Nicole Chilton

Nicole Chilton is a multi-media abstract artist and writer living in Southwest Missouri. She works quickly and intuitively, capturing emotion rather than reality, and uses vivid color and floral motifs as inspiration. Her current project, The Dream Diary Project, explores dream interpretation through art journaling, and can soon be found in workbook format for all dreamers.

The future belongs to those who believe in the power of their dreams.

-- Eleanor Roosevelt

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Show Your Work

Thanks for stopping by! If you are here because you went to the E-Factory’s “Business of Art” Q&A, welcome.

One of the biggest factors for me gaining confidence as a creative was reading Austin Kleon’s book Show Your Work!


This tiny but powerful book is the best cheerleader you can ask for. Austin Kleon is writer who draws…or is he a drawer who writes? And he gives you 10 amazing ways to get past the self-doubt hurdle we all struggle with.

I get teased a lot because I take pictures of EVERYTHING I work on, in all its phases, whether I’m pleased with its direction or not. I do this for so many reasons, but most of all, it is showing that I’m working and doing, and that it’s a process. I don’t know if I could have gotten the courage to do so without reading this book.

A few books that help me stay focused, empowered, and challenged:

Water Paper Paint: Exploring Creativity with Watercolor and Mixed Media

Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist

No Excuses Art Journaling: Making Time for Creativity

Color Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Exercises for Exploring Color Concepts through Paint, Collage, Paper, and More (Lab Series)


I also mentioned that joining my regional arts council was a great confidence booster. It gave me a safe space to exhibit work, with other artists of all skill and media, and at a very low commitment. Since then, I’ve sold at least three big pieces through them (including one at the Sky Gallery at the airport), and am part of their artist portfolio, in which the Structure Gallery Coordinator works with businesses to outfit their buildings with local and regional artists. Interested? Join here or call me one day at work!

The Business of Art at The E-Factory

If you can make it, swing by the E-Factory on Wednesday, March 14th, at 4pm for “The Business of Art.” I will be on a panel of working artists, talking about the a-ha moments and insights of turning your daily passion into a ‘business.”

Here’s a link to the event: The Business of Art

Tickets are $10 and I believe drinks and snacks will be served!

Flash Sale!

My studio is overflowing with giant pieces of paper that need good homes! The following are each $35, shipping included. Comment or message me ( n dot chilton at gmail dot com) to purchase.


“Crooked” – sumi ink on paper. 18″ x 24″ 2017


“Swift” sumi ink on paper, 18″x24″


“Poison” sumi ink on paper 18″x24″


“What If” sumi ink on paper 9″x12″

More to come!

Women Crushin’…week 4

I’m a bit behind sharing the female artists that I deeply admire. It was a fun project, and transcends into March, seeing as it’s womyn HERstory month. Oh yeah, I went there.

So without further ado…

Feb. 22: Billie Holiday


It’s only been recently that I’ve learned to truly appreciate Holiday’s music. My poor brain can only handle so much these days, and her vocals and lyrics are one of them. She can be soothing, motivating, and sultry, all at once. She has become the background soundtrack of my life, and I am thankful for that.

Feb. 23: Octavia Butler


Have you read Kindred? It was on my to-read list for too long. That, and Parable of the Sower (Earthseed). I had physical copies and gave them away at some point, because I thought, shoot, I’ll never get to this. Well, I did. I finally did, and I want to shout Butler’s brilliance from the rooftops. She was a true trailblazer, a woman of color writing in a male-dominated science fiction world. Her work is just as timely now as it was 30 or 40 years ago, and begs to be read by everyone. Kindred was a wonderful companion piece to Homegoing, if you want to dive into a real-life historical world that is unlike any you think you could imagine.

Feb. 24: Nathalie L’Ete


Ooh la la, j’adore Madame L’Ete. Love isn’t even the best word. OBSESSED might be a better fit. I spend every last penny on her dish collection at Anthropologie, and go to the bookstore to fawn over her newest book In the Garden of My Dreams: The Art of Nathalie Lété.  In fact, a quick search showed me I’m lacking more than just every dish she’s made in my collection. Notecards!! Tea Sets for Kiddos! Throw Pillows! I need to sell more art so I can buy more from her. She is an inspiration, for sure.

