The People’s Choice Award: Nola Parker
65: Nola Parker
Create a series of 15 “garden-scape” paintings exploring and celebrating gardening in Vermont with an emphasis on native plants
I am a self-taught landscape painter that lives and works in central Vermont. I graduated with a BA in English from The University of Texas at Austin in 2013. My work has been exhibited nationally and has appeared in publications such as New American Paintings, Aether Art, and Create Magazine. My primary focus is on Vermont landscape. While my work can be viewed as a exploration and celebration of the natural world, it also functions as an outlet through which I define myself. Through my surroundings, I feel out the boundaries of my existence, the spaces that contain me and that form my unique personal geography. Influenced by memory and experience, I create landscapes that are both fantastical and familiar, communicating the energy, personality, or mood of a space.
This project will result in a series of paintings, 15, large to small scale works, painted in acrylic paint on wood panel, exploring and celebrating gardening in Vermont with an emphasis on native plants. As a mother with two small children, often homebound in the early years of the pandemic, our small backyard became a place of deep inspiration and reflection for me as a painter. I love watching our little landscape grow and change, how it resists my attempts to assert my (often foolish) will upon it, and the joy my family receives from watching pollinators and other wildlife flourish in our own yard. I see the garden not as a place to bend and shape the natural world but as an opportunity for conservation space. This project will focus on the private and public spaces where this ethic has taken root, exploring how a connection with our personal landscapes is both deeply rewarding and environmentally beneficial. These works will be representational in nature but not bound by strict realism. I paint to capture the theoretical personality of the natural world and am eager to bring to life the more common and often overlooked native plants of Vermont. These garden-scapes will explore how we can live in harmony with the landscape and the beautiful results of this symbiotic relationship. As a painter, I’ve always been curious about the mundane, the everyday places that might be overlooked or ignored. I find everyday beauty is often more compelling than the overtly grand or spectacular, with more depth to uncover and explore. I hope to bring this same eye for detail and complexity to the many beneficial native plants that might be categorized as simple weeds, and truly change people’s minds about what is possible in their own backyard.
Fall Garden. “This is a painting from a recent solo exhibition. I created this large garden-scape with this project in mind as the work will be similar in nature.”
Chaos Geranium. “This is painting from a recent solo exhibition. I created this small garden-scape with this project in mind as the work will be similar in nature.”
Homecoming. “This is a painting from a recent solo exhibition. This is a good representation of my painting style and approach to Vermont landscape.”