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 dream symbols as inspiration. Her current project explores dream interpretation through illustration, and will be available through Workman Publishing in Spring 2021.

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

-- Eleanor Roosevelt

Become an arts patron today! Click here to help support the publication of The Dream Diary Project, a bedside journal to help dreamers unlock their hidden potential. Patrons receive exclusive behind-the-scenes looks, original content, and personalized dream interpretations.

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A Perfect Pair

Believe it or not, I’m still obsessed with dreams. And, I love hearing yours!

My friend M texted me the other day saying that in her dream, she and I were in her backyard where she kept trying to convince me that every pear growing in her back yard’s pear tree was perfect. Apparently I didn’t believe her until I bit into a perfectly ripe and wonderful pear.

Now remember, dream interpretation is a personal and unique process. One size does not fit all. But, we do share common themes, archetypes and history. My favorite part of helping someone discover the message behind their dreams is through word play.

A perfect pear.

A perfect PAIR.

Who or what is M matched up with to make her feel wonderfully sweet and proud of her growth? A partner? A new job? It’s a lot to think about!

Over the last few months, I too have had dreams about fruit. The first one started when I woke up with the phrase “crystallized lemons on a stationary train.” I couldn’t shake it. It’s absurdist and meaningless, but it gave me the urge to paint lemons in my art journal.

I recently bought a pan of ‘jelly gouache’ that I was so excited to try. This was a perfect opportunity.

Look at these cuties! I could almost eat them. (And with my pica-like cravings, it took quite a bit of will power NOT to dip my finger in…)

{You can purchase here: HIMI Gouache Paint Set 18 Colors}

With dreams, there’s an endless well of inspiration. Painting one page of fruit inspired me to keep going. After an afternoon of blueberry picking, I made this one:

And went on to do strawberries and now the pears. If I have time, I’d love to attempt these in Procreate and make patterns for wrapping paper and fabric. Ah, if only I had enough time…

How do your dreams speak to you? Are you willing to share them? If so, I have a form where you can input your dreams, anonymously.

Dream Chatter” – share your dreams here! I’ll gather common symbols and thoughts, and send them out in an irregular newsletter. I can’t wait to see what ‘sweet’ dreams you have!

{This blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com}

21 Questions

Meme origin unknown. I saw this posted on a friend’s Facebook page and about joined Yoda.
  • Where is Lafayette buried?
  • How did the Obelisk of Luxor get to Paris?
  • What’s a Virgo?
  • How much money will mama get from her book?
  • What number is the Roman Numeral VI?
  • What sodas do they serve in Paris cafes?
  • When was the Great Wall of China built?
  • Does France have phone booths?
  • What is today’s date?
  • When did Thomas Jefferson die?
  • What do you mean?
  • When is Easter 2021?
  • When is the next full moon?
  • What is a bucket hat?
  • What are phone cards?
  • What is the Bill of Rights?
  • Can fog go through walls?
  • Is the first person you see in a movie the main character?
  • Why do my legs looks so big?
  • When will Coronoa Virus go away?
  • Why are you crying, mama?

Spending two thousand years at home with an 8-year old and 10-year old has meant…a lot of questions. As we navigate this new world where my children won’t be in school (with someone trained to be patient and answer questions) for seven hours a day, I need some extra guidance on how to educate with grace and patience. Because my response to almost every question is: I don’t know, look it up. Leave me alone, I’m busy*.

Our dining room wall.

A friend who homeschools her children recommended reading “The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and Life” for an extra perspective and I was smitten!

As a parent considering 100% homeschooling (as in, leave our wonderful public school system until we can safely go back), I loved this book. It is encouraging and cozy, and full of ideas on how to create a house full of magic and enthusiasm for learning. One idea is that any time a child asks a question, have them (or you) write it down on a note and tack it to a high-traffic area in your house. Later in the week, like at dinner, find ways to figure out the answers to a few.

Brilliant!

Because who honestly has time to answer the 500 questions per minute hurled at a working parent?

And of course, if you’re going to put sticky notes all over your walls…they gotta be cute, right? Here are a few swoon-worthy ones:

Parents and caregivers: What is your life looking like with school on the horizon? It takes a village, and we’re in this together, whichever option we decide is the best for our family. Over the next few months, I’ll be adding some kid-approved books and resources that have gotten us through the week. Let me know what you’re enjoying, too!

