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A Creative Spirit

Updated: May 1

by Theresa Hayes


The home of Nancy Jane Earnest reflects her diverse artistic interests.  She is surrounded by things she loves, be they sculptures, paintings, musical instruments, unique furniture, or tastefully arranged flowers. Even the entryway to her home is adorned with a glass sculpture. This is not surprising since Nancy Jane has been a bright fixture in the Tri-Cities art community since high school. She played French horn and piccolo in the Elizabethton High School band, flute while at ETSU, flute and piccolo in the JCSO under the baton of James Marable, and in the Kingsport Symphony. She also appreciates early music and played in a recorder ensemble, “Woodnote,” for several years. She currently plays French horn in the Johnson City Community Concert Band (of which she is a charter member). She sings in the St. John’s Episcopal Choir and is studying the saxophone! But with all this musical background, Nancy Jane may be better known for her artwork.





Nancy Jane was given a set of oil paints for Christmas when she was twelve and has never looked back. She works primarily in oil, watercolor, and alcohol ink. Her work has recently been featured in exhibits at Fishman Gallery, Nelson Fine Art and Framing, Robin’s on Roan, and The McKinney Center.  Receiving her Master of Fine Arts in Jewelry Design and Metalsmithing from ETSU opened the door to a second professional career as a goldsmith for several local jewelry stores. There, she could express her creativity in gold, silver, and precious stones.


“I took several poetry classes at ETSU as an older adult where I met other students near my age, and we formed our own critique group which we called ‘Seasoned Writers.’ We have been meeting for several years now. I have had my first chapbook of poetry, Kitchen Zen and Now, published and am working on a new volume. I’ve also had several poems published in various magazines.”



“People often say to me, ‘You’re so creative. I wish I were, too.’  I tell these people that everyone is creative. You express your creativity in the way you dress, how you decorate your home, even in how you color your hair. Some people create magnificent dinners. Others design soothing gardens. Some express their creativity by excelling at business—or teaching! Not everyone has the time to devote to art that I have enjoyed, but the urge to create comes out in many ways. People need to recognize that and appreciate their own creative processes.”


“My newest medium is alcohol ink,” reported Nancy Jane. “It is an expressive, abstract medium. You use a synthetic paper that is non-absorbent and allows the ink to mix on the surface to create some spectacular results. The thing that fascinates me about alcohol ink is that I never know exactly how my pieces are going to turn out and I enjoy the surprises!”


Nancy Jane has donated two large alcohol ink creations to the JCSO (Not Just) Mozart Masquerade Ball fundraiser to be held on May 11. They can best be described as COLORFUL! This unique artform is a definite focal point and conversation starter for any room. You may preview Nancy Jane’s work on her Facebook page. (She asks that you send her a private message and tell her you found her from this JCSO article so that she can safely accept you as a friend.)



Nancy Jane Earnest is creativity personified. When you see her, you know she is an artist! As a longtime supporter of the JCSO, she has donated artwork to previous fundraisers and is a season-ticket holder. The members of the board would like to thank Nancy Jane for her commitment to supporting not only the JCSO, but art and music communities all over the Tri Cities.

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