014

  • Boldbrush:  the Boldbrush Award and Finalist awards and Fave 15 awards

  • Distinguished Graduate Alum 2012 Eastern IL University
    Distinguished Alum 2016 Eastern IL University

  • Inaugural Class 2013 Hall of Fame Inductee Arcola High School

  • LPCofC:  Business Person of the Year 2008, Small Business of the Year 2000

  • Network of Women Entrepreneurs Woman of the Year Award 2000

  • Twice named “Chicago Artist of the Year” by the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau


  • Butler Museum, Youngstown, OH
  • Pastels in Perigold, France
  • Ming Gallery and various museums in China
  • Represented by The Linden Gallery in Door Co., WI
  • Pastel Journal Feb 2015 cover Artist and 11 pg. feature story
    Plein Air Magazine feature story 2016, 2018
  • PSA Pastelagram 2015 feature story in bi-annual publication
  • FL Forgotten Coast 10-day Invitational Plein Air Paint-Out, 2018, 2017, 2016,2015, 2014, 2013, 2012
  • MD Plein Air Easton! 2015, 2010
  • PSA Enduring Brilliance Show
  • Florida’s Forgotten Coast Invitational 10-Day Paint Out
  • Boston, Voss Gallery, IAPS show
  • NYC, Nat’l Arts Club, PSA’s “Enduring Brilliance”, awards
  • MD, Plein Air–Easton!  Utrecht Award of Excellence “Best Use of Light”
  • 2nd Place Chicago Pastel Painters
  • “Best of Show” Richeson 75 Small Works Show  Kimberly, WI
  • Univ. of IL Alumni Center, Jan-July ’08
  • “Medical Arts as Fine Art” Rosalind Franklin University Traveling Show
  • studio b, Three Oaks, MI
  • Gallery Wright, VT
  • Greenhouse Gallery’s Masters, TX
  • “Best of Show” Award, Nat’l Pastel Painters show hosted by Chicago Pastel Painters
  • Renaissance Hotel, Schaumburg
  • Cape Cod Painters
  • Barnsite Gallery, Kewaunee WI
  • Palette & Chisel Academy of Arts–18 one-person Fall shows
  • Edwards Heart Hospital in Naperville
  • Joseph Layton in Galena
  • Northwestern’s Prentis Hospital
  • Chicago “One-Of-A-Kind” 10 Years
  • Gallery 415, Chicago
  • Southside Art League
  • Palette & Chisel Group Shows
  • Ottinger Gallery, 2 one-person
  • Ottinger Gallery, 3-person
  • The St. Louis Artist’s Guild
  • Springfield Art Association
  • Chicago Windy City Artists, group
  • Midwest Pastel Society gold medal
  • Scottsdale Artist’s League
  • James Thompson Center
  • Nymeyer Gallery
  • Indianapolis Athletic Club
  • Municipal Art League
  • The Claridge, 3 one-person shows
  • Gwenda Jay Gallery, 1& 2-person shows Gallery of Holy Covenant United Methodist, 3 one-person, numerous group shows Palette & Chisel Academy, 15 one-person, numerous group, Diamond Medal, Best of Show, and other awards