Charlotte knew from a very early age, that she would be an artist. Her earliest influence was her Grandfather Nickel, as he taught her to draw at the kitchen table when she was a child. His daughter, Mary Nickel, attended the Chicago Art Institute in the early ’30s. There was an art background in the bloodline when Charlotte realized her destiny.
She received a BFA in Art from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas in 1977. After graduating, she moved to Chicago and wound up working as a printer in a color photo lab. Even then, she was beginning to develop her abstract paintings. She had always been drawn to the Abstract Expressionists of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. After returning to Kansas in 1982, she considered doing graduate work at Emporia State University. One day, upon happening into King Hall at ESU, her eyes lit on a painting hanging in the gallery. She was enraptured with the work. The piece was by Richard Slimon, who turned out to be her greatest influence. His method of teaching often included exposure to artists of the distant past up to new cutting edge painters, and everything in between. It was an immersion in painting that she had longed for. She knew, even more than before, that her life as an artist was her true north.
Charlotte has painted for 45 years and has had numerous one-woman exhibits. She directed the Art Department at Fresno Pacific University for a number of years, and also taught at Fresno City College and Kings River Community College, in California. Numerous individuals own her paintings, many on the West Coast and in the Mid West. Some of her work is also overseas. In 2010, Starbucks Design Team (Chicago)commissioned her to do 6 paintings for the Starbucks store in Emporia, Kansas.
Charlotte lives in a light-filled studio in Emporia, Kansas. Her work is now mostly abstract and comes from the spiritual place where she is free to develop bright hope-filled fields of color with elaborate, fanciful brush strokes. She is particularly interested in the “handwriting” of painting, through the marks that make up the whole. The marks and brushstrokes in and of themselves, are the language of her art. There is also an ineffable and elusive quality to her paintings that defies logic. She often, if not always, discovers and “happens on” to a painting, in spite of her own efforts, and realizes there is a force outside of herself that is completing the work. It is this rare experience, that keeps her totally committed to painting. “It’s all I really want to do, to dwell there in the Sanctuary,” she says.