This body of work is all about freedom—the freedom of movement, freedom of expression and the freedom of the imagination,” says Nannette Pilcher, an Amarillo artist and educator who exhibits and sells her work at Arts in the Sunset.

The sculptures in her large-scale canvas birds series—many of which are several feet wide—give creative expression to that desire for freedom. For one thing, birds “possess ultimate freedom” in the form of flight, she says. But Pilcher also finds freedom in the material she uses for the sculptures and the opportunity to bring flat imagery into three dimensions. Rather than painting on a stretched canvas, Pilcher sculpted painters’ drop cloths into these works of art. “I wanted the freedom to transform a material that originally had no purpose of becoming art,” she says. “Its purpose was simply to protect one’s floor from receiving paint. Painting it intentionally and transforming the purpose was very freeing.”

Each bird, she says, was created with thought and planning devoted to individuality, personality and freedom.

After attending The Bradley Academy for the Visual Arts in Pennsylvania, Pilcher moved to Amarillo in 1998. She spent several years as a graphic designer before returning to Amarillo College and West Texas A&M University to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. In addition to her own art, she has worked as an art instructor at Ascension Academy since 2008 and teaches courses at the Amarillo Art Institute.

“Art is such a big part of my life,” she says. “Sometimes it can be difficult to strike a balance between teaching and creating my own art, but fortunately it all feeds that need to make.”