Nancy Stahl illustration


For John

DECEMBER 12, 2013

My brother, John, lives in Southern California overlooking the Pacific with a spectacular view from high on a cliff. (He went into business, not art.) John isn't exactly an animal lover so it was surprising to see how enthralled he was by the hummingbirds that would come to feed on a bottlebrush plant outside his condo. He knew their habits. When they would appear, how they would go clockwise around the plant, gathering nectar from each blossom for a set amount of time. He talked about their colors, the speed of their wings and ability to hover.

Then the Homeowner's Association decided that the landscaping for the community needed to be uniform or something and they took out the bottlebrush (which would have been just left of where I stood to take this photo). It's still a mystery to me what was so offensive.


Six years ago I began this stamp for the Postal Service as part of what was called an "unofficial series" of animals. I chose the hummingbird hoping that I could give a printed pane of them to my brother. The series came to an end without the stamp being unveiled, so I thought it was dead. But still, I couldn't show it to him as that isn't allowed by contract.


I no longer have to keep my big mouth shut..! Yippee..! The stamp has been previewed and will be out as a postcard rate sometime in 2014.


SEPTEMBER 17, 2013

Looking to work in a more contemporary way and one that will allow me to fulfill assignments with tight deadlines, I decided to practice by doing some portraits. This is the singer Janelle Monae.

Anyone who is friends with me on FB has seen this version of the cast of Breaking Bad. I've fiddled with it all summer, animating it, adding sound... it's part of my obsession with the show.

How I Spent My Summer: Part Deux

SEPTEMBER 11, 2013

July means teaching a week at Murray Tinkelman U... actually University of Hartford / Hartford Art School (before that, Syracuse). This year I wanted to give the students something that they may not have experience with... animation. The problem was that my experience was pretty limited, too. So, I asked if they would hire Chris Georgenes as my co-teacher. I'd never met or spoken to Chris* but his book on Flash is what finally allowed me to make use of the program despite attempts every upgrade since Macromedia first acquired it.

In order to get up to speed for teaching, I animated a bunch of drawings that I had around. See the Kims and more here.

One of the few daylight sightings of our hard-working class. (Chris is the one with a circle around his face.)

Things couldn't have worked out better. The students were excited and very willing to try something new. Chris was a patient and wonderful teacher. And everybody got along like blueberry pie.. ala mode. I wish I had made a website of their work, it was fantastic. Exceeding all expectations, they did amazing things in one short week. I finally understand what teachers mean when they say that thing about learning from their students.

*Chris is too popular a name among illustrators. We had four within reach and often people referred to C.F.Payne (who teaches the second week up there) as Chris also. Somehow it all worked out.

How I Spent My Summer: Part 1

How-to Dial a Telephone

In June, thanks to encouragement from Coco Masuda who included me in a group show of five illustrators at a gallery in Chelsea, I managed to finish four large paintings some of which were begun two years earlier. It was great to have my work hung along side MaryLynn Blassuta, Lisa Adams and David Goldin. I would have bought everything they showed, if I could have.


Thanks go to all the friends who came to the opening even though it was a complete monsoon outside.


The two larger paintings are 6 feet wide and took up a huge part of my studio. Glad to have the space back. But I miss the smell of oil paints and turpentine.

How-to Use a Turntable

How-to Wind a Watch and How-to Load a Camera