MARCH 1 – JUNE 1, 2018

The Jansen Art Center is pleased to welcome Ferndale artist Nick Payne to the Fine Arts Gallery for a solo exhibit featuring new work including pieces from his Color Personified series. Nature’s Tender Majesty – Color and Form,  opens with a reception from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM on Thursday, March 1 with live music in the Piano Lounge with jazz pianist Scot Ranney.


This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me —
The simple news that Nature told,
With tender majesty.

Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me!

~Emily Dickinson

In our busy lives, with many of our hours devoted to processing data on computer and phone screens, we often overlook the importance of our relationship with nature. Emily Dickinson’s poem is an ideal statement for this exhibit of paintings, which express my pleasure in the colors and forms of nature. ~Nick Payne


Many painters have a sensitivity to color because color is one of the two fundamental elements in constructing a painting. The other is form. Science informs us that color and everything else is vibrating energy. What if the energy our eyes and brains interpret as color took physical form, appearing human or near-human? To my eyes, color often seems feminine, though not always. Some colors might take form as a young person. Other colors might be better represented by an older person. A few colors might be non-humane – elf-like, for example, which is how I imagine the color yellow. Some colors feel hot, while others feel cool. Certain colors are sensual and alluring. Some colors seem more spiritual, such as indigo.

White is a special color. It is achromatic (without hue). White light, as in an aura, is seen as white when the incoming light to our eye stimulates all three types of color sensitive cone cells in the eye in roughly equal amounts.  If we take a color wheel with equal amounts of the primary colors of red, yellow, and blue, and spin it rapidly, we see white. In our culture, white represents purity and goodness.

I’ve given gold and silver human form, also. Iconographers have used gold in their work for centuries. It’s reserved for Christ and for the halos of saints. Gold symbolizes the eternal, uncreated light of God. The meaning of silver varies depending on religion, country, and culture. In our country, silver suggests wealth, and the sleek and modern.


Throughout his career in education, Nick Payne’s parallel career has been painting as a professional artist. No longer teaching, he currently paints and frames at Birdseye Art Studio in Ferndale, Washington.

Click on the images above to see the full-sized images with titles and descriptions. 

nick payne