Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Workshops 2009-2010

The following workshops are confirmed. More will be added, check the Workshop page on my site. I know the workshop for PVW in Alexandria is full with a waiting list.


2-day workshop - VisArts - Rockville, Maryland. January 10-11.Contact: Minna Philips 301-315-8200

2-day workshop - Potomac Valley Watercolorists - Alexandria, Virgina. January 23-24.Contact: Marilyn Milici 703-941-4575

Demonstration - York Art Association - York, Pennsylvania. March 29.Contact: YAA 717-755-0028

3-day workshop - The Cape Artists - Lewes, Delaware. April 8-10.Contact: Sonia Hunt 302-644-2973

4-day workshop - The Center For Wooden Boats - Seattle, Washington. April 20-23.Contact: Mareth Warren 206-382-2628

3-day workshop - VisArts - Rockville, Maryland. June 3-5.Contact: Minna Philips 301-315-8200

2-day workshop - Plaza Art - Rockville, Maryland. August 29-30. Contact: 301-770-0500


4-day workshop (6-day event) - Kanuga Watercolor/Watermedia Workshops - Hendersonville, North Carolina. April 11-16.Contact: Robbie Laird 530-259-2100

4-day workshop - Art Escapes Vancouver - Granville Island, Vancouver, British Columbia. April 20-23. Contact: Jamie Kelley 604-730-2776

4-day workshop - Sandy Maudlin/Greentree Studio - Lawrenceburg, Indiana. August 6-9.Contact: Sandy Maudlin 812-539-4505

4-day workshop - California Watercolor Association - Concord, California. October 18-21.Contact: Karen Powers 510-502-6211

Friday, December 26, 2008

Getting The Right Shot....

...for a Christmas card can be tough with a 4-year-old. But it's a lot of fun!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

masmoulin s'est jeté à l'eau, celle de l'aquarelle

Thank you to Pierre for the attention on his watercolor blog, whose title (see above) translates roughly to "Masmoulin's dive into watercolor." When you put "Nicholas Simmons, un aquarelliste qui connaît la musique" into Babelfish, you get "Nicholas Simmons, a painter in watercolours who is up to all the tricks" heheheh. (I got a better explanation from Pierre!) He has blogged about many great painters on the watermedia scene, and documents his own watercolor journey. Check out his blog here.

Monday, December 15, 2008

365 Days Later & More Tommy Mania!

I started this blog a year ago today, and have averaged one post every 4.5 days, drawn 22,000+ visits (Sitemeter doesn't count mine) from I don't know how many countries, and evidently have entertained some people enough to warrant returning regularly. Some of the best watermedia painters in the world have looked in, and even commented. Music fans, old colleagues, students and bandmates, workshop attendees, collectors, and the occasional long-lost friend. I was even honored with a post from Bruce - um, 365 days ago! :)

Well, it's all been exciting and a lot of fun, but even more exciting is what's happened with Tommy Bolin over the past 12 months. Johnnie Bolin, Dean Guitars, and I introduced the commemorative "Teaser" guitar at NAMM last January to a spectacular reception (see posts from Dec. 2007 and Jan. 2008), and the new January 2009 issue of Guitar Player magazine has a full page ad for the guitar on page 82, opposite the cover story on David Gilmour - appropriately, in my view, as Pink Floyd's legendary guitarist has been another huge influence on me. The ad utilizes the tag line I came up with, Once In a Million Years, a Shooting Star Returns. We're very pleased that the guitar has nearly sold out, and is already being auctioned on ebay with starting bids at the list price. There may be more Tommy axes from Dean in the future!

But it doesn't stop there! Greg Prato's new book, Touched By Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story, is now available! This is the book so many have been waiting 32 years for, and we are all indebtted to Greg for taking on the project. He interviewed approx. 50 people (including myself), all of whom either knew, played with, or were otherwise connected to Tommy in an important way. I haven't gotten my copy yet, but my nose is glued to the window, waiting for the postman. The book can be ordered here.

