Vivid streams of color flow across the canvas. The paintings are emotion in motion. Artist Nick Wolf paints intently in his studio, a part of the family garage that once housed his dad’s 1977 Excalibur. Nick spends hours there most days, usually taking a piece from start to finish in one sitting. His entrance into art may have begun just a year ago, but Nick has already completed dozens of extraordinary works.

It was last Christmas when his Grandma Ina came to visit. A painter herself, she encouraged Nick to paint. He recalled, “She brought me into the art world.” Earlier last year, the 20-year-old was in a devastating accident that left him legally blind. One eye is sightless and the other’s sight severely limited. On that day, life for the young man took an abrupt and painful turn. Team sports and driving stopped. It was hard to imagine any paths would or could open up.

Nick’s journey of recovery has not been easy. However, expression through painting continues to be a therapeutic and creative process for the young man. In a thoughtful moment, Nick said, “People choose their own path and destiny.” His results are to be admired.

Artist Nick Wolf
Using a flow technique creates strong movement across the canvas. Photo credit: Mary Ellen Psaltis

In painting, Nick has found focus and release. His first piece included planets and space, but over time his work has turned to abstraction. He has taught himself a flow technique, which involves moving paint with his fingers and gravity. Sometimes a brush is used. Local artist Sylvia Olson, commented, “He is able to manipulate layers of paint with light and dark and opposite colors. It’s pretty incredible.” She has been working with Nick to find avenues for exposure. Under her guidance, the paintings get to completion and are ready to be hung. Nick’s father, Scott Wolf, helps with framing and attaching hangers. Arlene Wolf, Nick’s mom, applies a clear shellac coating for a lasting finish.

An accomplished artist herself, Olson retired from teaching at Timberline High School. She is an interior designer/consultant and also creates unique outdoor spaces. She and Nick met while she was participating at the Artist’s Gallery. Her own painting is very visually tactile. Also using a flow style, she says her art originates from the heart and is reflective of her organic connection to the earth. Her work can be found hanging at Ricardo’s Restaurant, where Nick’s were also showing in November and early December.

Nick’s studio is splattered with colors of the rainbow. He uses acrylics and paints on canvas, but has also painted on quarter-inch mason board and wood. Lately, he has been experimenting with painting on pieces of paper and applying glitter. These pieces are then mounted and prepared for hanging. His exploration of art has also included taking a pottery class.

Artist Nick Wolf
Nick has a martial arts training device for in home practice. He also likes being outside in nature. Photo credit: Mary Ellen Psaltis

“Every painting has a story that unfolds upon itself,” Nick told me of his work. He explained that they emerge from thoughts and make their way onto the canvas. “I feel good about it,” he added. Nick does have the ability to see colors, which he uses to the maximum. I found the paintings to be filled with intense colors and powerful beauty. Spending time with Nick reminded me to be grateful for being alive and for enjoying all of my senses.

This Christmas, Grandma Ina was back to spend time with Nick and the family. She remains a source of inspiration to Nick to become what he ultimately wants to become. Nick has his philosophical side. He told me that life is about looking to see what you can find and to be your best at what interests you. As he noted, “Everyone can aspire to achieve greatness.”

Nick is open for new possibilities to hang and share his work. At a recent private showing he sold ten pieces. You can reach Nick through his Facebook page.

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