Our featured artist for April is De’De’ Nicholls, a painter who is equally comfortable in oils, water-colors and acrylics. Or, as she describes it, “I paint in watercolor for discipline, oil for patience and acrylic is my happy medium.”
De’De’, who grew up in Los Gatos, California, credits her art approach to a family that exposed her to museums, theater, music, nature—and encouraged her to imagine, especially her dad, who taught her to “look beyond” to see what was there, like finding pictures in clouds and wood grains.
She adds, “Dad was always doodling with pencil, pen and ink, while my mother explored the arts through community education, and not only as an oil painting artist, but also someone who explored the art of cooking.” And when her mother passed away, De’De’s mother-in-law (a professional artist) continued to encourage and inspire her.
Another strong inluence and source of inspiration for De’De’ was her seventh grade art teacher, who she says gave her a “solid base.” In fact, De'De' took art classes all through school, in her teens created her first oil painting while listening to Madame Butterfly, and in college participated in life drawing and acrylic painting.
But, as life would have it, De’De’ ended up working in the food industry, where she used art as a
metaphor for teaching color and texture in nutrition. But between work and raising children in Santa Cruz, she didn't have much time to pursue her own art. Then, in 1996, she returned to the arts by taking classes at the local community college.
Since retirement and her move to Brookings, De’De’ has embraced her return to the arts in many ways: joining PBAA, regularly participating in art classes, taking time each day to create, and working part time at Wrights Custom Framing where she loves meeting other art lovers and helping them dress their art work.
In her own art, De’De’ enjoys brilliant color, saying, “I gothrough phases in terms of color and often pick just one when starting a painting and the painting evolves. I can look at a blank canvas and picture what it is I want to create, but ultimately, the paint leads me in its own direction. My creations often morph into something far diﬀerent from my original concept.”
For PBAA, De'De' has served as Membership Coordinator, Chairperson of the Azalea Festival Art Show, and often volunteers as gallery host. She also designed the 2016 Kite Festival T-shirt logo.
Today, De’De’ shows her art the Manley Art Center, Wright’s Fog and Fine Art Galleries and on her website: artbydaenicolls.com.