As if that weren't enough, Martin Popoff's history of Deep Purple from the years 1968-1976 - the years that matter - is hot off the press. Extraordinary. One might think that the title of the book - if it were to use the title of a Purple song or album - would be something culled from one of the classic, "signature" Purple periods: Shades of Deep Purple, Machine Head, Highway Star, Smoke On the Water, Made in Japan, etc. But no! Mr. Popoff instead used the title of one of the tracks Tommy wrote for Come Taste The Band: Gettin' Tighter !!! I still remember when I heard that song for the first time, and was floored. Tommy had reinvented the wheel, and injected a grinding American bluesiness, funk, and jazz-fusion sensibility into the British supergroup's patented monstrous sound. Popoff didn't stop there. One might expect a picture of perhaps the Mk. II lineup on the cover, or maybe the Lord/Paice/Blackmore core, or, predictably, one of those familiar pics of Ritchie Blackmore. No again! Instead, a never-before-seen photo by Richard Galbraith - from a roll of film thought to be lost forever - showing the one and only Tommy Bolin in a shot that sends chills down the spines of disciples. (the famous jacket can be seen more clearly here, scroll down) How cool is that!! Read more about the book, and order it here.

Since I came up with the idea of the guitar, and got Johnnie together with Elliott Rubinson of Dean Guitars, there has been a snowball effect of Tommy's visibility: a great feature in Classic Rock magazine, the cover of Guitar Player magazine in February 2008, another feature in Guitar Player, June 2008, "10 Things You Gotta Do To Play Like Tommy Bolin" (good luck!), Greg Prato's new book, and Martin Popoff's new book. The Tommy Bolin Archives site and TommyBolin.biz are busier than ever, and the CDs just keep rolling out. The buzz gets louder each day as new generations of music lovers discover the genius of the beautiful kid from Sioux City. Coincidence? I don't think so. :) I used to scrawl "Tommy Bolin Lives!" on the walls of my highschool. It's true.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Zen Board!

The Zen Board is cool! It uses what is known as "magic paper" - you simply paint on it with water, which then turns to a rich black...and completely disappears a minute or two later to a reusable state. Lights and low humidity contributed to faster-than-normal drying/evaporation in this video; however, developing speedy brushwork and thinking is invaluable for location and life painting/drawing. The video is in real time. I used my own music in the background. A big thanks to Princeton Art & Brush Company, whose fine Series 4050 synthetic sable brushes were used. Also thanks to my great friend Debra Halprin, who gave me the Zen Board. (insert hug and kiss emoticon here)

Turn up your speakers!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Watercolor magazine feature - Winter 2009

The new Winter 2009 issue of Watercolor magazine (American Artist publication) has a 14-page feature about my work written by UK artist John A. Parks. It's a great spread, the largest in the magazine - I'm indebtted to John and to the editors! Subscribers are receiving it now, and it will be on the newsstands December 16.

Thanks also to Da Vinci Paint and Creative Catalyst Productions for their full-page ads inside the front cover - I appreciate it!

For obvious reasons I don't want to post high-res pics, but here is the opening paragraph:

Nicholas Simmons paints in watermedia on a scale that rivals oil painting. The subject matter is a dazzling mix of figures juxtaposed with printed lettering, graffiti, Japanese block prints, neon lights, reflections, and lavish corners of nature. The effect can be disorienting, as though a camera has taken a picture by accident, revealing an image that is both exciting and mysterious. The paint itself swirls, floods, drips, and spatters, driven on by the general excitement of the imagery and giving the work a sense that it was done in a rush in a matter of minutes.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

CC in Annapolis

Friday night I went to an opening at the new American Contemporary Gallery in Annapolis where there is a group exhibition that includes Carol Carter. I hurried down there, as Carol and I have missed meeting on a few occasions, and I wasn't going to let that happen again. The gallery is killer, has the proper Soho/Chelsea vibe, and is a perfect venue for large-scale contemporary work.

