I love the feel of paint as it glides across the paper, the smoothness of a palette knife and I am excited by texture and colour. Shortly after a hospital stay, my mum took me to our local art shop to treat me to some soft pastels. When the shop assistant opened the box I stood open mouthed at the selection, it was like looking a vibrant collection of sweets. I stood there so long drooling, the assistant went off to serve someone else! Soft pastels, gouache and acrylic paints are my soul food and I like what I do because it feels like playing.
I am inspired by nature, revived by the sea where I grew up (Weymouth, Dorset), and the first painting I sold was a huge abstract of Swanage Beach. I often paint intuitively, just doing what feels ‘right’ which enables me to work fast and involve happy accidents in the outcome. Abstract art is a wonderful thing because it comes from the heart and there is no way to fail. I like to use found objects, anything lying on my desk, or out of the recycling box, or leaves and flowers in my work, anything that catches my eye.
Writing is another passion, so last year I started a Masters degree in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art. I write stories and poems, and now alongside the abstract art I am learning how to tell stories with illustration. Stories are the theme that binds my work. The stories behind the paintings emerge as they are created, and the art in turn inspires writing. My art career began at Weymouth College with an A’ Level, and I kept it up as a hobby, attending life drawing classes and taking art as a subsidiary subject at Exeter University where I trained to be a Primary Teacher. I’ve had many interesting experiences that inspire themes including spending time in New Zealand and working on a Scottish llama farm. For 20 years I had a period of extreme ill health, with ME, MCS and Crohn’s Disease. This limited the materials I could use but forced me to experiment with other things including a course in hand-built ceramics and my first foray into abstract art. Art is as necessary to me as breathing, so even when I was lying in hospital, I had coloured pencils and created a picture book that I shared with the nurses over my three month residency! Making art has such therapeutic value and can help us process our feelings and open our hearts to help us remember who we are. It is a wonderful thing to work with people and see their confidence improve as they realise they can ‘do’ art. Being able to share my passion for painting, illustrations and stories with other people is what makes me feel good. I have met some wonderful people on the journey, and the thrill of handing over a picture to someone who is equally enthusiastic just makes me smile :-) .
Nicki lives in Letchworth, Hertfordshire (UK) Follow me on Instagram and Facebook, or get in touch for a chat: contact me HERE