Thursday, December 17, 2015


"Signe", acrylic on canvas, 16" x 12"
Here is the lovely model Signe posing for our group at the Lafayette Studio on December 6. I thought it would be interesting to include the studio setting and a fellow artist to round out the composition.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Cheeky Enjoys a Quiet Moment

"Cheeky Enjoys a Quiet Moment", acrylic on canvas 8" x 8"
My mom bought this cute wooden monkey back in the 60's. With his sleek lines and hip personality he fit in well with our Danish Modern furniture, boomerang Formica counters and sunburst clock. I call him Cheeky.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Farm Fresh

"Farm Fresh", acrylic on canvas, 16" x 12"
I started this painting at the Brentwood Farmers' Market and finished it today in my studio.  My friend Anna Williams was kind enough to pose for me in the foreground, which was just the element the composition needed. (I'm afraid I haven't really captured her lovely likeness, though.) I love the beautiful, colorful jumble of fruit, veges and flowers at the market, especially early in the morning. I'm so not a morning person, but once I'm there I always feel joyful.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Champagne Trees

"Champagne Trees", acrylic on canvas, 12" x 24"
I started this painting last Spring in the cherry orchard on Eureka Avenue in Brentwood.  The trees had just been pruned with these amazing, uniform flat tops.  I've heard this is done to make it easier for people to reach the highest cherries during U-pick season.  As I developed the painting the tree shapes started to remind me of champagne glasses, and the big bubbles appeared. Lacy roots keep the trees from floating away.

In progress

Plein air in the orchard, Spring 2015

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Brentwood Tractor

"Brentwood Tractor", acrylic on linen, 16" x 12"

The East Contra Costa Historical Museum in Brentwood has a wonderful collection of vintage tractors.  I started this painting there last weekend during a paint-out with friends, and finished it in my studio today.  The view toward Diablo was actually over my left shoulder, but I decided to include it with the tractor because they seemed to belong together. (Sold)

My painting in progress at the East Contra Costa Historical Museum, 11/1/15

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Duck on a Bike

"Duck on a Bike", acrylic on canvas, 12" x 9"

I have a great collection of vintage toys, and this colorful tin litho duck is one of my favorites. When you wind him up he pedals his little tricycle and his propeller hat spins furiously. So fun to paint!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Divine Goddess

"Michelle Stretching", charcoal and pastel
Our model at the figure group last week was Michelle, a beautiful dancer and aerialist dressed in her ballet gear. Her poses were lovely. It's easy to see why she bills herself as "The Divine Goddess!"

"Pensive", charcoal and pastel
"Lacing her Shoes", charcoal and pastel

"Michelle's Back", charcoal and pastel

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Paris Sketches

Eiffel Tower
We went to Paris in September -- it was fantastic! We rented an apartment on the top floor of a 19th century building across the street from the Jardin des Tuileries and a five-minute walk from the Louvre. The views from our balconies were spectacular! We could see the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay, the Hotel des Invalides (Napoleon's Tomb), the Grand Palais, and of course, the Eiffel Tower.  I didn't do nearly as much sketching as I'd thought I would, but I did manage to do these sketches from our balcony.  I took a lot of photos, though, so I have a wealth of images and memories to paint from. So inspired!

The Louvre

The Musee d'Orsay

Hotel des Invalides (dome) and Basilique de Ste. Clotilde (spires)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Susan Monson as La Bonniche

Our model at the Brentwood figure group this week was the beautiful and talented Susan Monson, in character as La Bonniche, the French upstairs maid (aka the girlfriend.)  So fun!
"I will dust your house, but I will not enjoy it!", acrylic on paper

"La Bonniche, Gesture", acrylic on paper
"Dusting Le Tour Eiffel", acrylic on paper

"Le Break", acrylic on paper
"Le Big Pillow", acrylic on paper
"Catching up on le news", acrylic on paper

"Un Petit Nap", acrylic on paper
"Tea with Hedwig", acrylic on paper

"La Bonniche Dreams of Becoming an Actress", acrylic on paper

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Vaudie Va Boom

Our model at the Brentwood figure group last night was the lovely Vaudie Va Boom sporting a retro red minidress and shades. In the portrait I'm afraid I didn't really capture her likeness, but I hope it at least catches a glimmer of her glowing spirit.
Vaudie Va Boom, acrylic on paper

Vaudie Reclining, acrylic on paper

Gesture with Sunglasses, acrylic on paper

Vaudie at the Table's Edge, acrylic on paper
Vaudie Becomes One with the Chair, acrylic on paper

