Paula received her Master of Fine Arts degree in 1977 from the University of California-Davis, after completing her Bachelor of Science in Art at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her work has been included in juried and invitational exhibitions including the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial Exhibition, the Chicago Art Institute, the Butler Art Institute in Ohio, and the Huntington Museum of Art in West Virginia.
Paula has received two Visual Arts Fellowship awards from the Wisconsin Arts Board and a Regents Fellowship from the University of California. She has received Wisconsin Percent for Art commissions for her work and has also served on Wisconsin Arts Board and Percent for Art panels. Her paintings and drawings are part of numerous corporate collections including the Pillsbury Company, Security Pacific Bank of California, the State Office Building of Wisconsin in Madison, and JDS Incorporated of Columbus, Ohio.
After moving to Columbus, Ohio in 1992, Nees has been active in the art community serving on exhibition committees for the Ohio Art League and exhibiting her work throughout the region. Her studio work incorporates works in aqueous media, oil, and fresco painting.
Nees began teaching at Otterbein University, Westerville, Ohio in 1993 and has been an instructor of drawing, painting, color design, and global art history. She has received funding grants for research in fresco painting in New York City and Italy as well as research and creation of handmade books. Nees has expanded her current studio work to include handmade books incorporating hand dyed papers and textiles using materials acquired from travels to India.