Nikki Braun is a watercolor artist who was born and raised in Pennsylvania and currently lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband and 3 kids. She has a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Designer and has spent the last 24 years in this field.
There are two things that Nikki knows for sure, she must create and she must spend time outdoors in nature. Her art is about connecting to nature and the beauty that is all around us. Watercolor is her chosen medium because there is a looseness, flow and uncontrolled nature to watercolor that challenges and captures her creativity.
Carrie: When did you first realize the importance of art in your life
Creating was just something I always did. I have many memories as a child doing creative activities. I learned to sew at nine, I was always coloring, drawing or cutting something. We had great art programs at my school and I took every art class I could.
Then, I want on to be a graphic designer. But in my early 20’s I wasn’t doing much of my own art and I remember thinking I still have to find time for my own work.
Carrie: How would you describe your art?
I would describe my art as simple. I don’t have any great meaning behind my work. It’s not controversial or political. It’s about seeing the simple beauty in the world around us and allowing that beauty to feed our soul.
Carrie: What does your workspace look like?
My work space is an office in the basement of my home. For so many years I painted at the kitchen table, dragging all my stuff out every time I wanted to paint. Finally, I was like, “I need a space.” So, I took over half of my husband’s office.
I love my space. It’s not big but it’s mine and I’m very grateful for it.
Carrie: Can you describe your artistic process to readers? For example, do you follow the same pattern and track when you develop an artwork from idea to product?
Process is something I have really been working on lately. I tend to get an idea and want to jump right in without a clear direction then half way in am lost and get frustrated. I have been trying to spend more time on the front end of the idea before I get to painting. This means I have been doing a lot more sketching and small samples before I get into the final piece.
Carrie: What do you hope viewers take from your artwork?
I hope viewers take from my art that we live in a beautiful world. That simple things can bring joy and comfort. That we are connected deeply to nature, and we just have to take a minute to look, breath and soak it in.
Carrie: What do you wish you knew that you now know about your creative process?
I wish I had known that the creative process is about so much more than just creating a finished product. For too many years I was driven by perfection. Now my creative process is about showing up and doing the work.
When I show up it’s for me, who I am and what I need. I need to create, I need to express myself, I need to vent, heal and capture the joy and peace that I just saw and felt somewhere.
At the end of the day if I have a painting that I’m happy with great, if not I will show up tomorrow and do it all over again because that is who I am.
Carrie: What strategies do you use to help yourself when you feel “stuck?”
I used to have this great fear about being stuck. That somehow I “lost it.” I would never have another idea again. Even though I don’t love it when I’m stuck, now I can say, “it’s OK, go do something else.”
I have also developed a strategy to always be looking for inspiration. I have my camera or at least my phone with me all the time. And I take the time to pull over and take the picture of the thing I just saw. There have been so many times where I have said, “Oh, I wish I would have stopped.” So, now I just do.
Carrie: What has been one hurdle you’ve overcome as a creative and how did you navigate that problem?
I think the biggest hurdle I’ve had to overcome is my own self talk about not being good enough. I would love to say that I have completely slayed that dragon but that is not true. I have gotten better at being kind to myself and changing the tape in my head.
The biggest leap forward came when I asked myself, “what would stop me from creating?” And the answer is nothing. If I never sell anything, if everyone tells me I suck, would I stop? No, I won’t stop painting. I would have a house full of paintings that no one wants but I would still paint because I paint for myself. Don’t get me wrong, I would be crushed but I know the need to create would be stronger.
Carrie: In 2018, you participated in my mastermind program The Circle. What drew you to joining The Circle? What did you learn about yourself and/or your art?
What drew me to The Circle was the community. Making art can be such a solitary thing. I wanted to find my tribe and The Circle was great for that.
As for what I learned there was so much but the first lesson was on failure. That really hit home for me. I always tell my kids, “it’s OK to fail, it’s good to fail.” But for myself I really didn’t believe it. Openly talking about failure and celebrating it was really good for me.
Nature inspires me. I love being outside. Also, I love to travel. Being in new places, see new landscapes make me feel alive!
Carrie: What does the word artist mean to you?
The word artist can be a tricky word filled with so much pressure and expectation that for a long time I wouldn’t call myself an artist. But in the last two or three years I have embraced the word artist and will call myself that.
To me anyone who is a maker is an artist. I don’t make a distinction between craftsman and artist. To me creating something from nothing is art.
Additional Contact Info:
Instagram – @nikkimbraun