Frances Nichols

June Gloom in Malibu - Frances Nichols

My work is based on the tradition of the early California Impressionist plein-air painters and their emphasis on colored light. The works are in watercolor, pastel and oil, done on site or from my photos.

My paintings investigate the local scenery of the high desert, the Sierra Mountains, and the Los Angeles coast. I like to explore lighting effects and the changes they create. For me the landscape is a prism where the time of day can transform the light moving through it into constantly changing color.

I graduated from Mills College, cum laude, with an Art Major, and received my teaching credential and did graduate work at UCLA. Unfortunately, at the time conceptual art was becoming the art movement, and it was not until later workshops with practicing artists that I received real knowledge about media “how to” and realistic representation. Artists who influenced me were Tony Couch, Tom Lynch, Mario Mirkovich, Joe Mancuso, and Richard McKinley. I currently teach a pastel class for the Manhattan Beach Parks and Recreation, and had a solo exhibition this year at the Maturango Museum. I am a member of the Pastel Society of Southern California and participate regularly in their shows. In 2013 Richard McKinley awarded my landscape First Place.

Now, after thirty-four years of instructing and motivating high school students in the arts (at University High School in West Los Angeles), I am enjoying retirement and pursuing my own painting while exploring the coastline, Indian Wells Valley, the high desert, and the Sierras. Trips in the local canyons, camping, and off-roading have provided landscape subject matter that constantly changes with the seasons.

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Frances Nichols was a participating artist in the 2016 Rejoice in Art! Fair