Artist Spotlight: Thangka painter Nicola Mountney

Today I’m back with a second Artfinder feature showcasing the exquisite paintings of Tuscany-based artist, Nicola Mountney.  Nicola is an expert in Thangka painting, which is Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton or silk appliqué. She took a rare opportunity to train under a Western Thangka Master and has developed a very special style of painting.  I especially enjoy the depiction of water in Nicola’s paintings, which is really quite stunning and serene.  I recently had the opportunity to interview Nicola and learn more about her unique artform.  I am pleased to bring you art expert Nicola Mountney for today’s Artist Spotlight feature. 
Whirlpool & Crashing Waves, Nicola Mountney 2014, Gouache & egg tempera on cotton 

Nicola shares about her experience learning Thangka painting…

There are many strict rules and  little artistic freedom in thangka painting.  The drawing side of it is very technical and it takes many years to become accomplished.  I spent hundreds of hours learning to shade using very particular techniques.  You learn to train the eye to spot every single error in your work by repetitive line drawings and paintings.  It’s not for everyone, but it meant a great deal to me.
Dancing Cranes, Nicola Mountney 2014, Gouache painting

Nicola shares some of her recent works…

Below are two of my most recent paintings.  I’m particularly pleased with the detail on the tigers and the luminosity and smoothness of the landscape in the crane painting. 
The palette I use creates a peaceful, spacious atmosphere, and lends itself well to interior design particularly in contemporary settings.  Once I moved away from the strict guidelines of thangka painting, I initially painted in miniature, but now the paintings have become much larger.  I’m planning several triptychs (3-panel paintings) of landscapes and water.  I also plan to use my work as a basis for textiles.
Lounging Tigers 2, Nicola Mountney 2015
Cranes Watching a Waterfall, Nicola Mountney 2015

On developing her own unique technique…

I have studied the landscapes of early thangka paintings, and this became the foundation of my earlier paintings, really as result of practising the painting techniques.  I then found that I wanted to develop my own ideas and techniques and became greatly inspired by the Chinese Landscape style, Shang Shui (literal translation; mountain, water landscape).  The blue and green landscapes, a concept developed in Chinese painting from the Tang Dynasty, I feel gives the paintings a jewel like quality.  Water forms a central theme in my work, meandering streams, whirlpools, rock pools and waterfalls.  I find it interesting how this stylised form of painting water, developed centuries ago looks fresh and contemporary today
Sea Foam Breaking Over Rocks, Nicola Mountney 2014, Gouache on card 

Nicola’s inspiration and the perfect day…

I live in Tuscany, one of the most beautiful places in the world, so, I am never short of inspiration.  A perfect day is sitting at my desk with paintbrush in hand and a cappuccino, listening to Bach whilst I work.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful paintings with Interiors by Jacquin.  We look forward to seeing your artwork in textile form in the future!  That really will be a treat, especially for designers.  To see more of Nicola Mountney’s artwork for purchase, please visit her page on Artfinder.  Nicola’s artwork would be a perfect way to bring a touch of chinoiserie to your home.  


Author: InteriorsbyJacquin