Using a graphic pencil almost like a brush, Nina Fritz scarcely touches the surface of the paper as she studies her human subject. Barely discernible lines begin to take shape and form. When she begins to paint, what looks like nothing more than a wide watery stroke of red across the paper is slowly transformed into the shadow of a hat brim on a woman’s face. For building artists and those who admire Ms. Fritz’s work, watching a painting come to life may seem like pure magic, but the experience of more than three decades is evident in every delicate pencil line, every brush stroke, every combination of color, light and shadow.

Nina Fritz recently attended the Marin Art School in Novato, California. It not only influenced her work tremendously but has been a turning point in her art journey. Dorallen Davis, co-owner with Jane Heaphy, has been her on-going mentor.

Although Nina Fritz paints everything from landscapes to architecture, its a portraiture and the human form to which she remains the most committed and the most passionate. “Art is like anything at which you strive to do well,” she says; “It takes practice and more practice. The good ones are never satisfied, but continue to see how they can make the next work better.”

That philosophy proves to be a strong influence over her life. A day rarely goes by that she doesn’t pick up a paintbrush, a camera or a sketchbook. Her style is loose, spontaneous, and impressionistic. Fritz’s fluid wet-in-wet watercolor method makes her work radiate with light and color.

Ms. Fritz began her art training while living in Japan. She expanded her knowledge of technique and painting rudiments at the University of Minnesota at Duluth, then at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As she and her career military husband traveled around the world, she sought out and studied with the best art teachers in each location. She owns two galleries on the Florida Gulf Coast; one in the community of Seaside, the other on Pensacola Beach. Each weekend, Nina demonstrates her talents in both galleries by painting portrait impressions “a la prime” (from life). Fritz is also much in demand as a workshop teacher, expanding from the Southeast United States to Venice. Cards, letters and workshop critiques glow with praise from Fritz’s attention to detail, intensive sketching and painting sessions, and endless patience.

Painting in a series is especially attractive to Ms. Fritz. Her gallery exhibits and receptions have showcased her series on jazz and country performers, women, and women and children. Her series entitled “Grandchildren, the Dessert of Life,” heralded a return to the media of oil. In 1997, Fritz was commissioned by Paramount Pictures to create paintings for the Jim Carrey movie “The Truman Show,” which was filmed in part at Seaside, Florida.

The abundantly talented artist attributes her success to three things – God, family, and work. The balance of all three has freed her to find her own direction; there is joy in her paintings, and in her life.

“A painter is like a writer,” Nina smiles. “They are both delivering a message. Mine is joy. If I can make you smile when you look at my paintings, the cycle is complete, and my work is done.”

Ms. Fritz makes her home in Pensacola, Florida with her husband Norman.

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