About Nomi Wagner

Artist with a passion for portrait painting

As a child, Nomi Wagner dreamed of becoming a portrait artist. But she saw her mother become a widow at a young age. So Nomi took the practical route, and chose an education in science, receiving her B.S. in Dental Hygiene and practicing for 18 years.

Meanwhile, family and friends admired and commented on Nomi’s growing skills as an amateur photographer. Encouraged, she returned to school to turn her hobby into a 20-year second career, with her first studio in the family’s Westwood attic and then a large studio in Santa Monica.

But wait … there’s more!

Nomi still harbored the secret desire to become a portrait artist. So she studied classical portrait drawing and art history at UCLA. Then, in the early 1990’s, she added classes in color theory and the brand new fields of graphics technology and digital painting. Nomi’s goal was to combine all her experience and skills in a new painting technique.

1997 self-portrait painting of artist Nomi Wagner with her granddaughter who is looking through camera lens, in Nomi's Santa Monica photography studio.
One of Nomi’s first paintings—a 1997 self-portrait,
in her Santa Monica photo studio
 with granddaughter Rachel

Luckily, Nomi’s husband, Gerry, was a Xerox engineer who had worked on early computers. Gerry learned how to print digital fine art and became a Master Giclée Printer for Nomi as well as many other artists.

At the California Art Institute and many workshops, Nomi studied traditional life drawing and watercolor painting with renowned artists Jeremy Lipking. Aaron Westerberg, Steve Walters, Warren Chang, Tom Lynch, Robert Burridge, Don Andrews, and the late Arne Westerman, Neil Boyle and Alex Powers.

Nomi’s beloved colleague and friend, the late Mary Martinuzzi Jaworski, purchased Nomi’s photography business and ran it successfully for another 20 years. Mary made it possible for Nomi to make the career jump from portrait photographer to full-time portrait painter.

Nomi is grateful that her childhood dream has become her reality for 28 years. She sees her art as a calling and feels blessed to help so many others with one-of-a kind personalized paintings of their loved ones.

Nomi and Gerry live in Camarillo, California and have a combined five children and ten grandchildren. Nomi is proud to be an Artist Member of Studio Channel Islands Art Center.

Accomplishments –

Nomi’s art and photography have been featured on CBS, ABC, CNN, The Today Show, The Wall Street Journal Weekend, and in The Washington Post and the LA Times, as well as art books and magazines. Nomi’s work is in public and private collections worldwide.

Her clients have included McDonald’s Corporation, Gensler Architecture, ARCO, many celebrities, and hundreds of loyal families whose lives she has lovingly documented for over 45 years. In addition, Nomi’s donations of her art have successfully raised thousands for worthy causes at silent auctions all over the country. As a pioneer in digital painting, she is honored to be a Corel Painter Master Elite. Her painting was selected for the 2017 California Strawberry Festival Poster.

Many articles have been written and posted about Nomi Wagner and her winning of the California Strawberry festival.

Portraits of loved ones

– a note from Nomi

I’m often asked to paint portraits of my clients’ family members who have passed away. I am honored to be trusted with their personal memories and grateful that I am able to do this work.

As a young child, I realized the preciousness of family with the deaths of my father, a G.I. in World War II, and my beloved grandparents shortly after the war. I missed them terribly, but in those days people didn’t talk to children about their feelings or grief. So I spent hours poring over family photo albums, trying to recapture what I had lost. For my 10th birthday I asked for a Brownie Hawkeye camera. From then on I took photos of family and friends at every occasion … still do.

Those early family losses were pivotal and led me into my careers of portrait photography and now portrait painting. I want everyone to have their cherished memories recorded. My goal is for you to enjoy and be comforted by the display of elegant and personally meaningful portraiture in your home.

My favorite portrait is this black and white watercolor painting of my father and me in front of our home in Los Angeles. I found the tiny, faded but sharp, 1941 photo in one of our albums.

A portrait painting of a father and daughter, by artist Nomi Wagner. A black and white painting of the artist as a toddler, with her father.