Saturday, August 29, 2015

New Drawing Class for Adults and Teens

"Toy Tractor", pencil sketch by Nancy Roberts

I love to draw!  If you do too, but feel like you could use a little jump-start, here's a class I'm offering at the Delta Gallery in Brentwood starting October 2 (new date):

Drawing with Confidence (Adults and Teens age 13 and up)  If you already have some drawing experience and would like to strengthen your skills you'll enjoy this fun and encouraging class. Working from life, photos, memory and imagination, you'll explore techniques for rendering your subject realistically while also expressing your own creative vision. Students who've worked with Nancy before will receive new challenges to build on personal progress. Plan to bring your own supplies. For a list of suggested materials visit  Instructor: Nancy Roberts. Fee: $95 (5 weeks)  Fridays, Oct. 2 - Oct. 30 (new dates), 4 - 6 pm (new time)

To register for the class call the Delta Gallery at (925) 516-5935 to reserve your spot, then pay in person before the class begins. The gallery is located in the Streets of Brentwood Shopping Center, 2485 Sand Creek Rd., Suite 128, next to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

I also offer classes for kids at the gallery.  Click here to see my Fall schedule.  I hope to see you soon!

"Half Dome from the Merced River", pencil sketch by Nancy Roberts

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hillside Home

"Hillside Home", acrylic on canvas, 16" x 12"
One of my collectors commissioned me to do a portrait of his home in the Oakland Hills. It was a pleasure painting this beautiful house with its lovely palette of soft greens, peachy golds and natural wood elements. The Japanese maple in the front yard gave me a good excuse to use my favorite red-violets, and the eucalyptus grove across the street cast a pretty pattern of cool shadows.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sunny Market Flowers

"Sunny Market Flowers", acrylic on canvas, 12" x 12"
I painted this today at the Brentwood Farmers' Market. I love the energy and the friendly spirit of the market, and my goal is to capture that feeling in my paintings. This flower booth was so glorious I decided to dive right into color with no preliminary drawing. Quite a departure for me, and very fun!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Pink and Green Italianate

"Pink and Green Italianate", acrylic on wood, 8" x 6"
Here's a new one in my "Architectural Gems" series focusing on historic homes in Alameda, California. I love the pastel colors of the beautiful Italianate, probably dating from the early 1900's. This painting will be in the "Miniatures" area at the Scene on the Strait, coming up August 8, 10 am to 5pm at the Martinez Regional Shoreline Park. The Scene on the Strait is a fun, family-friendly outdoor festival with lots of great art to enjoy, live music, gourmet food and wine. Come check it out!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Turquoise Victorian

"Turquoise Victorian", acrylic on wood, 8" x 6"
Just finished this new one in my "Architectural Gems" series, focusing on the many beautiful historic homes in Alameda, California.   I'll have this one in the Miniatures area at the Scene on the Strait coming up on August 8 in Martinez (unless it sells before then.)  The Scene on the Strait is always a fun, family-friendly event, with lots of great art to enjoy.  I hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sutter Creek Inn

"Sutter Creek Inn", acrylic on canvas, 12" x 12"

Painted this yesterday in Sutter Creek, a beautiful historic town in the heart California's Gold Country. The owner of the inn graciously allowed my friend Wendy Rogers and me to set up on her shady lawn to paint her lovely building and garden. A delightful day!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New drawing class for adults and teens in Brentwood

Piggy poses with his portrait (sketch by Nancy Roberts)

If you've always wanted to learn to draw, or if it's been a while and you'd like to brush up your skills, check out this fun new Summer class:

The Joy of Drawing: Intro and Refresher (Adults and Teens age 13 and up)  Come discover -- or rediscover -- the pleasure of drawing! In this supportive and encouraging class you'll build your skills and confidence with projects that focus on observation, linework, light and shadow, three-dimensional form, perspective, composition and more. Along the way you'll learn techniques for working with pencil, pen, charcoal and pastel to enhance realism and add creative expression to your work. All materials will be provided in class. A $10 materials fee is payable to the instructor on the first day. Instructor: Nancy Roberts. Fee: $75 (4 weeks)  Sundays, July 12 - August 2, 2:00 - 4:00 pm.

Click here to see the full schedule of my classes for children, teens and adults at the Delta Gallery this Summer.

Delta Gallery is located at 2485 Sand Creek Rd., Suite 128 in the Streets of Brentwood Shopping Center. To register for a class call the gallery at (925) 516-5935 to reserve your spot, then pay in person before the class begins.

