Nicola Prinsen

Bronze sculpture | Biography | Archive of sold work
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SOLD OUT ``Everything is Broken,`` by Nicola Prinsen 21`` (L) x 14 1/2`` (H) - bronze $4000
Nicola Prinsen Archive
sold out pieces

Nicola Prinsen artist with calfNICOLA 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.

Shows at White Rock Gallery:

Oct 2006: From Brush to Bronze (major group show)
Nov 2004: solo weekend show


1979-1983 Ceramic Department, University of Alberta
1995 Estruscan Hand Building – Zeljko Kujundzic Northern School of the Arts
1996 Casting, Clay Relief – Santo Mignosa
1997 Sculpture Figurative – Bill Porteous

Vancouver Academy of Art – Mold Making – Vernon Gemmell-Smith
1999 Photo images on clay – Mechosin International Summer School – Andrew Wong
2000 Portrait Sculpture – Morag McLean – Vancouver Academy of Art


1995 Delta Arts Council – Exhibition by Gallery Artists
‘Identity 95’ Delta, B.C. Regional Juried Exhibit
1996 ‘Identity 96’ – Regional Juried show
‘Arts 96’ – Surrey Art Gallery
‘From Earth to Water’ – The Port Moody Arts Centre
Wayne Sayer Clayworks Gallery
Exhibition by Gallery Artists – Raymond Chow Lithograph Ltd.
West Coast Clay Sculpture Association, Art Resource Centre – Shadbolt Centre Burnaby, B.C.
1997 Art and Business Tsawwassen, B.C.
‘Identity 97’ Richmond Art Gallery
Port Moody Arts Centre
Delta Municipal Hall – Delta Art Council
1998 Delta Municipal Hall – Regional Art Show
Art in the Garden – Tsawwassen, B.C.
British Columbia Institute of Technology Downtown Campus
1999 British Columbia Institute of Technology Downtown Campus
East Side Cultural Crawl – 1000 Parker
Morgan Dawne Gallery – North Vancouver
Group show Vancouver Academy of Art
Commission – Tile for heritage home B.C. Parks and Recreation- Delta B.C.
2000 Peace Arch Park International Sculpture Exhibit, Awarded “Peoples Favorite”
Art in the Country – Ladner, B.C.
Morgan Dawne Gallery – North Vancouver

Nicola’s work can be found in private collections across Canada and the USA, Germany, Holland and Grand Cayman Islands.


Arabella Magazine – Summer 2016

About the September Sunflowers

I started these sculptures during the summer of 2005. I planted over one hundred sunflowers outside my studio in early May. From inside I watched them grow from infancy to maturity. They grew tall, swaying together in the wind, like groups of people, faces upturned following the sun across the sky. As summer changed to early fall, heads began to bow down. Leaves, tired and torn, began to droop. In the September light their silhouettes cast long moving shadows across the ground.

These images stayed in my head. I simply had to try to sculpt these people standing outside my window. I guess inside I wanted them to stay longer. It was sad to see them go.

Each sunflower sculpture is unique. The heads, leaves, stems and bases were all cast from wax originals, sculpted and poured by the artist. Each wax piece was dipped at a foundry to form a shell that the bronze would be poured into. The wax was burned out before the bronze was poured; it is called a “lost wax” process for that reason. After the bronze cooled the shells were broken off, and the individual pieces were then sandblasted and ground to remove the remaining shell from the bronze surface. The stems were poured in bronze in approximately 16-inch sections, which were welded together. A stainless steel rod was inserted at each weld site for added strength. Next, the stems were mounted to the bases. The flower heads were selected and welded to the stem of each plant. For this project, over 250 leaves were poured in wax, each one distorted and bent by hand. Each leaf was poured in bronze and then ground and sanded in preparation to be welded onto a stem. The leaves were sorted for size and shape, selected by the artist for their placement on the sunflower stems. After the sunflowers were completely assembled, the foundry completed the welding, sanding and grinding to finish the surface. Each sculpture was then sandblasted to prepare the bronze surfaces for the patination process (the colouring of the bronze). Each sculpture was heated with a torch and chemicals were either brushed or sprayed onto the hot bronze. When the desired colour was achieved, the bronze was allowed to cool. A paste wax was applied to seal and protect the surface.

Bronze casting is very labour intensive. The process for one sculpture can take up to two months or longer depending on the size of the piece from start to finish.

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