Nadine Shillingford Named Artist of the Week on The Nashville Sign

The Arts & Business Council, Blackbird Media, and F&M Bank have teamed up to present the Artist of the Week on The Nashville Sign. This week’s featured artist is Nadine Shillingford!

Nadine is a self-taught charcoal artist who creates portraits using unconventional techniques. Her subjects vary, but every October she puts out a call for photos from women who have been affected by breast cancer. She shares the portraits she creates from the photos on her social media along with their touching stories. 

Nadine grew up in the Caribbean, and now calls Nashville home. She began her artistic journey creating sporadic pencil and acrylic pieces, and in March of 2019 she began a practice of drawing daily charcoal sketches. She had always admired charcoal drawings, and learned the medium through trial and error. She creates her pieces on Strathmore toned gray paper using a combination of drawing, smudging, and erasing. Most of her drawings are completed in a single 2-3 hour sitting. This daily commitment has allowed her to achieve consistency, and improve with every completed piece. Her favorite subject is the human face, especially the eyes.

“I do not have formal art training, so my methods are a bit unconventional. For example, rather than using a tortillon for shading, I use a makeup applicator sponge. I can best describe it as applying makeup to the subject in the drawing.” 

One of her favorite projects was a commission for the College of Basic Sciences at Vanderbilt University. She drew charcoal portraits of thirteen of their professor emeriti and one staff member. She says it was a pleasure to watch as the drawings were presented to these distinguished men and women. 

In addition to her charcoal drawings, Nadine occasionally works on acrylic and mixed media drawings where she loves playing with vivid colors and complex patterns. She also loves to write, and has published a book called Hello Beautiful, a daughter’s retrospective journey into the life of her father, which she also illustrated.

You can find her work on Instagram and Facebook, and in person at various venues around Nashville throughout the year. She has exhibited at the Centennial Art Center, Art & Soul, Gordon Jewish Community Center, Brentwood Library, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, IN, and McNairy Arts LATTA Theatre in Selmer, TN. Her work can be found now at Art Beat on 12th Ave S in the Gulch. She also produces commissioned work, and you can learn more at her website

Want to be featured on The Nashville Sign? Visual artists working in any medium, who are members* of the Arts & Business Council at the Basic Level ($30 annually) or above, are eligible to apply for Artist of the Week on The Nashville Sign.

*Those unable to become members due to financial barriers can be granted a waiver. Contact us at to be confidentially considered for a waiver.