"Rasa", charcoal sketch by Nancy Roberts

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Special (new version)

"Special", acrylic on canvas, 6" x 6"
This cute little trolley is on display at the National City Depot near San Diego.  I first created this painting last Fall, but this week I decided to give it a make-over with fresh new colors and a sturdy set of wheels.  (Several astute Facebook friends observed that the old version had no wheels.  We all decided it must be a hovercraft.)  I'm much happier with this new version -- it feels more like me!

(Here's the old version.)

Friday, May 29, 2015

Planting (Filoli)

"Planting (Filoli)", acrylic on canvas, 7" x 5"
Here's another painting from my recent day at Filoli.  The day we were there a small army of dedicated volunteers were busily tending the vast gardens. These two were planting new flowers in a lovely hedged terrace surrounding the reflecting pool.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Filoli Clocktower

"Filoli Clocktower", acrylic on canvas, 16" x 12"
Started this painting at the beautiful Filoli Estate during Artist Access day last week. It was pure joy to stand in the middle of a lovely, quiet, fragrant garden and paint this spectacular view! Sunshine gave way to rain in the late afternoon, though, so I packed it up and finished this painting in my studio, sipping tea and listening to Beethoven's Pastorale -- the perfect soundtrack!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Summer art classes at the Delta Gallery

I'm happy to be offering an exciting line-up of Summer classes at the newly re-opened Delta Gallery in Brentwood!  Classes for children, teens and adults start June 6.  For a complete schedule with descriptions and fees click here.  Here's what's on tap:

Classes for Kids
Creative Printmaking, ages 6 - 12, Friday June 12, 1 - 2:30pm (1 day)
Color Splash, ages 5 - 8, Friday, June 19, 1 - 2pm (1 day)
Fantasy World, ages 6 - 12, Friday, June 19, 2:30 - 4pm (1 day)
Art Fun, ages 5 - 8, Fridays, July 10 - July 24, 1 - 2pm (3 weeks)
Animal Safari, ages 6 - 12, Fridays, July 10 - 24, 2:30 - 4pm (3 weeks)

Workshops for Adults and Teens
How to Print Your Own Note Cards, adults and teens age 13 and up, Saturday, June 6, 1 - 2:30pm (1 day)
Color Skills Workshop for Acrylic Painters, adults and teens age 13 and up, Saturday, August 22, 1 - 5pm (1 day)

Delta Gallery is located in the Streets of Brentwood Shopping Center, 2485 Sand Creek Rd., Suite 128, and their phone is (925) 516-5935. To register for a class call the gallery to reserve your spot, then pay in person before the class begins.  If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at  Cheers!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Andrea in Sayra's Garden

"Andrea with Parasol", acrylic sketch on canvas, 16" x 12"

"Andrea Reading", acrylic sketch on canvas, 12" x 16"
A couple of weeks ago Brentwood poet Sayra Flores invited her artist friends to a picnic and paint-out in her beautiful garden. Her lovely friend Andrea posed for us, which was a real treat.  Click here to see a cool video Sayra made that day:

My two acrylic sketches will be part of the group display at Miguel Flores' Art Studio, 524 First Street in Brentwood this coming weekend, May 16 and 17, open 11 am to 5 pm, during Contra Costa Open Studios. If they are sold (priced at $25 each, unframed) I will donate 100% of the sale to the fund to build a new Brentwood Library.  For more information about the Open Studios event visit  I'll be at Peterson Studios, 3637 Main Street in downtown Oakley.  Please stop by and visit if you have a chance!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Hotel del Rio, Isleton

"Hotel del Rio", acrylic on canvas, 16" x 12"

Started this painting with friends in Isleton last week and finished it today in my studio.  I love this classic old building with its marquee-style sign and martini glass.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Blue DeSoto, Knightsen

"Blue DeSoto, Knightsen", acrylic on canvas, 12" x 12"

Here is the rare, endangered DeSoto, lurking in its natural habitat and ready to pounce on unsuspecting passers-by.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Hugo NoNo

Brooding (Hugo NoNo)
At our figure group in Brentwood this week our model was actor Thomas Lazur in character as his alter ego, Hugo NoNo.  With street-worn clothes, props and dramatic poses, Hugo brought to life a modern hedge-wizard and municipal transit warlock (his own words.)  It was a fun challenge to draw this intensely creative individual.
Seated Pose
Seated Pose (detail)
Down and Out
Down and Out (detail)
Standing Pose

Standing Pose (detail)

Choking Himself