While recovering from surgery, a Lewes woman discovers her artistic side

Proving you are never to old try try new things, Nina Mickelsen discovered her artistic side after 50 while recovering from surgery, and hasn’t look back.

Mickelsen was born in Helsinki, Finland. A job in Washington brought her to the US. “I have an MBA, I have a secondary Ph. D. degree in business administration, and I worked in business all my life,” she said.

She was recovering from surgery when the art bug bit her. It was the first time in her adult life she didn’t have to worry about anything except herself. “I did not have to worry about others or other responsibilities, about work…It gave space in my head to maybe be more sensitive to things about what I was interested in.”

Mickelsen enrolled in art school, which after 50 years old, was an intimidating experience. “The teachers were in their 30’s and the students were in their 20s and there I was 50 plus.” It may have been intimidating, but the experience was also refreshing, to be learning from those talented students who were younger than her own children.

Mickelsen graduated and began her art career. She is a silkscreen artist, “But it doesn’t describe everything that I do. I use silk screening in a very non-traditional manner.”

She gravitated toward silkscreen because of her business background. “Silkscreening is a very disciplined art form and it’s very precise. I went to silk screening because it was comfortable for me.”

Around her studio and gallery are examples of her work. When you hear the term silkscreen you may think t-shirts or posters. Mickelsen’s work is anything but. Beautiful, bright work depicting sea life and sea creatures; dune grass, beach balls and lobster tails are just some of what graces Nina’s work.

“To me the beach is a happy place so I want people to feel the ocean, I want them to hear the bubbles when they dive in water,” Mickelsen said. Beach life isn’t all she does however. On an opposite wall from beach balls and dune grass are these beautiful modern looking pieces.

Using epoxy resin in multiple layers, “I embed paint and silk screening inside epoxy, often three, four, even five layers of epoxy.” All of those layers give these works a real depth and dimension so very different from her other work.

“When I do my resin pieces I just want them to kind of be sucked into that liquid sense of uncontrolled color.”

The journey through art has been one of self-discovery, not just creative freedom. “The journey has been absolutely fascinating and it has taught me things about myself that I had no idea about.” Mickelsen said her work is a form of meditation that it connects her “to something that is beyond your self.”

She also believes everyone has that spark of creativity in them. Sometimes people come into her studio and after viewing her work and confess that they cannot do this themselves. That makes her sad. “I really believe that every person has some of that in them and its just about giving the time.”

“You just need to open the faucet and you see what size the flood gate will open, that’s what happened to me.”

——-

Interested in learning silk screen printing yourself, Nina will be at the Rehoboth Art League on October 19th teaching an intro to silk screen printing class, you can find are information on that and Nina’s other upcoming shows when you visit her on the web.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.