Member Biography

Nancy Rothwell Photo


"Years ago, a painting mentor said to me “Paint what you think about a lot.”  This was perfect advice for me because I was always intrigued by paintings with content or a “message”— something to engage the viewer intellectually.  Because I often think about the changing US healthcare system, entitlement programs, and aging in general, I have gravitated towards social commentary paintings on these subjects. 

Using symbols as a way to get across a message has been my challenge.  I am always searching for symbols, questioning, for example:  what symbol might work to show a fractured healthcare system?  Perhaps a broken plate? Perhaps a very long bed?

And now with the Affordable Care Act, I have even more creative food for thought. One concept:  as aging Baby Boomers retire and need more services and support, and as more previously uninsured people receive health insurance, the question is: can our terribly complex and expensive healthcare system be redesigned to become more efficient and less expensive? Can I use symbols and words in my paintings to capture these complex concepts and still engage the viewer?

I hope that my social commentary paintings on these subjects are provocative.  I want the viewer to focus on the emotional and social/political content of these paintings."




  • University Unitarian Church "Healthcare: On the Edge of Change"


  • Women Painters of Washington Gallery, Group Exhibits


  • Art Stall Gallery, Pike Place Market


  • Eastern Washington University "Defining Freedom"


  • Women Painters of Washington Gallery, 5th and Columbia, "WPW Celebration"
  • University Unitarian Church - Seattle "Eldercare USA"
    Olympic College Art Gallery
  • Whatcom County Museum of History and Art, Bellingham ("Enduring Legacy" WPW)


  • Depot Gallery, Anacortes, WA (award)
  • Edmonds Arts Commission Invitational, March (solo)
  • NWWS Waterworks Exhibit - Oct-Dec


  • Lakeshore Gallery, Kirkland
  • ArtsWest Gallery, West Seattle
  • Harbor Gallery, Gig Harbor
  • Bellevue Art Museum - EAFA Volunteers Award Exhibit


  • Bon Marche, Seattle
  • Olympic College Art Gallery
  • North Seattle Community College (award)
  • Childhoods End Gallery
  • Moses Lake: Excessive Happiness Gallery (solo)


  • Mercer Island Community Center -Women Painters of Washington   
  • Watercolor West (award)
  • Seattle Convention Center - A Voice Like Yours
  • Words and Images of a Shared Sojourn with Irish Artists
  • Georgia Watercolor Society exhibit


  • NWWS Waterworks Exhibit
  • Watercolor West (award)
  • Ocean Shores Arts Commission
  • Cobblestone Gallery, Pioneer Square (solo)
  • Georgia Watercolor Society exhibit


  • Eastside Association of Fine Arts (honorable mention)
  • Montana Watercolor Society (award)
  • Edmonds Arts Commission (invitational) (solo)
  • Ocean Shores Arts Commission (honorable mention)

2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 

  •  Art Stall Gallery Pike Place Market (solo)




  • Selected as one of 35 artists for International "Millennium Images Ireland and America" art residency at Centrum, Port Townsend, Washington in September 2000.



  • BS in Physical Therapy, University of Washington
  • Masters in Public Health, University of Washington




  • Northwest Watercolor Society - Waterworks '99 (exhibit chairperson)
  • California Watercolor Society
  • Georgia Watercolor Society
  • Eastside Fine Arts Association - Washington
  • Montana Watercolor Society
  • Women Painters of Washington - President 2001-2003
  • Numerous affiliations with healthcare related associations, e.g. University of Washington auxiliary faculty: Physical Therapy

Nancy Rothwell
Seattle, WA


Affordable Care?
"Affordable Care?"

The Affordable Care Act is now a safety net for many people who have not had health insurance. While it is affordable for many, especially those in lower income brackets, others (e.g. some in the middle class) have seen their health insurance costs increase. Thus the question mark.

No Insurance
"No Insurance"

By using a muted palette and darker colors, this painting depicts the sad, uncertain state of having no healthcare insurance. It can feel like one is "jumping off a cliff."

Yes Insurance
"Yes Insurance"

A brighter, lighter choice of colors celebrates the positive state of finally having health insurance. Many families and individuals are relieved to be covered after years of uncertainty.



The current "Fee for Service" reimbursement system in healthcare can encourage overuse of expensive services (e.g. the more tests and surgeries performed, the more income to a practice or hospital). The rising costs and rising % of GNP going towards healthcare is unsustainable.


The US is moving toward a reimbursement system based more on science: Evidence-based Medicine. This means using treatments that have been shown via research to be most effective in treating a condition. This system is slowly replacing fee for service and has major cost saving implications.

Boomers Entitlements
Boomers Entitlements

The upcoming retirement of baby boomers will place massive strain on entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security System. By using symbols of a cracked plate leaning against a collapsing capital dome, newspaper articles in the background, I want to call attention to the upcoming demographic strain on public programs.



By using tattered Social Security and Medicare cards as symbols, this painting shows how the demographic surge of elderly baby boomers will adversely affect the 2 largest US entitlement programs.


Family Priorities
Family Priorities

The wrist watch and clocks in this painting symbolize how busy families are these days as they tend to eldercare responsibilities. This family is gathered around the bed of their parent/ grandparent to offer love and support while the bright light represents the spirituality of the moment.



All Artwork Copyright
of the Artist.

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