Women We Love

Nancy Hilliard Joyce

Why We Love Nancy Hilliard Joyce: She has the perfect blend of art, philanthropy and big dreams. PLUS, you can play with some of her art instead of getting in trouble for touching it, which speaks to our inner child like nobody’s business! What’s not to love about that?

And now…a Q and A with Nancy Hilliard Joyce

You describe yourself as an artist with a philanthropic focus. What does that mean? 

It means that every year I partner with a different 501(c)(3) that is in alignment with my vision, and depending on my inspiration and interest, I combine my painting series with that organization. Each year, I come up with a unique series and begin painting it. Once I am four or five paintings deep, I find a connection between that particular series of work and a nonprofit located either oversees or in my region. I never know where this connection will begin – whether it will happen through research or happenstance – but undeniably it happens with little or no effort. I then contact the organization and ask if I can give 15 to 20 percent of my sales to them that year. I am always welcomed with open arms. Through this process and my work, I have the incredible privilege of meeting fascinating and diverse people as well as volunteering on the ground level so that I can essentially become part of their team. I feel truly blessed to be able to paint for a living, and I want to be able to give back to others as a sort of pay-it-forward project. I feel like this philanthropic pull is part of my calling and now a natural part of why I paint.

What are some of your projects that focus on empowering girls and how did they come about?

Two of the projects I have worked on that I think are most empowering for girls are my partnerships with Girls on the Run and Lotus Outreach International. In 2013, I connected with Girls on the Run (an organization where running is used to inspire and motivate girls, encouraging lifelong health and fitness while also building confidence). During this collaboration, I painted 13 inspirational, influential women of history ranging from Joan of Arc to Annie Oakley. My show was an incredible success. Hundreds of supporters attended the opening, and the event raised over $2,500 for the project.

In 2015, I worked with Lotus Outreach International and connected with the Lotus Pedals project in order to provide all-terrain bicycles to young, underprivileged girls in Cambodia. Our goal was to give bikes to girls who were serious about their education and who needed bikes in order to travel safely from their villages to their schools. During this series, I painted girls on bikes and women with umbrellas. The girls on bikes represented freedom while the women with umbrellas were symbolic of protection. This series was overwhelming for me to paint and raised money to provide over 250 all-terrain bicycles. In October of 2015, I traveled with my mother to Cambodia and was part of a transformational bike ceremony where the girls were presented with their gifts. It was a life-changing experience that will be forever embedded in my memory.

Why is it important to you that people engage with your art? 

Art is so subjective. I feel that it is important for people to connect in one way or another to something aesthetic in their lives. If I can enable people to engage in my work, whether it be through a personal connection, a tactile connection or a visual connection, that is success to me. I sometimes create works of art that have texture or literal puzzles that invite collectors to move pieces of the work into new, undiscovered patterns or to manipulate them in innovative ways. I want my work to make collectors feel a sense of connectivity with themselves or the world around them that they may not otherwise be able to reach without a visual or tactile link.

If you could paint one person, place or thing from any time period, what or who would it be and why?

I have painted so many incredible women. There are many more I want to pour my heart into, and it will happen sooner rather than later, I suspect. Women of history give me power, and I want to give this back to other young girls and women of my generation. However, being posed with this question, and thinking about those I have painted and left unpainted, I imagine that I can’t leave this world without painting Willie Nelson. I know he’s a man, but there is a series that is waiting for me…It’s called “WANTED: Dead or Alive.” It may come to be in 2018…I’m really not sure. This series has been marinating in my mind since 2014. Regardless, it will be 10 men, both dead and alive who have inspired me in some way or another. Willie is undoubtedly going to be my first to paint. There’s a story there…but for another time…

What is a fun fact about you that would surprise us, and where can people find you, your art, and your online magic? 

