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Artist’s vivid paintings bring her home to life

Artist’s vivid paintings bring her home to life

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Nancy Friederich found her lakeside home 20 years ago just at the end of construction and moved in with her two youngest sons. Two decades later, she still loves her home, but there’s just one problem. Despite its clutter-free 2,600 square feet, plus a finished basement, “I’m running out of walls,” she says. “I’m nearly out of space.”

Nancy is a professional painter who works in her sunroom studio. She displays her large oil paintings throughout the house, as well as pieces by artists she knows. Walking through is like a pleasant stroll through a private art gallery, with at least several pieces in every room. A self-described Type A personality, she estimates that she has made 400 to 500 paintings to date, some as large as 4 by 8 feet. She says, “I don’t feel that I can say what I want to say on a small canvas.” Nancy may spend up to 14 months to complete a piece; prices range from $150 to $4,000.

She keeps most wall colors pale or neutral. “I don’t want to be looking at bold colors when I paint; it might be distracting or reflect on the painting.” The finished pieces are often in shades of Nancy’s favorite color, green, as well as blues. They pop against the plain walls.

“The art and the decorating have nothing to do with each other,” she says. “I decorate my house with whatever pieces (of art) happen to be here.” Nancy works in series, based on a general theme. She has been painting her garden series for the past six years. It features florals such as white iris, red geraniums and silvery-gray Dusty Miller plants. A previous series is based on the small scenic lake behind her home.

Nancy suggests that homeowners who want to display art should measure the spaces, then visit small art fairs for reasonably priced pieces. “Buy what you love and make the space work.” She suggests moving art to various locations to experience it in different settings.

When she is not painting or teaching, Nancy often can be found designing and making quilts. Recently, she and her friend, Penny Ellett of Mascoutah, made 15 quilts from their collected fabric scraps and sent them to a home for abused girls that Nancy had visited in Peru. “I love to make things. I am a very busy woman, and I love, love, love it,” she says.

{hr /}Nancy Friederich

Age • 66

Home • Belleville

Occupation • Nancy is a professional artist and an adjunct professor of art history at Southwestern Illinois College; her website is

Family • Nancy is the mother of sons Bill Friederich, 45, of Holt’s Summit, Mo.; Tim Friederich, 43, of Chandler, Ariz.; and Andy Friederich, 29, who lives in Soulard. Another son, Mike Friederich, is deceased. Her grandchildren are Brook, 17, and Michael Friederich, 10. Nancy’s white cairn terrier is Malcolm.

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