Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What makes us feel alive?

I often try and think about what makes someone connect with a work of art. What is it that stops us in our tracks and makes us reconsider, even in a small way, how we see the world or feel about it? Sometimes this happens when we see a work of art, read a great story or just come across anything at all that moves us. Often it is not planned or expected. This video of two friends out on a boat ride so perfectly captures that moment. Life can be so rich, so unbelievably surprising that all one can do in the end, like these two girls, is just laugh and be thankful.

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Costello Childs Gallery Opening

Thought I would post some shots of how the work looked in the gallery....It was wonderful to meet many of the designers and art consultants who have purchased my work for their clients as well as some of the local collectors. Scottsdale has a wonderful art community and everyone turns out to see what is happening...Whenever I do a show, work like crazy to make the paintings and then take a week off, show up in a new town and then walk in to the gallery, I always get some kind of insight or fresh realization about my work. This time I saw that the black and white more simple paintings I had made were very strong. I wasn't so sure about it when I originally made them. There is something about making paintings that are very simple, not only compositionally but color wise as well, that increases their potency. Less is often, more. I plan to do more like them in the future.

Picture 4


Picture 8

Picture 7


Saturday, October 15, 2011

New Paintings for Solo Show

Here is a photo of my studio towards the end of finishing 12 new large paintings for a show at the Costello Childs Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ. The show opens Oct 19th and runs through Nov 23rd. This body of work represents the biggest creative effort I have given in a long time. I don't think I have ever made so many large paintings at one time. I know the large studio has helped me work better at scale as I can get back from the work and see it in context with all the other paintings. One painting starts to improve and then all the others seem weaker which in turn makes me push the others till they are at the same level. I was expecting to be exhausted once the delivery truck came and took all the paintings away but oddly I am not. I walked back into my now empty studio and just pulled out a bunch of blank panels and started in again. Either I am mad or this art-making thing is addictive. Maybe a little of both.

aaa studio

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Artplane Evening Series Begins Sept 6th!

For anyone who is possibly within driving distance of Sausalito, CA. I thought I would post the info for the Artplane Evening Series.
This 6 week course is an abbreviation of the longer 5 and 7 day workshops we hold every year. They have been lots of fun so far.
The photo is of the texture making tools that everyone uses. I painted them all red because when we travel to various art studios to teach we invariably lose a few because they blend in so well....


Upcoming 6 week series: Tuesdays 6pm-9pm Beginning Sept 6th!

Thanks again to everyone for making the last session so much fun. Please pass this email on to
any of your friends who might enjoy the class. Word of mouth is my only advertising!

Come join the next 6 week series of studio classes taught by Nicholas Wilton in his
studio located in Sausalito, California. This ongoing course will be especially helpful for
those artists who are sometimes challenged by maintaining creative momentum and
achieving goals in alignment with their personal vision or creative path.
Beginning students as well as those who have already completed an Artplane Workshop
will find this weekly touchstone incredibly supportive and inspirational.
Not only will our small group be working together in class but we will also be
clarifying a practical process to develop a cohesive body of personal work.
We will be working on 12" x 12” wood panels using primarily acrylic paint.
For more advanced students alternative materials and sizes can be substituted.
Included in the class will be demonstrations, slide presentations, great music and of
course the tremendous energetic lift that comes from working with friends.
Basic materials are included but can be supplemented with your own.
Come prepared for a whirl of self expression, and the very likely possibility that your
art can, in fact, become much more central in your life.

Course Fee $250 Please submit payment by mail or paypal to enroll. Additional info
will be sent upon enrollment.

Nicholas Wilton Artplane Creativity Series 480 Gate 5 Rd Ste 300W Sausalito, CA
nick@nicholaswilton.com studio 415 601 8447 www.artplaneworkshop.com


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nicholas Wilton Paintings Book!

Here is a new book on my paintings! You can preview it here or better yet purchase one for your art library!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Artplane Creativity Workshop 2011

We just returned from teaching a 7 day Artplane Workshop at Esalen along the Big Sur Coast. We had a tremendous group. Some participants were working artists, others had little or no experience, but by the third day all were making amazing work and from where i sat, having a tremendous amount of fun doing it. It is hard to imagine a better blend of things: Art making, eating delicious food (that you do not have to make or clean up after), laughing, wine, chocolate, good friends, and floating in hot springs at the end of a full day beneath a blanket of glistening stars.
While our workshop was going on there also was a workshop led by Kim Rosen on Poetry. It seemed everywhere you went on the property her students were handing everyone poems on scraps of paper. They were even floating them in the hot springs. It was quite delightful coming across a poem in your day or having someone just come along and present you with one. We all had them in our pockets and, as a result, decided to use the poems in our workshop. To offer a visual response, an answer to the poem elves generosity. We cut our 10 x 10 boards down to 4 or 5 in square and took fragments or lines of these poems and used them as inspiration to generate imagery. Below are a sampling of some of these poem boards made in the workshop.


I am going from memory so I apologize in advance if your artwork happens to not be here or is credited incorrectly. From top to bottom:
Diana Arsenian, Sharon Virtue, Christopher Chaffin, Sharon Virtue, Nancy Worcester, Jennie Oppenheimer, Barbara Kyle, Sharon Virtue, Nicholas Wilton, Ashley Jones, Jennie Oppenheimer, Nicholas Wilton, Jennie Oppenheimer.














