01 Nov 2022Mont Marte

Sure, everyone paints by hand, but not many can say they literally paint using their hands on the canvas. Pauline Nicola (@pnicolaart)’s unique technique sees her painting directly with her hands, allowing her to paint more openly, less restricted by a brush or movement. But the fun doesn’t stop there, the Sydney abstract artist also uses blow torches to create different shapes in her artwork, turning traditional methods of creating, completely upside down.

We discovered more about Pauline Nicola, what inspires her and uncovered more about her unique methods of creating.

How would you describe yourself?

Free spirited, curious, fun loving, sensitive. I’m a childlike, creative soul who loves going barefoot in the grass and being in the sun. I’m distracted easily and love to muck around. I love the people in my life fiercely, I’m raw, open and I wear my heart on my sleeve. I love all things weird and wonderful about the moon, universe, crystals and astrology.

How did you first get involved with art?

I’ve always been creative. Painting on and off, sewing, crafting, but not consistently until a friend asked if I could paint her a large abstract in 2016. This ignited my passion for painting abstracts in large scale!

Artist Pauline Nicola standing in her studio with a blue artwork painted on an easel stands behind her.

You create directly with your hands, how did this new style come about?

I loooove the feeling of painting using my hands. It’s unrestricted, more intimate and intuitive. I feel more of my soul and creativity flows out, naturally, free and in the moment. I’ve recently started playing around and using my arms as palette knives too!

You also use blow torches to create unique shapes, how did you find this technique?

I discovered the blow torch technique after doing a resin art course, then started using it with fluid art. It’s so much fun playing with fire!

Pauline's two hands in front of an abstract purple painting. Wearing white gloves, her hands are covered in paint.

How has your style developed over time?

I don’t feel like I have a set particular style, I’m always curious and on the lookout for new ideas. I create by feel a lot of the time. I guess you could say I play and see what happens!

How do you find inspiration to create?

I look to nature, music and I love using Pinterest for inspiration. I’m inspired by the sky a lot, as well as travelling and different cultures. I go by how I feel too, so lots of experiments with colour!

An abstract painting with purple, pink, orange and coral blends of paint with two silhouettes of gold birds flying.

How lovely! What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on?

My most exciting project was a HUGE ink and acrylic piece that took up my entire garage on tables. It was nearly 4 metres wide and it took me over a month to build, but I loved every moment!

What colour palette do you lean to and why? How do you pick it?

I do favour a blue palette -- I love how different blue hues blend with each other. I also love purples, indigo and pinks together too with metallics, that’s a magic combination.

An easel with a canvas painting outside in a green backyard of Sydney. The canvas has blue paint painted in an abstract way with white waves.

What’s your favourite Mont Marte product?

My favourite Monte Marte products are your fluid medium and paints, they’re so much fun, come in beautiful colours and unpredictable, which I love! I love your sketch products too, and I own one of your beautiful wooden pastel boxes.

Where does your mind drift to when you paint?

My mind can go anywhere! Usually I’m in the moment, music on, dancing around. Sometimes high energy, sometimes soft and quiet.

A round canvas with turquoise, pink, coral and peach paint painted in an abstract style.

Being a mum, how do you manage your time?

I’m a mum to two teens Liv, 16 and Sam, 13. I find it’s easier now that they’re older to have more studio time. My daughter is creative too and she joins me to paint at times. I love those moments.

How do you set up your painting studio?

My studio has a huge wall with hooks across it to hang canvases and paints. I also have some beautiful easels -- one was made by a friend and it’s so unique! I have tables along the length of the room, sometimes I use the whole table, depending on what I’m creating. I always have music on! I can’t paint without it. I open all of the doors when I’m creating, to let the beautiful sunlight in.

A large pour painting painted with black, pink, white, grey and gold paints mounted on an easel. The artwork has a black wooden frame around it with various colourful artworks.

What are you excited about for the future?

I’m excited to see where this adored art journey takes me. I’ve started incorporating sketches into my abstracts too and I hope to further develop this. I would love to have my own exhibition in the future too!

We hope that you feel inspired by Pauline Nicola’s creative journey. Create something unique yourself and show us! #montmarteart or tag us @montmarteart on Instagram or Facebook, we’d love to see what you create. Or check out more of our featured artists here.