*book update: I’ve seen the cover draft! I’m meeting with my publicity team! The edits are in, and I’m awaiting copy edits and final revisions! Release date is July 20, 2021. Mark your calendar, I’m throwing a party.

The blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com.

Contemporary Color Studies and Learning to Be a Good Author

Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours & Before & After the Book Deal

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book in one (or two) sittings. Sure, the number of pages in Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours is small, but “Before & After the Book Deal” is more hefty in size at 365 pages. Still! Both are beyond inspiring and page turners.

Deciding what color my boxed Rosé wine color is…

Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours is a recent gift from my boss, that she picked up at the beyond wonderful indie bookstore Pagination. (All you have to do is give them a call, tell them how much you want to spend, and they’ll curate a surprise package of books for you!)

This tiny book is beyond inspiring! In the 1800s, a minerologist and helped compile these swatches of colors for botanists, scientists and artists to use to help describe the natural world (in a time before color photographs especially).

With our current access to seeing colors in all media, it feels slightly outdated as a catalogue, but so fresh and new at the same time. And pure poetry! “Wine Yellow” is a descriptor of the body of a silk moth, white currants, and saxon topaz. “Pistachio Green” is the neck of an Eider Drake, a ripe round pear, and crysolite.

I decided to do my own color coordinating. The juicy pink of my Black Box Rosé wine looks to be compared closely with “Aurora Red”, as seen in the vent converts of a Pied Wood-Packer, red on the naked apple, and in the mineral Red Orpiment.

Photo by khloe arledge on Unsplash

Poetry! This tiny book and big concept has inspired me to start naming my own colors and creating a contemporary guide. Add that to the list of projects for later. Because right now…

I’m finishing a book!

The manuscript for “The Magic of Dreams” is due to my editor on May 1st, with the 150+ illustrations due on May 15th. I have a lot to do, but took two nights off to finish “Before and After the Book Deal” by Courtney Maum.

Wherever you are in your creative writing process, I can’t recommend reading this book enough. It’s the Dream Big power tool you’ll want in your toolbox. Maum writes as if you already have a bigtime book in the works, and cheers you on the entire way, even through the scary parts.

I wanted to share my copy with the members of my writing group, but I’ve highlighted and dog-eared so many pages that I think they’ll all just get a copy for Nibsmas (our gift-giving holiday).

The best parts of the book are because she allows you to think and dream big. Book tours! Nonstop email requests for writing blurbs for other people’s books. Speaking at conferences! At the same time, she acknowleddges that this is very rare for most authors, and cheers you on for the mere fact that you WROTE A FREAKING BOOK. It’s not an easy process, one filled with literal blood, sweat, and tears. So that whether you launch at an indie press with five friends, or a Big Five publisher with loads of publicity, it’s all a huge achievement and worth celebrating!

Once the whirlwind of edits are finished, and in the month leading up to launch day (July 2021), I can’t wait to revisit this! It’s making me feel like a smarter and savvier author-to-be.

What books have kept you up at night and inspired you to think bigger? I’m all ears!

Art is Essential

My entire life has been devoted to supporting and promoting the arts. This month, I am humbly asking you to help my efforts!

As we navigate uncharted territory, and talk about what is essential and not, the arts are being dismissed. In Congress, Republicans scoffed that the Democrats sought financial support for the National Endowment for the Arts and The Kennedy Center. Here’s some facts about why supporting these arts education organizations are crucial:

  • Students with high arts participation and low socioeconomic status have a 4 percent dropout rate—five times lower than their low socioeconomic status peers.
  • Low-income students who are highly engaged in the arts are twice as likely to graduate college as their peers with no arts education.
  • 72 percent of business leaders say that creativity is the number one skill they are seeking when hiring. (facts via Americans for the Arts)

Having access to the arts is VITAL AND ESSENTIAL for our children, especially those in under-represented situations. As the parents of these kiddos lose their jobs from the fallout of this virus, it’s more important than ever that the arts are integrated into schools, daycares, child centers, libraries and more. It ensures creative thinking, academic success, and more likelihood to finish school and become hire-able.

How do you do that?

BY SUPPORTING AND ADVOCATING FOR THE ARTS.

