Nina McKinneyLimited Edition Prints, Note Cards and Greeting Cards
As the youngest of three children growing up in the Green Valley community (near Spruce Pine, at the foot of Yellow Mountain), where my family has lived since the mid-eighteenth century, I knew even as a child that I was surrounded by paintings waiting to happen. Before I was five, I was drawing and painting what I saw around me.
My father was an expert in plant identification who had a great love of mountain plants and flowers, which he passed on to me during our long walks in the woods, where he taught me to identify wildflowers and plants. These experiences are captured in my current wildflower watercolors, each a tribute to him and to my mother, a quilt and doll maker, who taught me about color and design.
This is my first professional effort in producing numbered prints and cards, although I have done my own personalized Christmas cards and note cards for years.
Nina White McKinney, whose formal art training is limited to private study and art courses at Mayland Community College, has worked as a commercial artist and formerly owned and operated a studio and sales shop. She is married and has one son, a daughter in law and a grandson named Luke.
When Dr. Houston’s book, The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree, was contracted to Dial Books in 1985, she urged Nina to paint and submit the setting of the book, the imaginary village of Pine Grove. Nina used the actual Pine Grove Church, her grandmother’s house and the small service station once operated by Dr. Houston’s father as her inspiration. When two-time Caldecott winner Barbara Cooney was selected to illustrate the book, she visited Spruce Pine and used Nina’s painting as a model for her illustrations. Nina’s blended watercolor winter sky and the buildings from her community show up in the opening two-page spread which provides the setting for the award winning book.