Carol has some fantastic new watercolors from her swimmer series, and several acrylics that are done in a rawer, opaque, edgier (pun intended) style. I'm already quite familiar with her paintings, but it's always inspiring to see the work of an artist you admire in the flesh. Better, is when you meet the artist in the flesh! I also got to meet her brother Sam - he's for real! :) - and and his lovely gal.

It was a gas to meet the gallery owner/director, John Bodkin, who is also an artist. This guy is totally cool, and a raconteur of the first water who kept me on my toes with stories of encounters with some of the most famous 20th C. American artists. The whole time we spoke, I kept thinking "I know this guy." Lo and behold, I got him to admit that I had indeed seen him on a number of TV shows, commercials, and at least one film (Coma) that I was familiar with. I knew it!!!

I'll be returning to the gallery soon with some friends to check out the exhibit again. Thanks to the gallery, John, Carol, and the other artists for a splendid evening!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Janine Gallizia

Janine Gallizia is an Australian watercolorist living and working in Europe. She is a very successful artist, with a busy schedule of exhibitions and workshops throughout France, Belgium, and beyond. She is also one of the foremost ambassadors (to use Wayne Roberts' term) in this business, organizing events that feature some of the biggest names in contemporary watercolor painting. I am fortunate to have become friends with her, and am indebtted to her for including me in one of these exhibitions.

I gasped when I first saw her work, and she continues to amaze me with her incredibly sensitive and virtuosic handling of the medium. The subject matter ranges from everyday city and cafe scenes, to intimate glimpses of her studio and home, to dream-like visages of Venice - where she captures the atmosphere and mystery like nobody else. I'd post some images here, but I'd have no idea where to start - or end. Go to her website!

Janine's first two books, Lumière & Ambiance en Aquarelle and Rester Simple! are sold out, but her new book and DVD, Spontanéité & émotion…une liberté construite are now available. I have both, and find them absolutely entrancing. (If I ever do a book, this is how I want it to be.) They are written/spoken in French, of which I have a severely limited knowledge, but it doesn't matter - I nonetheless hang on every word, and have spent some time translating text. Most of all, it's the images that matter, and seeing how she wields the brush. I strongly recommend purchasing the book and DVD. If possible, try to get into one of her workshops - I know a few artists who have, and their experience was unforgettable.

So, who loves Janine's work, can't wait to meet and learn from her, thinks she's beautiful, and....speaks a little French???

Moi !

Thursday, November 27, 2008

People, People

Brother, brother, help me please,
I'm as lonely as I can be.
All my friends are scaring me,
But if you forget me then I will leave.
Sister, sister, what can I do?
I'm in love with tootsie too.
Please excuse me if I am low,
But me feelings just have to show.
People, people, hold my hand.
Where in the hell is this promised land?
Float right past me, oh I like your style.
Seek it, seek it, seek it, seek it, you're here for a while.
Mother, mother, so good to me,
Praying just so I can be.
My father, my father, my only one,
I hope you're proud of this your son.
People, people, hold my hand.
Where in the hell is this promised land?
Float right past me, oh I like your style.
Seek it, seek it, seek it, seek it, you're here for a while.
Listen to them play now....

Happy Thanksgiving, Johnnie!
And God bless Tommy, Barb, Rich, and Pudge.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Featured Artist - watercolorpainting.com

If you Google "watercolor" the first thing to come up (after Wikipedia, of course) is Greg Conley's watercolorpainting.com, a large website devoted to all kinds of watercolor-related info, tutorials, demos, product reviews, etc. and one of the largest collection of art links I've seen. The site generously features recognized artists on the homepage. Greg is a fine painter and musician, and has expended a lot of time and effort in creating this valuable resource for artists.

He recently invited me to be the site's Featured Artist for the next couple of months. Thank you, Greg!

Click here and then scroll down to see the Featured Artist section.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Thanks to my masterful painter friend from India, Milind Mulick, for thinking about me. I don't really have the time to play, and there is no way I can choose only seven other people to tag. But, I will reveal the requisite seven little-known facts about myself for a few chuckles....of course, I can't resist throwing a wrench into the works: one of these facts is not true!
Which one?

