something special: Cathy Nichols

finished pieces for Nahcotta Enormous Tiny Art Show
getting started with paper selection
Artist, Cathy Nichols fell in love with the encaustic process and used it to do many of her paintings in the past until she moved to Manhattan and became pregnant with her first child. The switch from sunny, outdoorsy L.A. to NYC left her with insufficient ventilation to continue with encaustic, so she invented a way to mimic what she loved best about the process using acrylic-based paints, scrap paper, a sharp sculpting tool and lots of gel medium. We asked about her process, here's her explanation, following the images:

applyinig cut paper to church
a little color and paper added
"So, first I sketch out the painting in pencil and sometimes watercolor. Then I draw it onto wood (this piece of wood is hand-cut by my fiance, Christophe -- my wood-cutting assistant!). Then I start painting and glue paper down as I'm inspired. To glue them down, I use acrylic gel medium on the back and set the paper using a printing brayer rolled over wax paper. When I reach a certain point, I layer a whole bunch of heavy-bodied, clear acrylic gel medium over the whole piece and quickly etch in fine-lined details using my sharp metal sculpting tool. (Continued below the images).

a pause to reflect
applying thick acyrlic gel
"Then, once the acrylic gel dries completely, I'm ready for the funnest part. I layer acrylic paint over the whole thing, then wipe it off. It sets in only where I've etched the lines. It's quite cool! For "Wedding Day," I used transparent raw umber because it contrasted nicely with the blue/green tones of the painting. Finally, I paint and apply more cut paper for contrast and depth. Then I add another. And, yes, all of my paint is non-toxic if inhaled as I use only acrylic-based products. Considering my huge belly and visiting 18-month-old, this is essential for peace of mind!"

layout for flower petals
cathy painting
wedding day copy

The final piece is for sale at Cathy's Etsy shop, or you can visit her table at Poppytalk Handmade here, and etsy shop here.

Thanks Cathy!

Jan Halvarson


Fiona Cartolina said...

Great illustrations Cathy - and I love seeing the process - thanks for sharing!

Kim Vallee said...

You definitely have your own style but I feel a Marc Chagall inspiration - which is a compliment because I love that period of his work.

Kim Vallee said...

I should have said Cathy has her own style. I tried to go too fast ;-)

Dianne K. Nelson said...

I'm really LOVING this artist. Thanks for the intro!


Jen of MadeByGirl said...

I love Cathy's work and the last photo is so colorful and PRETTY!

Jen Ramos
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