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The City Journals

Artist of the Month: Lynn Nichols

May 30, 2017 03:27PM ● By Kelly Cannon

Nichol’s painting “Tree of Life” is one of his favorite pieces. (Lisa O’Bryan/Holladay Arts Council)

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]
Lynn Nichols has loved art his entire life. He began to really excel at it around the fifth grade but then stopped for a number of years after getting married. He later returned to the canvas after his kids got older. He works full time job as a senior technical writer for Fiserv, a Fortune 500 credit union/banking software company, but he can be seen selling his art at local art festivals. Nichols was chosen as the Holladay Arts Council Artist of the Month.
From about 2000 to 2014, Nichols mainly painted with watercolors, but for the past three years, he’s focused more on oil painting.
“I made the switch to oils because oil painting tends to be more marketable and I like the fact that you don’t have to cut a mat for framing,” Nichols said. “Oil paints are much more forgiving as well.”
Nichols said he tends to paint landscapes from the many trips he takes through Utah and the surrounding states while backpacking and hiking.
“I’m equally intrigued with painting human figures, and an occasional abstract,” he said.
Many local artists have an impact on Nichols’ work. He’s taken classes from Sandi Olsen, Osral Allred, Willamarie Huleskamp and Joseph Alleman. Nichols said Ed Marion is his favorite artist, as is Douglas Fryer for oils.
“There are so many great local artists,” Nichols said.
Nichols said he enjoys creating art because it’s a great way to express himself.
“I notice vistas that others might pass by or think of as ordinary or mundane. Through a painting, I have the opportunity to shout out, ‘don’t miss this,’” Nichols said. “Each painting is a puzzle for me to solve, such as what should the focus be, how do I make the painting exciting to the viewer, and how do I create something that someone will want to look at long enough to have an emotional response or thought.”
Nichols has three favorite paintings, including “Tree of Life,” a landscape of a desert scene showing a bike path leading up to a tree.
“I like this painting because it reminds me of a fabulous mountain-bike trail my wife and I took in the Wind River’s area in Wyoming,” Nichols said. “The autumn grass had an amazing amber hue. It was the kind of day you didn’t want to end. It renewed my energy and spirit, so I named the painting the ‘Tree of Life.’”
His painting “Sunshine” shows a girl on a beach reading a book. He said it’s an obvious favorite because it’s of his daughter at Laguna Beach.
“But I also love the iconic, laid-back-blond-girl-on-the-beach look, taking in the sunshine and surf,” Nichols said. “I was also excited with the realism of the texture of the canvas bag.”
“Destinations” is a painting showing a train traveling past in a desert scene with mesas in the background.
“I love this painting because of the rust-colored train and desert yellows juxtaposed against the cool violets,” Nichols said. “The expanse of the desert with vast open space is always appealing to me.”
Nichols said he hopes his artwork helps people slow down for a minute and contemplate the beauty in life.
“There is so much to life if we just speed by, we may not notice,” he said.
The Holladay Arts Council is always looking for more local artists to be recognized as the Artist of the Month. Residents are encouraged to nominate a local artist by filling out a nomination form at or by contacting O’Bryan at [email protected]