1. Drove a car 200 mph.
2. Snuck through a Russian border checkpoint without a visa.
3. Did 85 sit-ups in one minute.
4. Flew a Lear jet at 45,000 ft.
5. Told Larry Csonka I've never watched a football game because it's too boring.
6. Laughed uncontrollably at a funeral.
7. Gave guitar lessons to the #1 world-ranked men's and women's tennis players.

Back to our regularly-scheduled programming soon.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Da Vinci Fluid Acrylic - Jerry's

A screenshot from Jerry's Artarama website, with a good explanation of Da Vinci Fluid Acrylic.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

American Art Collector - December 2008

The new December 2008 issue of American Art Collector magazine has an ad for my painting Tokyo Express on page 58. Giclée prints of this painting will soon be available.

Thousands of extra copies of this issue will be given away at RED DOT Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach. If you are in South Florida, don't miss this incredible show representing 220 galleries and over 2000 artists.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

TAM Award

Summer Sonata (detail above) was a finalist in The Artist's Magazine 25th Annual Art Competition in the Landscape/Interior category. See the new December 2008 issue.

Thank You BWS

I just finished a 5-day workshop for Baltimore Watercolor Society that started on Nov. 5, and what a week that was! A great group of people gathered faithfully at the Howard County Center for the Arts everyday at 9:30. There were a number of very good painters and I probably learned as much as they did. The Photoshop demo was quite well received, and I may be doing another workshop for BWS specifically dealing with Photoshop.
*Workshop info for the next couple of years will be posted on my website again soon.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Metheny Music Foundation

The Metheny Music Foundation preserves, promotes, and perpetuates an informed appreciation for all styles of music, honoring the history of the Metheny family through four generations and the rich musical heritage of the city of Lee's Summit, the state of Missouri, and the surrounding region.

A worthy cause promoting good music for future generations, while celebrating a great American musical family.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Website

My website http://www.nicholassimmons.com/ has undergone a complete renovation. The site is designed with the same look as the ads that will be running in American Art Collector. It's still under construction, and probably will be for the next month or so. Workshop information, links, etc. will be sublinked from the main pages. Please visit!

Monday, October 20, 2008

American Art Collector - November 2008

The new issue of American Art Collector magazine has an ad for my painting Sueno del Verde. Giclée prints of this painting are now available. We're scrambling to get my new website up before the November issue hits the stands - the purchase page will have complete information about available originals and prints. Should be only a few more days. In the meantime contact me for details.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tommy Bolin "Teaser" COA

The Tommy Bolin "Teaser" commemorative guitar I designed for Dean Guitars is almost ready to ship. Since NAMM in January, the bodies have been cut and painted, and highly-figured flame maple selected for the necks. The limited edition series is well on its way to being sold out, and there may be more Tommy axes in the future. Above is the Certificate of Authenticity included with each guitar, and will be signed by Tommy's brother, Johnnie Bolin.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pennsylvania Watercolor Society 2008

The 29th Annual PWS show is a very high quality watercolor exhibition. I was fortunate to get the award, because there were tremendous paintings in representational and abstract styles, many of them potential winners in any competition. Other award winners included George James, Denny Bond, Donald Patterson, Ratindra Das, Mel Stabin, and Carole Pickle. Thanks again to PWS, Debi Watson, Gerald Brommer, Jean Uhl Spicer, and the Chester County Art Association. Tokyo Express is on the cover of the catalog.

Friday, October 3, 2008

SCAD - DaVinci

I'm in Savannah, Georgia for SCAD's art trade show. A cool vibe, lots of art students, interesting people, and quite a few vendors. I think most everyone is selling stuff at 50% discount. Tomorrow it will be even busier. Tonight was a party at the Pei Ling Chan Gallery and Garden. I'm demonstrating DaVinci Fluid Acrylic and watercolor....with that sign looming over me, heheh.

