William Nichols


In giving thought to how I could define and explain an interest in painting the landscape that now stretches over a time period of some forty years I can share with you the following. Like so many realist painters that seemed to evolve in the 1970s my roots as a painter lie in abstract expressionism. It is I think always a struggle for any artist to find there own path of exploration and the honesty that seems to come with doing so. In my case the discovery was intuitive and it was only much later that I was able to understand it's roots as my early years as a boy and the summers spent in Upper Wisconsin, hiking, fishing and just being immersed by myself in a very rural part of that state. 

What I found about nature was that it had the ability if spent time with to mirror a rich array of experiences from it's sheer visual pleasures of color, light, structure, and balance to name a few but also very human concerns, needs, and thoughts. Issues of time, silence, contemplation and a sense of being an occupant and part of world we inhabit are all part of the riches that I find I can mine from it's character. It is these qualities that have not worn out there welcome for me.

How to go about the task of making a painting so that it refers to my particular pleasures is always difficult. It meant finding a methodology that explains and is capable of sharing what I am, seeing and feeling. In my case I enjoyed viewing the land closeup, painting and usually omitting any mention of a distanced background. Also I wanted to include a great deal of information often times fleeting like light can be and hence the use of a camera to allow the survival of those moments to work with. To help explain organic nature of the land I paint with oils like it is a watercolor, fluid and loose. In order to capture the feeling of being immersed in the land I felt that working on a large scale could help with a sense of putting the viewer within the experience. What now sounds like a simple idea in the explanation took a bit of luck, intuition, and perseverance. I can only hope as people view the paintings that some of my enjoyment concerning nature can be experienced and shared by those who view it.