Photo credit Bill Dewey
Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah this now California artist moved to Santa Barbara at the wee age of 4 when her father took a job at the nearby university. Always terribly shy, as the youngest of 4 children, she spent much of her time seeking a quiet refuge away from the bustle of the large family. In these long stretches of sought after solitude Nicole lived in her own world hatching plans and daydreaming, often finding her personal sanctuary outdoors, lying in the grass staring at the sky.
This world grew to encompass a place that is often depicted in Nicole's current paintings. Vast stretches of open space, an endless horizon, and the quiet contemplation that takes place when really spending time alone with oneself.
"Nature is an inspiration and always brings me back to center, puts me in perspective of my place in the world and offers comfort in its noisy silence."
Photo credit Valori Fussel
While painting is Nicole Strasburg's primary medium, printmaking is the constant diversion. After years of pursuing her career in painting Nicole wanted to return to drawing and found printmaking a good vehicle in which to study mark making and composition. Her focus while studying art at UC Santa Barbara was charcoal drawings, subscribing to the philosophy of Georgia O'Keefe that if you can't say it well in black and white why bother with color.
Her style of painting evolved over a period of time and was molded by several influences. One in particular, when she arrived home from living in Paris and had no means of purchasing materials, a friend offered cabinet wood from his brother's shop. When the panels ran out, she sanded in order to have something to paint on. This process of sanding was then folded into the process of building surfaces. Printmaking was yet another layer to this evolution, the back and forth that occurs in etching, cross hatching to create mass and shadow influenced the method paint was applied to the wood surface. Smaller marks in many layers were woven together to create a visual fabric of color that made up the landscape imagery.
"Experimenting with other mediums, including printmaking, is a great tool to explore design and composition with the belief that all paths lead back to a richer understanding of painting."
A devout studio painter, Nicole visually records her inspiration with sketches and photographs while out on walks with her dogs. Composing and editing are done back in the studio from the series of images taken in the field. "Simplification of the environment to create a more universal experience within the painting is my goal. Good design will always take precedence over being true to the particulars of any location."
Nicole spends most days in her Santa Barbara studio with her two border collies and is frequently visited by her husband, who kindly reminds her to go outside.