American Spark


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Artist: John Nichols

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries , Oil by John Nichols

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries, Oil by John Nichols

For artists habitually drawn toward the outdoors, it’s no surprise that landscape painters in Sacramento Valley are creating a buzz for their interpretations of Northern California’s natural wonders. Especially when you consider the jaw-dropping beauty of the region, from the braided fields of Capay Valley to the serene skyscapes of the Sierras. “I often paint the places I love to be,” says John Nichols who has been directing his eye more and more toward landscapes. “I strive to communicate with the viewer my interpretation of each venue, creating a sense of place.”

Archery Summit , Oil by John Nichols

Archery Summit, Oil by John Nichols

John’s lived in the West Sacramento area all his life. His passion for painting stretches back to his youth when an influential high school art instructor motivated him to keep plugging away. In the ‘70’s he studied art at Sacramento City College. Since retiring from the construction industry a few years ago, John’s been devoting his time to painting. “Art has always been a part of my life. Retiring allowed me to focus on my art full time,” says John, whose voice is clear and whose words aren’t minced. One imagines that the clarity of communication required in construction translates to clarity of communication on his canvas. His unending drive compels him to load a tiny woody easel into his midnight blue Chevy Silverado every chance he gets, zigzagging through the Northern California Coast, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta Region and Valley.

John Nichols Pic1.JPG

Already accomplished in still life — in both oil and acrylic — John has found a symbiosis with the outdoors that he can’t seem to get enough of. Plein air painting has become his passion within a passion. For his landscapes, John tries to focus on composition, value, edges, color, atmospheric perspective, and creating a strong focal point. And, like any serious painter, he’s always chasing that often elusive light throughout his images.

Valley Sunset, Oil by John Nichols

Valley Sunset, Oil by John Nichols

“Many viewers say that my paintings portray peacefulness and tranquility. This confirms my attempt to communicate the mood of each scene I create.” Besides creating art, he’s actively involved in advancing the arts in his community as a board member of the Sacramento Fine Arts Center. This year John chairs the annual Sacramento open juried fine art exhibition and competition of animal-themed artworks, entitled “Animal House”, scheduled for August 6 – September 1, 2019.  More informatiion can be found here:  And of course, check out John’s website for more of his art:

John Nichols Pic3.jpg

May-Lily Lee