Feb. 25: The “Sisters”


{photo by Julie Blackmon}

There are a group of girls in town that I once referred to lovingly as “the Sisters.” I did this because back in my movie theater days, 4 or 5 of them (I think there are 9 siblings total) would come in as a sister date night, get a glass of wine, chat for a bit, and enjoy a movie. I was smitten. Little did I know how much more smitten I would become with them over the years. I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to connect with some of them on a regular basis and they are beyond inspirational. From their sense of style, home decor, and creative endeavors, they are true original voices in a world full of copycats. I’m talking about YOU, Lizzie Rasmussen, Millie Johnson, Sharon Taylor, Rosie Winstead, and Julie Blackmon.

Feb. 26th: Beatrix Potter


Who else could make a cucumber and watercress sandwich sound so delightful? From the earliest of childhood, through today, I am still enamored with Ms. Potter. My sister and I had a book on tape growing up, where a woman who sounded like Vivian Leigh, narrated ALL of the Peter Rabbit stories. It was so magical, and as I share the wonders of her world with my own children, I tend to read the stories in that charming British accent. But not nearly so charming.

Feb. 27th: Meganne Rosen


I am SO PROUD of my friend Megster, for presenting her MFA thesis and final work, at California College of the Arts. Her final piece is over 40 feet long, using her signature process-based style, but experimenting with new media and materials. I wish I could go out there to see it in person! Congrats Meganne!

Feb. 28th: My art teachers

Of course the BIGGEST admiration goes to my favorite art teachers, Bruton, McKelvie, and waaaaay back to elementary school, Ms. Palmer. The encouragement, mentorship, and pushing from these three women linger still today, years and years (not THAT many years) later. Thank you!

Women Artists I Adore: Week 3

Each month this year I will pick a topic of gratitude and get specific. In February, it was women artists that I adore. Women who have made an impact in the arts, who have a story to tell against all odds, and put out breathtaking work of all media. Who are some of your favorites?

Feb. 15: Heather Smith Jones


The book Water Paper Paint: Exploring Creativity with Watercolor and Mixed Mediaby Heather Smith Jones was THE book that gave me confidence to pick up a paint brush, after so many years not holding one. Her work is beautiful, and constantly evolves. I had the pleasure of featuring her in one of my Tapioca Dance newsletters, and hope you can explore more of her work!



Four years ago, I became one fourth of a quartet of writers, in a little group we call The Split Nibs.  The group consists of an emmy-award winning comedy writer, a short story master, and a novelist (and me…a sometimes writer who paints). We gather monthly to help work through problems, both on the page and off, and encourage each other to seek out rejection (both on the page and off). I am grateful for this group!

Feb. 17: JK Rowling


I mean. She’s a Cinderella story if Cinderella didn’t care about meeting and marrying her prince, but instead making millions off her storytelling. My kiddos and I are working our way through the new illustrated Harry Potter books, and it’s magic. Pure. Magic.

Feb. 18: Seraphine Louis 


I have only recently become aware of the colorful world of Seraphine Louis, a French painter in the early 1900s. Her style and story speaks to me, and I’m grabbing everything I can to find more about her work.

I have yet to see it, but a few years ago the movie “Seraphine” came out about her life. Adding to my list of things to one day watch…

Feb. 19th: Fiona Staples


I had always thought “comic books” and graphic novels were always superhero based, until I was given the series “Y: The Last Man” by Brian K. Vaughn. It opened my eyes to an entirely new genre of art, the best of both reading and watching movies. His books got me hooked, but it’s Fiona Staples’ artwork in Saga that has me staying forever. She set the bar for what could be, and I truly hope SAGA never become a movie, because Staples’ brilliance has captured the magic of both the imagination and the need for visualizing it on paper. A gift!

Feb. 20th: Maira Kalman


Can I just have lunch with you, Maira? Her artistic style is so distinct, yet her subject matter is varied. Some of my favorite books to read to the kids are hers, and some of my favorite books to flip through for inspiration are also hers. Whenever I see a Kalman piece out in the world (usually as a big mural at an Einstein Bagel Co), I squeal with delight as if we were actually friends. Sigh. One day.


What Pete Ate from A to Z


My Favorite Things

Feb. 21: Lisa Congdon


I admire artists who share their work and process so that others can succeed. Everything Lisa creates is open for others. You can see her influence in so many contemporary artists, but her original work is still the most…well, original. If you are in the early stages of an artistic career, I highly recommend subscribing to CreativeBug, and her book “Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist”


Thank you for reading along! I’d love to hear some of the women on your top list!

Recent posts

  • Show Your Work

  • The Business of Art at The E-Factory

  • Flash Sale!

  • Women Crushin’…week 4

  • Women Artists I Adore: Week 3

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Tapioca Dance is an e-newsletter featuring creative movers & shakers, do-ers, and makers, written and curated by Nicole Chilton. Subscribe here for weekly inspiration!