Articles about George Nick


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As a teacher, Dickinson was unassuming and open-minded. He offered no "answers" to his students. Nick liked his teacher's practical and intuitive approach. Dickinson's teaching was like his paintings: restrained and sensitive and spare. I once asked Nick if he ever went painting with Dickinson. "No. No. He wasn't like that, you know. He was too private."

Dickinson taught through understatement. "Mixing colors," he would say to his students with deceptive simplicity, "is very serious, and important." Or he would teach them to see by having them draw a single contour edge "perfectly." Dickinson's premier coup art—his broadly painted, one-sitting landscapes "of little corners of nature"—made a profound impression on Nick.

Nick spent the first fifteen years of his career learning what he believed were the skills and ways of thinking necessary to become a painter. By 1964, fifteen years after beginning in Cleveland, five years after leaving Dickinson, and one year after Yale (where Nick took his B.F.A. and M.F.A.) he was finding his voice as a painter and was feeling confident about it. At Yale, Nick cut classes to go outside and paint. There, as elsewhere in the early sixties, a prevalent bias in favor of abstraction pervaded school life, and Nick found himself viewed as an antique. But he did not withdraw. In his last act as a student, he walked into his final graduate critique, just as he had walked into Yale three years before, with paper bags filled with small one-sitting paintings-mostly still lifes and landscapes. One hundred and nineteen of them! There was to be no question as to how Nick had been spending his days.

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