Donna Nyzio: The Pull of the Subject

“4 Southern Belles”, Oil on Clayboard, 18×36, Winner of the Best Painting by a Signature or Master Artist in the 2020 NOAPS Best of America National Juried Exhibition at the Cutter & Cutter Gallery, St. Augustine, Florida.

The painting by Donna Nyzio brings together numerous aspects of an outstanding painting; repeated and interesting shapes, color cohesion, edge control, balanced composition, atmosphere and light. But there is something more than the artist’s technical skill; there is a story. The boats are positioned as if they are speaking to one another, that they are in some sort of collusion. The interest doesn’t stop at the focal point, we continue to investigate the myriad of lines and shapes to interpret more of the story. This masterful painting is both strong and soothing, a perfect balance.

“Summer with Betty M”, Oil on Claybord, 12×24, Collection of the Artist.

Donna Nyzio lives near the ocean; so painting her locale is a natural choice. In her words, “My studio is located on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina in a small town named Beaufort. Boats and fishing of all types and sizes can be found and painted with relative ease. I enjoy learning about different boats first hand from the guy who built them, worked on them, or retired from them. The passion for their boats, coast and fishing is infectious and motivating…As I meet these working watermen and boats, I become more interested in their history, current trade, and the future of fishing…so I end up becoming more entangled in their nets.”

“Local Catch”, Oil on Claybord, 12×24, Private Collection

Donna plans these paintings well before hitting the canvas; she often visits the seaside to capture in paint, in her sketchbook or her camera the various boats and their fishermen to find a composition that will create a captivating painting. She feels that it is important to spend the time observing her scene in person in order to not just capture the image, but capture the story as well. Her plein air paintings are not usually finished paintings, but will take back to the studio her plein air study, photos, and most importantly, her memory of the scene in order to create the finished work.

The materials that the artist uses consist of either Innerglo Panels or Amersand Claybord, Rosemary brushes, and Vasari and Holbein paints. Her palette changes frequently, consisting of opaque and transparent colors separated into warm and cool. Oil paint is her preferred medium, though she started with airbrush and has experimented with many other mediums.

“Autumn Sails”, Oil on Claybord, 24×24, Collection of the Artist

Donna currently is a self-supporting full time artist, enjoying a creative life having built a strong foundation for her art business. She encourages artists to make painting a habit; to find your vision, find ways to learn and improve, and just paint. “And every once in a while, paint with abandon and without rules or goals…and see where it takes you.”

Donna is a Signature member of the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society, a Signature member of the American Society of Marine Artists, and a Signature member of the American Women Artists. She has won many awards for her paintings, both local and at the National level.

Donna is a member of the Panel of Judges for the 2021 National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society Best of America Small Works Exhibition at the Principle Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina. She will also demonstrate her technique during the opening weekend events at the Principle on May 7, 20211. Go to for more information.

To view more work by Donna Nyzio go to She is also represented by Pinckney Simons Gallery, Beaufort, SC; Louisa Gould Gallery, Martha’s Vineyard, MA.

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director

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