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I like having one painting that really sings for me,

that calms the voices that say, ‘You’re not a real

painter.’” Eventually all the works on the wall

move to a more finished state, for, as she keenly

observes, “perfect can really kill being good.”

Working in a series is important because “I just

don’t think that one painting can say enough,” she

claims. When a series starts, I get very excited—

it’s not enough to do one painting for a subject,

I just go all in. I will do some editing. Obviously

not everything is a masterpiece, and inspiration

changes during the project. Sometimes the last

ones are too much. Sometimes they just drop off

the brush and you’re the conduit—that doesn’t

happen enough. A lot of my paintings are great

sanded underpaintings.”

Nicole’s modesty hides an important key to

her art, if you ask curator Susan Bush, who says,

“Because of the very sturdy surface of the birch

wood, she can sand off layers—you can’t do that

on canvas or you go through the canvas. You can

get more layers of paint and that adds to the depth

and soul of the work.”

“I feel humble and simplistic withmy approach,

in my little cubbyhole making my work,” sums up

the self-proclaimed “surf girl,” who worked as a

lifeguard at Carpinteria’s Ash Avenue beach back

in her college days. “I want to draw attention to

the land and protect it, but even that’s a quiet mes-

sage—I’m hoping that beauty says a lot about the

importance of protecting that beauty.”


Nicole Strasburg’s artwork can be seen at Sullivan Goss–An American Gallery, 11 E. Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara, CA, (805) 730-1460. Nicole’s websites: and