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tion becomes: how do they set themselves apart?

Nicole’s landscapes take on a rare contemporary

feel; she paints on birch, and then doesn’t frame the

work. She also either usually has a very high hori-

zon line or a very low horizon line, so there’s lots of

sky or lots of land or ocean in each painting. That

pushes her painting more toward the abstract. Th

last five or six years, her brushstrokes have become

more apparent in her work, becoming part of the

pattern of the clouds or the sea. That also helps push

her more toward abstraction.”

Born in Salt Lake City, Nicole and her family

moved to Santa Barbara when she was four, when

her father was hired by UC Santa Barbara’s Th ater

Department as a set and lighting design teacher.

Nicole’s path to her art career tended to be one of

exploration and discovery. Unlike some artists

who seem born with a brush in hand, she says, “I

always loved math more than anything. It wasn’t

until I was 16 in high school that a teacher picked

me out and put me in an advanced placement art

class.” That was Dos Pueblos High School’s Audie

Love, who helped Nicole put together a portfolio

as she applied for college.

Nicole entered UCSB as an engineering stu-

dent, but quickly changed her major to art. She

says, “Despite being the youngest of four, I was the

first to go to college. My parents were thrilled to

think I was going to have a stable career and were

disappointed when I changed my plans.” The cam-

pus was familiar to Nicole, as she had hung out

with her father at the scene shop. But she admits

to feeling a bit self-taught, saying, “Intro to Paint-

ing was mostly ‘here are your materials, have ten

paintings done by the end of the quarter.’ At other

places, students only mixed paints all quarter. It

can be a struggle—I make tons of mistakes, not

given things in those early classes.”

Nicole often worked in charcoal as a student and

then also became fascinated with printmaking. “It’s

very left-brain and feeds my love of mathematics—

it’s ten percent inspiration and the rest alchemy,” she

says. “Printmaking makes you slow down.”

That slower pace differs fromNicole’s usual pro-

cess as an oil painter, which involves many moving

parts moving at the same time. As she works in the

airy studio her husband, Bill Marazita, built her

behind their home, she faces a wall of works-in-

progress. “All these paintings are talking to me; my

job is to listen and follow,” she says. “Some have

one coat of paint and some are closer to being fin-

ished. I like to build a whole show together.”

Determining what “finished” means can be

tricky, but Nicole has a technique to help her there,

too. “Usually I have one piece in my stacks I love

and love to look at,” so she says she puts that one

on the wall, too. “It reminds me that I can finish.

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