Amazing Women of the Suncoast: Nancy Colby

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. - This week we honor North Port artist Nancy Colby as our Amazing Suncoast Woman. She was nominated by Lorie Beier, who tells ABC 7 that Nancy has faced life's challenges with strength and grace, and she uses her great talent to help others.

Born in Chicago, Nancy went into banking right out of high school. "I worked 15 years in the corporate world, working my way up to manager until I go to corporate burn out."

Then she decided to paint wall murals, and she became very successful. But after 20 years she decided to switch to water colors instead. So she built herself a little studio behind her home and began to paint watercolors.

Nancy loves cats. She has two cats in her studio and four in her home. So at first she painted mainly cats, but she branched out to include dogs and other pets.

People come to her from all over for portraits of their beloved pets. "It's thrilling to me to do someone's animal, and then see their face…that's my best thing."

And as she travels around to animal shows working her magic.

She always raises money to help special needs cats. "I am blessed to have the talent, and I make money teaching, and I give the rest back to the animal world."

And what has she learned in her amazing journey from the corporate world to cat artist? "I think the more you give the more you are blessed."

Nancy is showing some of her pet portraits at the Longboat Key Art Center for a month, starting this weekend. And she also volunteers in any way possible with Cat Depot.