nikkal, NINES, 60×36 (2015) original version


I challenged myself to change a painting I completed in 2015, because I didn’t like the rough patches of paint on the surface and also wanted to simplify the geometric design. See the original version nearby.

NINES was exhibited recently in a 3-person show titled In the Space of Spirit (Nov 16, 2017 to Jan 11, 2018) at the Lakefront Gallery at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Hamilton, NJ. It was a big show. I had 23 works in the show, including large paintings and framed collages. Karen Fitzgerald, who organized the show, and Kristin Reed were there other two artists. Sheila Geisler selected and hung the show on the huge mezzanine level at the Lakefront Gallery.






NINES at the Lakefront Gallery



The image nearby shows NINES on the Lakefront Gallery wall, flanked on the left by Kristin Reed’s 2 works and on the right by Karen Fitzgerald’s two works. Notice there is a large number nine painted in dark grey in the upper left side of my painting. The exhibition was reviewed in a Times of Trenton article: Lakefront Gallery Fine Arts: ‘In the Space of Spirit’ | (Nov 29, 2017). Janet Purcell wrote about NINES: “Pay careful attention to her (Nikkal’s) large acrylic on canvas where the number nine sometimes appears prominently and other times only obscurely. “ Purcell added a statement by Sheila Geisler: “Her (Nikkal’s) adept manipulations of contrasting color create a sense of movement – the surfaces seem to breathe. She is dedicated to exploring the layering of materials as well as the layering of form and pattern.” I was pleased with the review and the recognition that my abstract geometric works are always about surfaces and layering.




I brought NINES back to my studio on January 11th, looked closely at the way it was painted and decided I definitely would change it. On January 25th a pithy post arrived via email from Seth Godin to accept the challenge to begin. The post is titled Beginning is Underrated. Read the post.



Merely beginning.

With inadequate preparation, because you will never be fully prepared.

With imperfect odds of success, because the odds are never perfect.

Begin. With the humility of someone who’s not sure, and the excitement of someone who knows that it’s possible.



NINES in progress, close up view


The image nearby is a close up of the painting after I started to make changes. I wrote myself a work memo: Sand Nines when you arrive at the studio to make the surface smoother. Plan to use a sand block. Scrub gently in a circular motion. It’s hard to tell from this close-up, but I turned the painting upside down so the top is now the bottom. Look at the center of the painting here and notice the painted paper collage. The papers shows up because I reduced the layers of paint with sanding. Notice the cut paper letter D on the right sided. I started to add new collage. The paper, a reverse letter D is not glued down yet.







nikkal, NINES, acrylic and collage on canvas (2017)


The image nearby is the new version of the painting. I painted out the large number 9 and large grey oval shape in the original painting. I painted large areas with thin layers of white acrylic to soften the grey yellow tones and unify the design. I changed a yellow square to grey. As I worked, I wiped the acrylic paint gently to reveal undertones. With the turnaround, the nines became sixes so I knew I would have to add more collage numbers to keep the title NINES. FYI: when I am working on a painting, I always paint papers at the same time. That way I have collage papers with colors that match.I eliminated the yellow gold bar at the bottom, the yellow stripe on the right and little gold square on the left.







I will show NINES soon in a group exhibition titled Black White & Grey at the Upstream Gallery in Hastings on Hudson, NY March 1-18, 2018. I am a member of the gallery and NINES now has the right colors for the group show. It’s all black and white and grey.



I found another Seth Godin post, dated January 21, 2018, that says exactly what I think and feel about this process. It’s titled The Gap. Read it here.


There’s a gap between where you are and where you want to be.

Many gaps, in fact, but imagine just one of them.

That gap–is it fuel? Are you using it like a vacuum, to pull you along, to inspire you to find new methods, to dance with the fear?

Or is it more like a moat, a forbidding space between you and the future?


What did I learn?

Go for it. There are always gaps. Dance with the fear. You can make it work.


Your comments are welcome.


If you are in Westchester County, NY, please stop by the Upstream Gallery, 8 Main Street, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY and see the exhibition (March 1-18). Gallery hours are Thursday to Sunday, 12:30-5:30. Come to the reception Sunday, March 4th, 2-4 pm. The show includes various media, all interpreting black, white and grey.



April 26, 2013

I exhibited original collage paintings at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show at Pier 94 in NYC from March 21-24, 2013.

I planned my booth (M135) and designed it to be all about bright colors – hot pinks, warm reds, greens, blues, darks and whites to make the colors ping.

Every piece of art  – every painting and collage that I hung in the booth was selected for its color in order to attract an audience. And it did.

The 2 images below are installed as a diptych – 2 works  hung together as one. They are titled Musical Notes 1 and 2.

