Oil painting of nature with shadows
William Nichols, "Sunshine and Shadows," 2018, oil on linen, 54 X 74 in.

Paintings of Nature > 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.

William Nichols, “Wild Grapeleaves,” 2014, oil on linen, 52 x 64 in.

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.

Oil painting of nature
William Nichols, “Window on Fall,” 2019, oil on linen, 50 x 70 in.

At first glance, paintings such as “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, “Wild Summer Grapes,” 2013, oil on linen, 46 x 60 in.
William Nichols, “Saratoga Stream,” oil on linen, 43 x 48 inches
William Nichols, “Saratoga Stream,” oil on linen, 43 x 48 in.

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
William Nichols, “Grape, Leaves & Orange Lillies,” 2010, oil on linen, 49 x 77 inches
Detail of "Milkweed"
Detail of “Milkweed” (full painting below)
Oil painting of milkweed
William Nichols, “Milkweed,” 2015, oil on linen, 54 x 74 in.
Paintings of nature - reflections
William Nichols, “Early Evening Reflections,” 48 x 64 in., Purchased by Governor Pritzger and his wife as a gift to the State Mansion along with another work for the State Dining Room
Paintings of nature - trees and creek
William Nichols, “Twin Logs Crossing,” 1994, oil on linen, 54 x 80 in.
Paintings of nature - snow
William Nichols, “First Snow Santa Fe,” 2014, oil on linen, 60 x 90 in.
Paintings of nature - Aspen trees
William Nichols, “Sundance Aspens,” 66 x 78 in., Oil on Linen

To learn more, visit CK Contemporary.

This article was originally written by Andrew Webster in 2017 and featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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