The days are getting shorter. The leaves are starting to fall and the sun is hiding behind a blanket of gray clouds. This is Nano Nore’s signal to head to his favorite spot on Rush Creek at the Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary in Liberty, Missouri.

For almost three decades, Nore has been coming here to work. That day she packed a sketchbook and some graphite pencils, but she’s also up for anything.

“I have bug spray, number 50 sun lotion, bandages,” Nore says. “You just have a kit for that. “

At 69, Nore uses a walking stick to walk the trails. She grew up in a small town in Nebraska in the early 1950s among Danish, Swedish and Norwegian immigrants.

“I grew up in a town of less than 2,000 people in the middle of a farming countryside on the edge of the Sandhills,” says Nore. “And I was able to spend time on my grandparents’ farms. So I think I’ve always loved nature and always felt a kind of oneness with it.

Nore studies a work in progress before going out to make other drawings. The 90-inch panorama will be the centerpiece of his multi-year Rush Creek study.

While some artists are drawn to the lush green landscapes of spring and summer, Nore prefers the reds and dark browns of fall.

“I like the end of fall because you are starting to see the bones of the trees. This is what I like to see. I like to see how the light can reach it. And then I start to find different types of colors, complementary colors, ”she explains.

Rush Creek runs through the nature sanctuary surrounded by native poplars, oaks and sycamore trees. Nore says his frequent trips are an examination of the changing seasons.


Nore has spent the past 30 years returning to his favorite spot along Rush Creek. She says she likes to draw in late fall because you can “start to see the bones of the trees”.

“I like to take an unusual approach to the landscape,” says Nore. “I don’t want it to look like a postcard. I want it to feel like it’s a section that’s been studied, and it’s on the structure, and it’s on the form, and it’s on the light and it’s on a passionate line. .

When Nore searches for a scene to draw, she searches for the corded roots and twisted trees that line the shores of Rush Creek.

“It’s the first one, ‘Aha’, on a clear day,” says Nore. “You saw the shadows. The shade is wonderful. It was so asymmetrical. The trees too. You know you are starting to make that big list of all the things that you love and that touch you.


Blurring a line, Nore works on a sketch of the poplars, oaks and sycamore trees native to the region.

Nore moved to Liberty, Missouri, to teach studio art and art history at William Jewell College. Since retiring three years ago, she has been able to devote more time to her own work.

“I’m passionate about being out there and watching him and having this quality of being in the scene, if there’s another way to see him, calm him down and then block him and to continue from there, ”says Nore.

In Rush Creek, a scene begins to take shape on Nore’s sketchbook.

“I’m starting to grab the values ​​here and build some of my darker lines,” says Nore. “This is only a sketch of the time, but it leaves me with a great feeling to be here today.”


His work done for the day, Nore sets out again on the paths of the nature reserve.

No matter how many times she comes here to draw, Nore says she always finds something new.

“You step into a presence and it’s that stage before fear,” Nore shares. “You can sit there and just draw and feel like you’re in a new place. This is what I have found is that the truest part is simply responding with joy to the created world. And it doesn’t have to be the prettiest, it can just be interesting.


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