I have filled small sketchbooks and journals with my drawing and writing for as long as I can remember. I have a background in public radio, primarily as a reporter and commentator about  motherhood.   I am a mom of adult children and a Montessori teacher. Montessori education is rooted in peace, simplicity, independence, and the wonder of the natural world.   I like to pay attention. I like to follow the child.


I look to the big picture.  I like wilderness travel.  I like theatre and dance and music.  Yellow is my favorite color.  I swim in Lake Harriet. I play the piano late at night.  I have a humorous husband.  I have grown a garden and cooked dinner and hosted parties and raised our children and ridden my bike in the Kingfield neighborhood of Minneapolis for 37 years.

From March to June I was the  Interim Administrator at Children's Workshop Montessori, providing a transition from the departing Head of School to the new Head of School.  As I drove to work, I memorized a long poem about willow trees.   I visited my daughter in Vienna to see her perform.    I drew there, and came home to make a scrapbook of clippings and photos and drawings.  I was so happy making it!  Then I participated in a week of writing at Mallard Island on Rainy Lake.  Now it is January in 2020 already and I'm settling into winter in the city.  I set deadlines and follow them.  I have submitted a children's book to a publisher and I did a little trunk show of my work.  Now I want to find my way into branding what I do, and keeping it real at the same time. 

Here are some recent projects: 

On August 30, 2019, my "late summer sketches" were featured in the Outdoor section of the Star Tribune.  A similar project appeared in April, celebrating spring.  It all began when I pitched an idea to the editor about my winter walks.   Then I worked with Danny Neece, an illustrator and teacher at the Berkeley Art Studio,  all winter.   I took watercolor and drawing classes and did an independent study on illustration. 

In February 2018, I traveled to Costa Rica with Tropical Wings, a non profit organization supporting the Sister Parks Agreement between the National Park Service in the Upper Midwest and national parks on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica.  I watched birds and drew.  I participated in a Migratory Bird festival in Puerto Jimenez, sharing  drawings from Montessori students in Minneapolis with students on the Osa Peninsula. 

I participate in a writer's group, producing creative nonfiction each week.  The group is led by writer Patricia Hoolihan.

Phunology. I spelled it that way on purpose. It's "phunner" than Phenology!  In November 2017,  I did a 30 day project.  I walked out my back door each day to a nearby park, then to a bird sanctuary, then to a lake.  Unplugged. To record with my brain and heart what I saw and heard.  I posted the resulting drawings and text on Instagram



nanci olesen 2019                        nanciolesen612@gmail.com                      minneapolis, MN    

  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon