meet the artist
MEET NICOLE HUGGINS
2. What have you been doing to keep occupied during the pandemic and how has your creative process been impacted? It’s been a challenge figuring out the new normal during the pandemic. We had to curtail our travel, which is a big source of inspiration for me. Despite it or maybe because of it, the pandemic made me appreciate the importance of having a close family, and to think about nature and our fragility in this world. My husband and I built our house, so there are always things to be done. One of our latest projects was to build a rose garden. I love to check out each new bloom and look for a pop of color or new scent. Without other distractions I found more time to paint, which has been a real solace for me.
3. Where do you find inspiration? One of the things I love most about travel is that you tend to notice everything around you. It’s like you opened your eyes anew and all your senses are awakened. So often we go through our daily life seemingly on autopilot. Travel is a chance to rediscover the world around me and myself. I love to meet people of all different cultures and try to understand things from their point of view. Wherever I go, I’m always drawn to nature. It’s ever changing, yet eternal. Its beauty inspires me and puts our mortality in perspective, quite literally.
4. Do you have a favorite piece of art that someone else created? I spent a lot of time in museums admiring the work of many great artists. From impressionists like Monet, to surrealists like Dali, and naturalists like the Hudson River School or Andrew Wyeth. To me art is like music. You can enjoy many different types of music, as long as it’s good. The same is true for painting. What’s “good” is a personal experience and relationship you have with that piece of art. I do believe good artistic expression has something to say. The form is not as important as the thought or feeling it evokes in you. I find it hard to pick a piece of art above the others. I will say that having had the opportunity to visit Monet’s gardens at Giverny and to see his works in their settings inspired me to paint A Rose Among Roses as well as to take the photograph I included in CAE’s latest auction.
5. Tell us about one of your pieces that you have been the most proud of? That’s kind of like asking someone to pick a favorite child. Seriously though, there are certain things that are important to me in my work. I look for composition, perspective, color and most of all light. I did recently a series of pastels on reflections on water. It took me a while to realize why I kept being drawn to that subject. To me water and light is life and reflections are ephemeral like our lives. The shades and shadows keep changing faster than you can capture them; then suddenly they’re gone. I continue to study the interplay of light and water in my works. If I have to choose a favorite piece though, I’m most fond of A Rose Among Roses, where the figure is an integral part of the garden scenery.
6. Who are your biggest influences? People say they see a certain European sensibility in my work. I don’t think I would approach art the same without the insight that the Impressionists brought to the portrayal of light. I’m also a great fan of the imaginative landscapes and expressive use of light in William Turner’s paintings. Though in the end, my art is part of my life and the biggest influence in my life are those closest to me, my family. My mother made me believe I could become anything I have the talent, passion and dedication to become, sooner or later.