About Charlotte Nickel

I knew from an early age that I would be an artist. My earliest influence was my Grandfather Nickel, as he taught me to draw at the kitchen table when I was a child. My aunt, Mary Nickel, attended the Chicago Art Institute in the early ’30s. I remember there was really no doubt in my mind that I would be a painter.

I graduated from the art program at Bethany College, Kansas, in 1977. Rather than go to the prestigious Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, for graduate work, I chose to spend the next 5 years being “wild and free.” I lived in Portland, Oregon, and Chicago during these years and worked at various jobs.  Although I regarded this time as wasteful, I realize now, looking back, that I was developing my keen attraction and “call” to abstract painting. I began doing purely abstract work.  I studied the work of Abstract Expressionists from the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. I did big paintings in my downtown Chicago flat.  One of my greatest influences was, and still is, Richard Diebenkorn. His giant expanses of color are compelling and breathtaking.  I longed to paint that way.

In 1982, I moved to Emporia, Kansas because of marriage.  Little did I know it was the perfect place to land. My greatest influence, Professor Richard Slimon, was directing the graduate program at ESU. I recognized his work one day while strolling through the university gallery. It totally captured my attention and I had an immediate understanding that this was my place to study. After graduating in 1987, I went on to teach, directing the Art Department at Fresno Pacific University from 1987 through 1994.  My time in California also included two years of living on the Monterey coast.  New paintings developed a color palette that reflected the architecture and atmosphere of the coast. During my time in Fresno and Monterey, paintings sold to Interior Designers.

Since 1996, I’ve lived and painted in Emporia, Kansas.  My work has changed, in that I find I am always moving into a new place of color combinations, and compositional dynamics. Recently, I’ve been seeking to be immersed in the act of painting on a deeper level.  Going deep is a reality I find gives way to colors and images I hadn’t considered before. New things pour out of me! I literally crave to go deeper into painting.

I feel honored to be able to paint, grateful that I can share my work with anyone who wants to see it.