Whether it’s buying a ticket to a show, going to an art museum, or reading a book about Frida Kahlo to your kids, SUPPORT THE ARTS. Local arts organizations work at a community level to provide opportunities for all. Whether its free admission to a symphony, theatre outreach from a local troupe, or teaching artists visiting schools, they can’t do this work without funding at the organizational level.

I work for the Springfield Regional Arts Council. It’s a non-profit dedicated to the promotion and advocacy of the arts in the region. We did a survey a few years ago that showed that the arts in Springfield bring in 29 million dollars in revenue. We provide multiple free arts education opportunities to the at-risk kiddos mentioned above (it usually costs us about $40,000 at the bare minimum). We give artists exhibition opportunities and have sold over $32,000 in their artwork. We help offset THOUSANDS of dollars of operating costs for various arts organizations, including The Springfield Ballet, The Springfield Regional Opera, The Springfield Little Theatre, and The Springfield Symphony Orchestra, plus Springfield Sculpture Walk, Any Given Child Springfield, and the Men’s Chorus of the Ozarks. That’s the short list.

This month has been stressful. We’re all seeing the belt tighten and the uncertainty of what the future holds. As we stay locked up in our houses, everyone is talking about supporting essential business like restaurants. I’m begging you, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE donate to one of the arts organizations below. $5 is amazing! $50 is better. $500 would make an impact! Without financial support RIGHT NOW, they will not be there when we get to finally leave our houses. Think about what you’ll miss on a personal level:

  • going to the movies (because who is supporting the creative writers, actors, filmmakers during this?)
  • seeing a musical that your child is in (who’s making the costumes? Where are the sets being built? Who is thinking up lighting and sound?)
  • strolling through downtown looking at public free art (it’s made free to you because arts organizations PAY ARTISTS to show you the work)
  • attend your favorite arts festival, like Artsfest on Walnut
  • get lost in a symphony or opera or concert performance (the performers won’t have time to practice if they have to get extra jobs to make ends meet!)
  • look at a new exhibit featuring art by your emerging artist friend (galleries will shut down)

It may not seem essential right now, because we are all worried about our health, food scarcity, and access to our basic needs. But trust me, when those needs are met, you’ll be wanting more. And the arts organizations can give that to you! Please consider supporting today, and sharing this urgent message!

DONATE TODAY to these non-profits:

Let me know if you help support any of the above. I’ll brag about you, shout from the rooftops, and mail you an SRAC sticker that you can use to show you support the arts!

Yours in creating,

Nicole

Cyanotype Love

Featured Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

A few years ago I bought some sun print paper (aka cyanotype paper) to work on a collage idea. Have you ever used official paper, or have you been like me, and let construction paper get bleached by the sun? Either way, I used it for its purpose, tucked the packet of paper away, and really forgot about it.

Until this month! In early January, I went through all of my art books and picked out 12 small projects I could do in my art journal throughout the year. One was pulling out the cyanotype paper and making another collage. I laid out some eucalyptus leaves, let the paper do its magic, and then painted over it. My tendency is to go more-is-more, so you can barely tell the initial inspiration:

With the paper out and ready to play, my head is exploding with ideas for new projects! I want to learn more! I’ve added a few books to my wish list:

The Bluest of Blues: Anna Atkins and the First Book of Photographs

Sun Gardens: Cyanotypes by Anna Atkins

And during this January exploration of sun prints, I’ve also been reading Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout, which is filled with STUNNING artwork. The author uses cyanotype, but because of her technical skill, I didn’t realize what I was looking at until I finished reading the book and its notes in the back.

Even cooler…this book LITERALLY GLOWS.

I do not have 1/100,000th of the skill set that Lauren Redniss has, but it definitely inspired me to try a few new things with the cyanotype paper. I used ink and colored pencil, plus the sun imprint, and rubbed as much off as I could. I’m so eager to try more with this, and figure out how to take this process to the next level!

Do you have any process or skill you are itching to try? What are some go-to resources to help you succeed?

{This post contains Amazon Affiliate links that I could earn income from.}

Recent posts

  • A Perfect Pair

  • 21 Questions

  • Contemporary Color Studies and Learning to Be a Good Author

  • Art is Essential

  • Cyanotype Love

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