My grandmothers both painted. Granny Smith worked weekdays at the post office 100 yards down the railroad tracks from her house in Elon, NC. She painted rustic murals on the bedroom wall of the house her father built in 1888. Her canvas paintings were humble nature things: a water-powered sawmill, a mossy pond. She had a thick drawl and was the only person to continue to call me “Kenny”into adulthood. Gransi Nichols lived her adult years on a sprawling estate called Val D’or situated in the lowlands beneath Surgarloaf Mountain, in Frederick, Maryland. Her parents were French as could be. Her father was an Olympic fencing coach, her mother taught French to the president's children. Her upbringing was steeped in culture. She went to Cornell and married a brilliant West Point cadet (later 4 star general). She arranged and painted flowers, though what she really loved were paintings of people. At 7 or 8 I remember her explaining to me the impossible anatomy of a Picasso figure. And at 20 she took me to London and Paris for the full museum tour. So this is why I paint. And why I paint what I paint.
Ken Nichols - Columbia, Missouri 2022