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(b. 1966)

Contemporary Landscape Painter

by Susan Bush

Nicole Strasburg is a contemporary landscape painter. Her paintings are focused studies of land, sky, and sea that tend toward abstraction as they are pared down to their most organic shapes.

Table Of Contents

I. Biography

Nicole Strasburg was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1966. In the early 1970’s, the Strasburg family moved to Santa Barbara, California when Nicole’s father accepted a position at the University as a set and lighting design instructor. He had studied as a painter and received a degree in painting from the University of Utah. Nicole was greatly influenced by her father as a painter; the act of his painting, the solitary intimacy, the smell of turpentine, and the proximity to creative people all worked to ignite a creative spark in her mind.

Nicole was initially drawn to mathematics and had tentative sights set on a career in engineering. In her junior year of high school, however, Nicole was taken from a beginning drawing course and put directly into an advanced placement class. She worked primarily in graphite creating portraits of friends and of her self to master the art of drawing, At the urging of her art instructor, she completed an artist’s portfolio during her senior year to help gain entrance into a university. Nicole applied for and won a fellowship to the College of Creative Studies art department at UCSB. Still working primarily in graphite, it wasn’t until her junior year of college that she began her “long struggle with learning how to use oil and color.” Nicole completed a bachelor of arts degree in painting and drawing at UCSB and a few years later she spent a semester abroad in Paris, France.

Nicole’s work is increasingly sought after by collectors and has appeared on the cover and within the Sundance catalog as a popular sales item. Her aptitude with numbers compliments the business of marketing and making a living from art. Combining her left and right brain talents has made Nicole Strasburg a very successful living artist.

II. SGTV Video

"Air, Earth, Fire, Water"
Produced and Narrated by Susan Bush

In her 2009 exhibition at Sullivan Goss, contemporary painter Nicole Strasburg pushed her Tonalist palette to express the natural world in terms of the ancient primary elements.

II. An Analysis of the Artist's Work

Nicole Strasburg’s paintings depict a reverence for nature. They are studied and focused showing how the artist spent time in meditation of a particular scene or environment. Nicole’s paintings pay homage to land, sea, and sky and share the moment of reverie she experienced in nature. While her work is not a direct translation of what she visually witnessed, it is a record of her inner world and how it was touched by a particular pairing of sea and sky or changing light on a grass covered mountain. An avid swimmer, Nicole’s close relationship to and understanding of water combines with her artistic vision to create intimate portraits of water’s ever-changing look.

The environments that Nicole records can evolve into abstract shapes, colors and brushstrokes. It is the paring down and minimalizing of shapes that give her images a contemporary look and not that of a traditional landscape artist. She describes her own work as “…impressionistic with a contemporary edge.”.Nicole has a unique technique for painting and materials:

I choose to work on birch panels because they are easily manipulated by wiping, sanding, scraping, and drawing. My process of building the image becomes as much about putting on the paint as it is removing it. This process creates depth and movement between the layers of paint while keeping the surface of the painting relatively smooth.

The process of applying the paint and then removing it echoes the ebb and flow of the ocean tides evident in so many of Nicole’s paintings. Also evident is the precision and exactness of Nicole’s mathematical mind that is beautifully tempered by intuition and an emotional sensitivity to her surrounding environment.


  • 2001 Atelier Richard Tullis, Printmaking
  • 2000 College of Santa Fe, Printmaking
  • 1991 Santa Barbara City College Study Abroad Arts Program from France
  • 1988 UC at Santa Barbara, B.A. in Drawing & Painting, with Honors & Distinction in the Major
  • 1988 Abrams Prize

  • KONA 01
    8" x 8"
    oil on birch panel
    Private Collection

    The artist's trip to Hawaii proved very fruitful for the artist. The striated landscape of the volcanically formed islands proved to be a perfect match for the artist's unique approach to composition and paint application. Her palette, too, brightened in the unique atmosphere of the Aloha state. The strong horizontal bands of color in this work recall the Berkley series by Richard Diebenkorn.


  • 2001 Los Angeles Printmakers Association
  • 2001 Santa Barbara Printmakers Association
  • 1991 Fellowship International Study Abroad
  • 1988 Presidents Undergraduate Fellowship, UC at Santa Barbara

  • Craig Krull, Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
  • Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce, Santa Barbara, CA
  • Jackson Browne, Santa Barbara, CA
  • Bejo Seeds, Oceano, CA
  • Ontario Surgery Center, Ontario, CA
  • Dr. & Mrs. Larry Sherman, Camarillo, CA
  • Dr. & Mrs. Myron Bloom, New York, NY
  • Lucinda Walker, Paramount Pictures, Los Angeles, CA
  • Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Murphy, Santa Monica, CA

    24" x 48"
    oil on birch panel
    Exhibited: 40+40@40, Sullivan Goss, 2006

    One of the central coast's most overlooked icons is rendered with subtlty and power. The subdued palette cannot fully quiet the awesome crash of the wave in the center of the painting. The geometric patterns seen in the pilings are typical of the artist's approach to architectural painting.


    Solo Shows

  • 2016 "Nicole Strasburg: 50/50", Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2013 "Nicole Strasburg: New Terrain", Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2011 "Nicole Strasburg: Islands, Valleys, Home", Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2009 "Nicole Strasburg: Air, Earth, Fire, Water", Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2007 "Nicole Strasburg: Tidal Change", Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2006 "40+40@40", Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2004 Individual Artist Award Show, recipient for printmaking by Santa Barbara Arts Fund, Arts Fund Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2004 "Pacific", Sullivan Goss – An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2003, 2002 Lisa Coscino Gallery, Monterey, CA
  • 2002 Art in the Vault, online gallery
  • 2001 Atelier Richard Tullis, Santa Barbara, CA
  • Group Exhibitions (selected list):

  • 2004 Atelier Richard Tullis, 20-Year Retrospective Exhibition, University Art Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2004 Cover & featured artist, Sundance summer catalog
  • 2004 Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Art Rental & Sales Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
  • 2004 11th Annual Santa Barbara Printmakers Competition, Second Prize, Juror Tobey Moss of Tobey Moss Gallery
  • 2003 Sullivan Goss, Ltd., Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2002 "Women Beyond Borders", University Art Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2002 Second City Council, Long Beach, CA (Juried)
  • 2002 Los Angeles Printmaking Society, Old Town Gallery, Tustin, CA
  • 2002, 2001, 2000 Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2001 Bloomingdale Park Museum, Bloomingdale, Illinois
  • 2001 Sausalito Art Festival, Sausalito, CA
  • 2001 Connecticut Graphic Arts Center (print exhibit)
  • 2001 Santa Barbara Printmakers Association (First Prize)
  • 2001 Hansen Howard Gallery, Ashland, OR
  • 2001, 2000 Lisa Coscino Gallery, Monterey, CA
  • 2000 CA Collector’s Gallery, Kentfield, CA
  • 2000 Santa Barbara City College, CA ( Juried)
  • 2000 Le Merridien, Beverly Hills, CA
  • 2000 Terrain, San Francisco, CA
  • 2000 College of Creative Studies, UC at Santa Barbara, CA

  • Previous | Next
    Across the Channel
    Coastal Fog
    Coral Sands
    Dream of Rain
    East End, Santa Cruz
    Fishing Lessons
    From the Depths
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