It took William Nichols some time to develop a visual vocabulary that accurately expressed what he saw and experienced emotionally in nature. However, once discovered, the creativity — and paint — flowed in ways that continue to enthrall viewers and collectors.

Viewing a painting by William Nichols is like being engulfed by a wave of color, energy, pattern, and light that could be overwhelming. Nichols typically works on a large scale, and his paintings have such an arrangement of color and active brushstrokes as to make even the most mundane and innocent locations absolutely magnificent. At first glance, paintings such as “Sunlight and Shadows” and “Wild Summer Grapes” are so packed full of spots, shapes, and details of color that they almost appear abstract. However, the discerning eye (and brain) begins to pull together larger groupings of forms. Only after extended consideration does the spatial context emerge. Other works, such as “Saratoga Stream” and “Grape, Leaves & Orange Lillies” are more representational, but equally display Nichols’ mastery of color application and balance.

William Nichols, “Wild Summer Grapes,” 2013, oil on linen, 46 x 60 inches
William Nichols, “Saratoga Stream,” oil on linen, 43 x 48 inches

Of his experiences, Nichols writes, “As a young painter, I saw the landscape for its potential as both a conveyor of visual beauty and a messenger of meaningful experience. The difficulty was defining what was special about it for me and then finding a way of orchestrating the visual vocabulary to meet what I was seeing and feeling. The conclusions I came up with were, I think, largely intuitive and it is only over a number of years that I have come to understand more fully what those qualities were and what they mean to me.”

William Nichols, “Grape, Leaves & Orange Lillies,” 2010, oil on linen, 49 x 77 inches

To learn more, visit CK Contemporary.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

Previous articleFeatured Artwork: Terry Cooke Hall
Next articleWhat Can a Gallery Do in 20 Years?
Andrew Webster
Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here