The art of Cathy Nichols stirs strange emotions in me. I have nothing but admiration for the artist herself, of course, and nurture an almost childlike enthusiasm for her richly textured, vividly colored depictions of life just off the edge of reality. But as much as I love to get lost in the magic of these visions, I find it necessary at the same time to suppress a surging sense of injustice that for so many years before the Impressionists came along and shattered the old convention, painters toiled away in studios with little more than bowls of pears and brooding, pasty-faced nobles to inspire them. Nichols’ art, typified beautifully in the dreamlike Aloft, celebrates an open-aired freedom of expression we take for granted today. Set against the somewhat-surreal backdrop of a carnival at sunset, the young female subject of the painting is aloft—literally—as a cluster of balloons carries her skyward, far above even the ghostly Wonder Wheel turning jauntily beneath her. There’s a familiar mystique to the scene, even if we can’t recall ever dreaming it specifically.
Besides churning up some obvious “what if” allusions, paintings like these turn the wheels of art history, as well, recalling the wavy, curling strokes of, for example, Van Gogh’s The Olive Trees while also drawing on the pastel palette of landscapes such as Kirchner’s View of Davos. Still, Nichols’ work is all her own. And Wishing Willow is proud to announce that for one lucky reader, one of Nichols' newest pieces can be yours, too. Sanctuary, a lovely ode to Spring recently completed, really shows off the versatility of the artist. Where some of her other work might be termed evocative or even haunting, this radiant nature-collage is simply soft and sweet, employing foliage patterns that resemble fabric prints and layering pinks, peaches, and taupes as a springtime swatch.
Participating in this giveaway is a breeze: Visit Cathy Nichols' collection here, and then simply come back here to tell us your favorite print. Those who also subscribe to our newsletter will receive an extra entry. (Leave a second comment, and confirm your subscription. The winner will be chosen randomly.) You don't have to have a Google account to participate. Click "anonymous" to enter. The contest will end 10/08/08. Good luck!
**We have a winner! Amy who said: "Wow, I have a lot of favorites. sancturary, finding my true home, secret garden, coda, poem and hello friend!!! You might have just broke my piggy bank :)" Congratulations! Please email us with your contact info.***