Monday, April 11, 2011

Stremmel Gallery Show

Thought I would post a few pictures from my recent show at the Stremmel Gallery in Reno. The opening night turned out to coincide with the arrival of the worst storm of this last winter. I braved the mountainous drive to get there even though by the afternoon it was snowing pretty bad. I figured it would just be me and possibly the road snow plow guy at the opening. I had never shown at this gallery so when I walked in I was delighted to see how beautiful the work had been hung. This particular gallery has the spaciousness of a museum and the director, Turkey Stremmel and her crew are particularly good at designing shows. They understand how to use white space. Lots of open space between paintings only makes them look that much better. The gallery also have a consistent following so by the time the doors were opening there was quite a crowd for such a stormy night. Much of the work sold which made being snowed in Reno the whole next day perfectly ok. You never can tell how things will turn out.



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Studio

I have not written here since end of January...I have been incredibly busy the past 2 months moving into a new studio. After 15 years at least, working in and around my house in West Marin, I finally decided to move to a studio space that is more centrally located, one that has other working artists in it, a harbor complete with sailboats, seagulls and a general feeling of happy activity. I think, no I know, that many artists deal with feelings of isolation. Of course making art for most people is a solitary activity. This actually is a good thing. The difficulty comes when your left to work alone for ever and ever. I know for myself that staring at my own work for too long or maybe just working alone for too many days in a row starts to wear you down a bit. I remember when I worked in NYC in a small apartment, (If your not going out and your not seeing anyone all day then there really is no reason to get out of your pajamas...see how bad it can get?) and how, when the fed ex guy would come to pick up something, I would just talk his ear off. I would just try to keep the conversation going as long as he would stand there. When the only human contact you have is with the UPS or fed ex guy then it probably is time to change your working environment. This studio, I originally was going to share with someone and then greedily kept all 1,300 sq ft for myself, is located in the ICB Building in Sausalito, California. It is an enormous 3 story building that originally was used to manufacture sails for sailboats. There are literally hundreds of artists all piled in the building. I now work with one door open and have all the pleasant interruptions I want all day. Anyway, once I got here I wondered why I had waited so long. I never could justify a move for so many practical reasons such as having to drive, the cost, etc. But I possibly overlooked the one reason that should of trumped all others...I would be happier! Duh...


Sunday, January 23, 2011


I just saw the work of an artist friend of mine, Carrie Leeb, at Ampersand, a small gallery in San Francisco. One of the more interesting pieces in the show was, for me "Seperation" a found rock installation. It is not really apparent from this photo (taken with an iphone no less) the actual scale of the rocks. The large ones are actually bowling ball size - probably the size limited by what was physically possible for her to carry to her car. I know, for a fact, that the artist drove somewhere up in Northern California and actually found these rocks. Found them all in this very same stage of division, of splitting, freshly apart, driven into two by the forces of nature. Possibly from this years especially cold Winter or perhaps Springs unannounced frosts. I know she spent many hours walking alone amongst the river stones searching for these particular rocks. I can imagine how it began ..a walk upon the edge of a river and stumbling upon a singular rock, unlike all others broken in two. And then this poignancy becoming reconfirmed again and again as still more are found. Oddly, there are possibly thousands of these same rocks all sharing this same instance of seperation and division. These gathering of stones remind me of the pivotal, rare moments in many people's lives that feel earth shattering, momentous, meteoric in the change they catalyze. I wonder if these rocks make a sound when they break apart after possibly millions of years together; that a heart doesn't in fact let out an audible cry when it lets go of things it has always held. Separation always seems to be nuanced by aloneness, a sense of sadness perhaps. However, Carrie's display, her meticulous stone gathering upon a wintery river bank has given us a reminder that in fact change is rampant in the lives of many people and that there are countless others just hidden from our view that are possibly navigating the very same kind of change. There is a small degree of reassurance in the notion that those of us who find ourselves in the wild storm of change are, in fact, not alone.
Ampersand "Walking on Thin Ice" January 21-Feb-18 1001 Tennessee St San Francisco


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Life as Art

I was going for a run early one morning and I went past this guy setting up tubs of water and strings on the sidewalk. It was really early on a Sunday and no one was even around. I came back through town a couple of hours later and here was this same guy just making these extraordinary soap bubbles. It was still early in the morning so he was without an audience. I watched for awhile from my car and it became apparent that he was completely involved with it, just making these for the sheer joy of doing it. It's rare you see someone doing something for just this one reason. It's such a simple idea. That in the end, it is really one of the only reasons to do anything worthwhile. I walked across the street and stood next to him and when he was in between bubbles I just said "thank you" and without missing a beat or even breaking his bubble making he responded "your welcome"

soap bubble

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Organizing Messy Things

Sometimes in all the information one comes across on the internet you find a little something that is helpful--the following post might be one of those, especially if you are a painter. The paint organizer shown below is a very helpful tool for the studio that I now cannot imagine being without. Basically it is a holder for all those messy paint tubes! I make them for my smaller acrylic paints and my large tubes of oil paint.
To make this yourself, take PVC piping (from the hardware store-it's very cheap) and cut off segments all the same length. For my oil paint I made the PVC tubes 5" tall--and the width the pipe comes is 2 1/4 ". You can get it almost any width to fit various paint tubes. Once you have all the segments they can be easily glued together into blocks of 16 or 20 using pvc cement. It dries in a minute and is very strong. In my studio I use 2 blocks of 20 and I keep all the cool colors on the left and the warm colors on the right. It makes it incredibly easy to find the right color, which at least for me, makes it just a little bit easier and faster to create the painting.