Thursday, May 14, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Nicole Nappi

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Nicole's painting "Red Pitcher" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Nicole's DPW Gallery Page:

Many years ago I was accepted to attend the Art Institute of Chicago.  Instead, and last minute, I changed my mind and enlisted in the US Navy.  Well, life happened as it does, months became years... and there was no time for art. In 2016, after 30 years, I found my way back to the canvas and began painting again.

Although I've had no formal art education, with today's technology, I've taken full advantage of online courses and tutorials offered by some talented and knowledgable artists over the past few years as I develop my own style. My favorite medium is acrylic, but I'm starting to dabble in gouache and think this may become a close second!

I've recently started with daily paintings and have found joy in creating smaller pieces. If I'm not working on a daily painting, then I'm working on a larger painting or learning new techniques, but I make sure to paint something every day. Not out of necessity, but out of the enjoyment and peace it provides me.

I feel privileged to share my work with all of the talented artists in this group and thank you for stopping by.

Red Pitcher
(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Nicole's interview.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I loved art class as a kid. I fooled around with watercolors and acrylics in high school, but didn’t get serious about it until many years later after my children had grown up and left home. One night several years ago, I attended a "Paint and Sip" with my daughter and as they say, "that’s all she wrote!" The next day, I went out and purchased some paints, a couple of how-to books, and enrolled in online art classes. A couple of years later, I began selling my work. First at local art/craft fairs and then online. Today, painting is my full time passion and I can honestly say it’s given me real happiness when others enjoy what I have to offer.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away? Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I’ve played a little with charcoal, pastels, watercolors, oils, acrylics and gouache. My favorite is acrylic because of its versatility and fast dry time. Most of my work is done with acrylics. I’ve recently started exploring design gouache and love it’s creamy, opaque nature, as well as its ability to be reworked after drying. I’m also looking forward to painting en plein air this summer with art friends.

(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

I belong to a couple of online art groups filled with some incredibly talented artists. Seeing their work every day inspires me to keep painting. I also love painting from the old masters. Two of my favorites are Martin Johnson Heade (still life) and Frits Thaulow (water and landscape). There is so much to learn from artists of today and the past. I love learning and I’m always trying to improve my work by being open-minded to new ideas and techniques.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Sitting on the couch with my iPad searching and saving reference photos! This is exactly how I procrastinate. When I get into this groove, I change it up and do things such as varnish paintings, prep canvases, order supplies, or practice techniques. I also watch a lot of painting videos, continually learning. I’ve learned that procrastination is part of my cycle or method, and it affords me time to complete other things that need to get done. Sometime it provides me with new ideas and challenges.

Winter on the Farm
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Ah, the million dollar question! I find that I am always thinking of what I’m going to paint next. I paint what appeals to me at the moment, and that can be anything! Sometimes I will paint seasonal paintings, but mostly I paint things that I tell myself "I can’t paint." I love to challenge myself and I’m my biggest critic. I’m hardly ever satisfied and I strive to become better.

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

By constantly learning and trying to get better. Being enrolled in online painting classes. When I’m working on a difficult painting, I’ll usually have another one or two I’m painting at the same time. I find this keeps me painting at times when I would otherwise give up if I got stuck. I can just put that painting to the side, work on something else, and come back to it a different day. Painting provides me inner peace. I cannot imagine it ever getting boring or mundane.

When Life Gives You Lemons
(click to view)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

Color mastery, values and painting with cool and warm tones. As with any endeavor, to truly become proficient one must learn all that they can. I am always trying to improve myself for myself.

What makes you happiest about your art?

The process of painting makes me happy. It’s my center, my therapy, my happy place. Making other people happy with my work is an even better feeling. Knowing that I created something that brings joy to someone else is very rewarding. That truly makes my soul soar.

Follow the Leader
(click to view)

Thanks, Nicole!

© 2020 Sophie Marine


  1. What a wonderful read. Art is a way to be free and so much to learn constantly it always gives back. Beautiful article.

    1. Thank you for you kind comment! I agree, it always gives back one way or another. Thanks again.

  2. Your skill and dedication to continue exploring and learning is evident in your true to life paintings. Each piece touches some part of life familiar to the viewer. Never stop this learning path because you are so dang good at producing great work!

    1. Thank you for the lovely remarks and compliment! Continual learner here!

  3. Great interview! You inspire me to become a better artist!

  4. Continually amazed by your growth as an artist. It brings me so much joy to see your paintings hanging in my home! Thanks for a great read.

  5. Wonderful! Thank YOU for your support!