Monday, September 29, 2008

PWS Gold Medal

Tokyo Express (originally titled Canton Express) won first prize at the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society 29th Annual International Juried Exhibition. This is a nationally-recognized show with several hundred entries. Gerald Brommer was the selection judge, Jean Uhl Spicer the awards judge. The opening and awards ceremony is October 12 at West Chester Art Association.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

с днем рождения Lara!

Happy #4 to the most beautiful little girl in the world! We love you Larissa!!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Da Vinci in Savannah - workshops

I'll be appearing with Da Vinci Paints at SCAD's second annual Art Material Trade Show in Savannah, October 3-4.

The workshop for Potomac Valley Watercolorists is confirmed for January 23-24.

Other confirmed workshops:

3-day workshop in Lewes, Delaware, April 7-9.

4-day workshop in Seattle, April 21-24.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Nassau #4: Bay St. Girl

Nassau #4: Bay St. Girl - 97cm x 97cm

Another in a series of Nassau paintings. This was painted with Da Vinci watercolors on Fabriano hot press paper.

MCAA Show - Upcoming Workshops

Thanks to the Montgomery County Art Association for inviting me to judge their Labor Day show in Kensington - about 200 paintings and awarded thirty prizes. A lot of really good pieces, and I enjoyed meeting artists from that area.

I'm doing a 2-day workshop for Plaza Art in Rockville, October 18-19. Click here to see the new schedule for information.

5-day workshop for Baltimore Watercolor Society, November 5-9.

I think there will also be a workshop for Potomac Valley Watercolorists in January, not sure of the date yet.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Creative Catalyst - TAM

The new September 2008 issue of The Artist's Magazine is running this Creative Catalyst Productions ad on page 77. There is also an ad from Da Vinci Paint featuring my work using their Fluid Acrylic on page 19.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sueño del Verde

Sueño del Verde - 69 cm x 132 cm

This one uses all of the green watercolors Da Vinci makes, and several I mixed. It's a scene from the woods behind our house.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Thank you Robert Genn...

... for featuring my response to "Of Music and Painting" on the homepage of The Painter's Keys this week. And an even bigger thanks to my great friend out there somewhere, Randy Kentfield, who graced us with his inimitable genius for all too short a time.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Kanevsky, NYC, & Friends

I met with my favorite artist, Alex Kanevsky, in Philadelphia last week. Upon entering the studio at St. Patrick Hall, I was immediately confronted with two large canvasses - a hunting hounds scene, and one of the bathtub images. There was really nothing to say, as the work speaks for itself....and clobbers you with its imaginative and mindbending virtuosity. How often I have been disappointed seeing an artist's work in the flesh, but I have always sensed this is not the case with Alex, and I was right. The texture, brushwork, scale, the color harmony....all of it beyond reproach. And he is an extraordinarily nice guy! He grew up not far from my wife, in Rostov, and it was fun trading stories. I look forward to visiting Alex again, and also to meeting his wife, Hollis Heichemer, a fantastic painter. Thank you so much for your time, Alex, and I stand - even moreso now - in awe of your artistry.

In New York I met an internet friend, Javier Oña, from Cádiz, Spain. Javier bought my painting from the Hispacuarela exhibition that was recently there, and when I heard he was visiting the States, just had to go meet him. Javier is a retired doctor and watercolorist. I rendezvoused with him and his beautiful family at the Whitney museum to see the Hoppers, and we spent much of two days checking out the NYC art scene.

We saw recent work by Joseph Raffael (below) at the Nancy Hoffman Gallery. Also on display were some wonderful pieces by Hung Liu.

My good friend Debra Halprin, a fab watercolor portraitist from D.C. joined us. That was a blast, and she speaks great Spanish!

We went to the J. Cacciola Gallery to check out the Kanevskys they have on hand. Then on to the Franklin Bowles Gallery to see Gottfried Salzmann's work, and also several pieces by another of my current favorites, Zoya Frolova (below).

I spent the next day with Debra and her daughter at Ellis Island, a fascinating place. The ferry ride was a great chance to get some shots of the lower Manhattan skyline.