Nancy Egol, Nikkal, Musical Notes 1 and 2, 2011

Nikkal, Musical Notes 1 and 2, 2011

The work on the left is a painting in acrylic on canvas, 24×24 inches. The work on the right is a collage with acrylic painted papers on a 24×24 inch wood panel. My studio practice is mainly collage, but I love to paint so some works are paintings and some works are painted paper collage. The image above was taken by Marcy Michaud. She wrote a blog about the show and included my image.

When I do painted paper collage, I paint papers first, and then, when the paint is dry, I play with cut paper blocks and organize them into grid patterns. I almost always work with a grid. Sometimes I change the size and shape of the papers as I make the collage. Sometimes I paint back into the papers after they are glued down. The color relationships are the most important part of each work.

The images below are 2 collages with painted papers and assorted magazine papers, framed size 13.5″x16″. The works are titled Color Game Hidden Spaces (top) and Color Game Green & Red (bottom). They were installed on a side wall in my booth.

1 and 2 installation Color Game collages

Nikkal, Color Game 1 and 2, 2012

On the opposite wall, I hung a horizontal framed collage I titled DNA. See the image below. I want people to be attracted to the power of color. It’s painted paper collage on paper, framed: 22″ x29.5″, 2012.

Nikkal, DNA, 2012

Nikkal, DNA, 2012

I was asked – why did I title the collage DNA? Answer: The color blocks made me think of uncurled strands of DNA. A little bit. My approach to naming the art was very unscientific. Someone said: DNA would only show in 4 colors. My collage had more than 4. I had 3 greens, 2 blues, a red-purple, a reddish brown and several yellows.

I checked out images of DNA online and learned that the DNA molecules are paired chemicals – hydrogen bonds given the letters A,T, G and C  (A pairs with T and G pairs with C). The letters stand for adenine-thymine and guanine-cytosine. Here’s more information…

See the image below (image courtesy the Internet).  It’s an uncurled strand of DNA that does look a little like my collage.

DNA image the Internet

DNA image the Internet

I know my collage DNA included too many colors – but I love color.

I found a link to a letter from Francis Crick to his son Michael explaining how he (Crick) and Jim Watson discovered and built a model of D.N.A. It’s a lovely hand-written note from a father to a son. Read more…


People want to see variety, especially at a trade show. So I included about 30 additional unframed works for all the people who visited my booth to look at and hold.

I tucked these smaller unframed collages into 11”x14” clear vinyl slipcases and placed them in an art bin freestanding on the floor. Each vinyl slipcase was numbered to match a price list with titles, image sizes and media for each work.

Many works in the bin combined printmaking, drawing and collage.

The image below is titled Random Squares in a Grid 2 (Brown & White Stripes). It’s collage with assorted papers and acrylic on paper, 11.5″ x 11.5″, 2011.

Nikkal, Random Squares in a Grid 2

Nikkal, Random Squares in a Grid 2

The image below is titled Random Squares in a Grid 7 (Azo Yellow). Its  a collage with assorted papers over painted paper, 11″ x 12″, 2011.

Nikkal, Random Squares Grid 7, 2012

Nikkal, Random Squares Grid 7, 2012

It pleased me that people took time to handle the unframed works. People like to touch. I took the works out of the slipcases so they could see and touch the surfaces.

The image below is a collage of colorful striped papers on top of a silkscreen print card (the card is a print from an original drawing).  I like to collage over hand-made cards. The paper is fine printmaking quality, folded like a card, 8″ x 7″, 2013.

Nikkal, Colors by Chance, 2013

Nikkal, Colors by Chance, 2013

The 2 images below are 2 more small collages on top of hand-made cards on printmaking paper, folded, 8″ x 7″, 2013. The cards were very popular at the show, and priced to sell.

Nikkal, Colors by Chance 4, 2013

Nikkal, Colors by Chance 4, 2013

Nikkal, Colors by Chance 3, 2013

Nikkal, Colors by Chance 3, 2013

It was a good thing that I included the variety I did. Many people loved the pinks and reds of the framed works hung on the walls. Many people were interested in the variety of different works in the art bin.

Please visit my website to see 28 images that were at the show.  Click on each image to enlarge and get a better view of the detail and collage layers.


Follow-up is so important after the trade show closes. I am still contacting designers, architects and others, sending information and image files they’ve requested.

A trade show offers incredible opportunities. The networking is amazing.

Please contact me if you want more information. I am happy to answer your questions about how to organize work for exhibit in a large show like the Architectural Digest Home Design show. My booth was located in the “MADE” section with more than 150 designers, artists and craftsmen – from lighting, fine crafted furniture, photography, sculpture and fine art paintings and collage. I think I will participate in the show again next year.

I will probably play with painted paper collage in the studio, and explore the idea of DNA paired as blocks. I am intrigued with mixing art and science. Do you think art and science work well together? Many people do. Thank you for reading and for your comments.