Text by Claire Peeler | Photography by Madeline Wyatt
Nicole Lamar is a free-spirited mother of four who found her passion for creating at a young age. With her own mom’s encouragement and the drive to pursue her artistic ability, this Oxford artist has shaped her trademark technique as the painter who inspires through her use of vibrant colors and abstract imagery.
Born and raised in Dallas, Lamar moved to Oxford to attend college at Ole Miss and immediately knew Mississippi was her new home. While pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting she discovered her talent did not lie within the confines of classical art, but instead in her use of vivid colors. Referring to her undergraduate classes, Lamar says, “I had to use bright colors to detract from my disproportional work. That was my trick. If I could make the colors fabulous, then they wouldn’t see the flaws.” The colors that originally masked imperfections in her early works eventually became a part of this artist’s signature style.
After college, Lamar worked for Oxford Floral for 19 years. The shop inspired her as she witnessed works of art being created with flowers rather than on canvas. It wasn’t until after she married and had four children that painting became a part of Lamar’s livelihood. She sold her paintings to pay for summer camps and other activities her children were eager to attend. Now she uses her passion for painting as a leisure pursuit instead a way to finance after-school events. She says, “I’m finally at the point where I paint when I want to and not when I have to. I’m enjoying it so much more.”
Lamar describes her acrylic art as bright, abstract and fun, which is a reflection of her own personality. Whether she is creating her trademark heart images on a canvas or experimenting with painting on seedlings in her “Love Stick Series,” the artist’s free-spirit and vivacious personality shine through her work.
According to Lamar, her goal for each of her paintings is to inspire those who view them. She says, “When I am painting something, I always want [it] to inspire something good. There is not one of my paintings that doesn’t make you smile for some reason. And the color contributes to that. I always want my work to brighten up a room, literally and figuratively.”
Though she now paints only when inspiration moves her, Lamar has no plans to retire from her creative efforts. She says, “I’ve had the sweetest responses, and I just cannot give it up. It seems to make a difference in someone’s life at the right time. That’s what keeps me going.” Her eagerness to continue creating means that many more will have the chance to brighten their days through this artist’s vivid work.