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Nicola Prinsen, a Saltspring Island artist, has been sculpting for over 15 years. She first studied ceramics, then figurative and portrait sculpture. For the past five years, Nicola’s subject matter has been based on her surroundings, the island on which she lives. Forests, rural agriculture, the ocean, and the animals that live in this setting are Nicola’s focus. From otters to cows, crows to goats, in clay or bronze, Nicola explores the forms of these animals and undertakes a process of refinement by way of detailed studies and accurate depictions. Pushing the boundaries with these forms through distortion and exaggeration are part of Nicola’s creative process. The end result is a fusion of personality and simplicity. One cow will stand with a look, a shape or an angle that seems precarious and impossible. Another is rendered accurately, showing the skill of the artist. Nicola’s goal is to simplify the form but never leave any doubt as to the identity of the particular animal. There is tension and serenity in this approach. It is veiled in humour, yet the longer one looks the more one realizes that the artist herself is serious.