“I see in the human face a whole terrain of possibility. A live sitter’s energy would be too much, so I work almost exclusively from photographs. Whether the photo is of someone I know or a celebrity or even someone no longer on the planet, it is always the same: a dialogue begins, slow, silent until bit by bit a picture emerges, almost as if a channel opens and the person steps forward, allowing me to see some part of them that is real and true. In that way, hopefully, the painting becomes revelation.”
Nicole Jeffords learned the first elements of drawing and composition from her mother, Franyo Schindler, a Berlin-trained artist who fled Hitler Germany in 1938. She was fascinated by her mother’s studio, so Franyo let her come in and stay for long periods of time, so long as she remained absolutely quiet and drew certain objects laid on a table for her. That was the beginning of a very intermittent career.
Nicole took art classes all through college, but ended up writing novels, of which one, Hearts of Glass, about getting sober in AA (Crown, 1992) had success. Just before her mother died in 2005, Nicole vowed to her that she would tell her story. Instead she began to experience a strong sense of her mother pushing her to draw — she would literally hear her voice in her head: “Move that hand!” A seam opened up in her: she knew she wanted to paint portraits, so she spent the next year drawing in preparation for her work in oil portraiture.
Her specialty is portraiture, combining elements that are both classical and expressionistic, dwelling on the natural beauty of the face as well as the subject’s raw emotional energy and psychological patterns that come through as the canvas develops.
In the course of the last 10 years, Nicole has learned that not only can she catch a person’s resemblance and character on canvas, but that she also has an uncanny ability to psychically read a person’s life issues, struggles and patterns by studying his or her photos. She is eerily accurate when reading photos of people she doesn’t know. She feels that her job as a painter has as much to do with helping clients understand themselves, their goals and aspirations, as it does with the production of high-quality portraiture. She believes it is her life’s work to share these gifts with as many people as possible.
Welcome to ArtProfiler, studio of portrait painter Nicole Jeffords, located in Austin, Texas. Nicole is a fine art painter specializing in portraiture. Her work combines elements that are both classical and expressionistic, dwelling on the natural beauty of the face as well as the subject’s raw emotional energy and psychological patterns that come through as the canvas develops. For Nicole, portraiture is a revelatory process. She works almost exclusively from photographs, saying that a live sitter’s energy would be too much.
Nicole is also a writer, whose novel “Hearts of Glass” about four women recovering from alcoholism, was published in 1992. Her stories and poetry have appeared in various quarterlies over the years. To read the fascinating saga of her family’s flight from Hitler Germany and her unusual upbringing as the daughter of emigre art collectors in New York in the 1960s, check out “The World of Franyo” on the “Stories” page. This series, steeped in an atmosphere of wealth, double-dealing and romance, is a spell-binding must-read, with a new segment every week.