Over the last year, Rachel Pierce transitioned from being a news anchor to a full-time artist. The dynamic nature scenes in her work are marked by a vivid use of color and meticulous detail. (Photography by Erik Kellar)

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Dropping Anchor

Former television personality Rachel Pierce shares the beauty of nature through her art.

Like many people, Rachel Pierce is in a much different place now than she was a year ago. Back then, she was juggling a burgeoning art career with her job as an anchor while parenting four young kids. Journalism and motherhood were the plan. Art was a fortuitous development. Pierce moved to Fort Myers from Des Moines, Iowa, in 2014. Soon, she became a local celebrity as the morning news anchor for NBC2. In 2018, she agreed to paint a platter for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Florida benefit auction. Her bird of paradise flower impressed bidders, but Pierce kept mum about how serious she’d been about painting when she was in college. “I just kind of downplayed it,” she says. The cat, however, was out of the bag. Inspired by her notoriety and skill, other nonprofits asked Pierce to donate paintings for auctions. “Pretty soon, every event I was emceeing, I was then donating a piece of artwork,” she says. People also started commissioning her work directly. Pierce paints dynamic seascapes that vividly feature local wildlife, like sea turtles or roseate spoonbills. Her work is marked by a bold use of color and attention to detail, with backgrounds in swirling pastels. These wildlife paintings are a marked shift from her work before she moved
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