A talk with NICOLE LAMOTHE

Drawing and painting goes beyond just expression.

I create for the challenge. The challenge of attempting to re-create the perfection and beauty so effortlessly produced by nature. I welcome this challenge with every subject I draw and paint. Why? Because this practice fosters creativity and fuels my next artwork. Every new artwork has its challenges: composition, proportion, drawing a likeness, proper color mixing, matching the correct values and saturation to create believability.

This series was inspired by Manet’s flower paintings. Flower bouquets make very suitable subjects: flowers don’t get tired, only thirsty, do not require a break, and flower varieties are endless. I am rediscovering the art of drawing and painting from life—observation only—no cameras, or photographic prints. Now, I use a home-made plumb line (2 washers and a string), a bamboo skewer (unused of course) and a few rulers (because I love straight lines). The latest painting is usually my favorite, until the next one has been completed.

I have the satisfaction of creating artwork made by my eyes, hands and head without the translation through a camera lens or sensor. I needed to prove to myself that the skills I worked to achieve during my University days at the Academy of Art University were not lost to the past. I have a sense of both accomplishment and surprise with the completion of each and every artwork, learning more and more as I move forward. I will never attain the perfection of nature in my work, but I know that I am one tiny step closer with every artwork I create.

My ‘inspirational artist’ list is varied. Van Gogh for his free-spirit and words of wisdom. Most of the Impressionist painters for having the courage to get out of the studio and defy the ‘Academy’. Fairfeild Porter because his artwork straddled the line of representation and abstraction, Dali for his pristine painting and deep creativity, Ellsworth Kelly for his effortless drawing and use of the picture plane. Daniel Sprick, a living master still-life artist. Cy Twombly the puzzling ramblings on canvas. Antonio Lopez-Garcia’s work is simply amazing.


In addition to painting, I like to create things. I love to cook and making a delicious meal is completely satisfying, I have a new love of making bread-everything about it is satisfying, I have several interests areas of research and enjoy learning about: exercise, health, nutrition-I am fascinated with the resilience of the human body-all of the systems that work together to create equilibrium and health. I have recently started a few embroidery projects, to keep me busy in the evening. I can stay somewhat productive when the tv is on. Usually, when I am interested in a subject (or have a new art idea), I will generally research the subject to learn about it.

My husband is my biggest supporter and patron. His encouragement has helped me to keep going. I have 2 grown children: a future engineer and physician assistant, who are equally encouraging. I am thankful for all three, they are very patient people to allow me to leave my paintings everywhere in the house.

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