Living the Dream
Beach Bones, 2010, Oil on Paper
There have been time periods of very active painting, especially after I moved to the Cape in 1971, where I enrolled in various workshops and found opportunities to exhibit in juried and invitational shows.
And there have been plateaus when life was simply happening and painting was on the back burner. I never completely stopped creative out-put, although it happened on a kitchen table more than once!
Old Cape Door, 2009, Oil on Canvas
I traveled out West, to Arizona and New Mexico. The canyons in Utah astonished me, and I discovered a totally different spatial relationship between my self and the environment. I painted large luminous oils on paper in those wide open areas, where stars seem to touch the land and Orion's belt followed me wherever I went.
In Costa Rica, I felt amazed by the rain forest plant life. I saw moths so large I could hear their wings flap as they drifted by, and black sand beaches too hot to walk on barefoot with huge exotic driftwood bleached white. The result: fresh openness, pure pigment and a series of bug and moth paintings.
Oil on Canvas, 2009
In Ireland, the mystical energy lifting from peat bogs, the burren and porous rock walls (hand built in the old days, now velvet green, sprouting miniature plants) infused my paintings with poetry and changed my palette choices once again.
Time is everything and self-discipline is the necessary and often missing ingredient. I made a U-turn in 1999 when I moved back to Wellfleet. Without realizing it then, I would soon apply for a home occupation license and open Gallery 5.
A typical day starts with meditation, journal-writing and then two hours in the studio. Each day is an opportunity to investigate and produce in a way I have never done before. Not from urgency, but from purpose.
The subtle beauty of the Outer Cape wetlands, tidal marshes, ponds and sand dunes provides seasonal surprises and challenges. Here is my base camp where I do most of my work now.
I published a memoir cookbook, Atwood Farm Kitchen Secrets, four years ago. I write every day as well as paint. It all happens in a gallery/studio space approximately 14' x 14' – on one side of the room is an easel, on the other, a laptop.
Sometimes I wonder if there will be a duel between pen and brush, but so far both sides of my brain seem to be getting along very harmoniously, learning from each other.
Nancy Nicol owns Gallery 5 at:
Two of her short stories/memoirs have been selected for publication this summer by "Telling Our Stories," Lewisburg, PA. She also joined Nicola Burnell's writing group and is in revisions of her first novel.
5 East Commercial Street, Wellfleet MA
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