I am over 20,000 words deep into writing a memoir titled, The Education of Little Me. This book is for parents who are struggling with allowing their children to foster their dreams while still driving them to “make a living.” It is a delicate balance that my parents succeeded at without them even knowing. Pouring all their resources, which began as nothing, into me, they helped make me not just an artist, but rather, an artist with purpose, integrity, and grit. I started writing this piece at the beginning of 2017 after hearing Julie Lythcott-Haims speak at our children’s school. She is the New York Times bestselling author of How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success. I started writing my memoir the next day. It is a work in progress, and I hope to have it completed by January 2018.

You can find my artwork at www.NancyJoyceGallery.com, and I have a feed on Instagram & Twitter @NancyJoyceArt. I keep an occasional blog and am in the process of opening a studio in my house called Studio 858 1/2. We just moved into a house after a year of renting an apartment following an unwanted move from Asheville to Concord, NC. I have not, however, been dormant with my paintbrush. I have a show opening on Dewees Island September 2nd, 2017, called “Flocks and Schools,” which will provide money to the Dewees Island Conservancy of South Carolina. The donations from my art will go to help Dewees Island undergo a 217 acre wetlands habitat restoration for the primary benefit of birds and fish.

I feel the best of me is yet to come in 2018, but needless to say, it’s been a long year!

Many thanks to Nancy for participating in our wacky online adventure!!! Love reading about amazing and inspiring women? Our interview with RB Hilliard is on tap next!!! (Oddly enough — no relation to Nancy Hilliard Joyce)

RB Hilliard

Why We Love RB Hilliard: She had a dream to be a professional writer, and she worked her ass off to do it. Plus, her supporters — Hilliard’s Hellions — are crazy amazing! Women working hard and achieving their dreams. Women supporting women. What’s not to love about that?

And now…a Q and A with RB Hilliard

What was your path to writing success?

When I started writing my first book in 2012, it was just me and my editor. There were so many mistakes made, but so much was learned. Like, for instance, the two of us were not enough. Slowly, I began to build a team. I’ve surrounded myself with people who have my back no matter what. People who see my vision, understand my stories, and believe in me. This, to me, is the secret to success.

What is it like to write a steamy love scene?

Can I defer to my characters on this one? Ha! In all reality, love scenes can take days to write. I’m not kidding. Doing it is one thing, but writing it, describing it, agonizing over it…is another. Being mentally in the moment is vastly important to writing a good love scene. Staying true to character is another important factor. I try to use words that are descriptive without being vulgar. If I won’t say it, then my characters certainly aren’t saying it. If I feel it’s awkward, then my characters will too.

Who are Hilliard’s Hellions and how did they come to be?

I formed a reader group called Hilliard’s Hellions a little over two years ago. The Hellions, as I call them, get the first look at what I’m working on, i.e. teasers, covers, excerpts, etc. In return, they share, pimp, and promote anything RB Hilliard when asked. The group is so much more than your typical reader group. I consider them friends.

What’s your #1 piece of advice to aspiring writers?

Just do it. Don’t overthink it. Get the words out and then worry about the rest. If you get bogged down in self-doubt, you will never move forward. Tell your story. The rest will work itself out.

What is your latest project and where can people find it?

Last month I published Broken Lyric, book #2 in my Meltdown series. As of right now, my books are all exclusive to Amazon. I’m currently writing the third book in the series, and will hopefully have it out in November. If you’d like to find out more about me and my books, here are my links:

Goodreads – http://bit.ly/1zO9bmy

Amazon Author Page – http://amzn.to/1Anwjr3

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rbhilliardb

FB – http://on.fb.me/1Anx1oi

Instagram – rbhilliard

His End Game – http://amzn.to/2fR7SzG

Not Letting Go – http://amzn.to/1QP0Fgw

One More Time – http://amzn.to/1XhAp2n

Right Side Up – http://amzn.to/1LlVTFU

Keep It Simple – http://amzn.to/20wY2q6

The Last Call – http://amzn.to/2lsIFPL

Utterly Forgettable – Amazon – http://amzn.to/1SETzgs

Fractured Beat- Amazon – http://amzn.to/2cXBUTu

Broken Lyric – Amazon – http://amzn.to/2uITR2h

So a big fat thank you to RB Hilliard for joining us! And if you have women who inspire you, by all means let us know!