The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

May 21, 2014

Artist captures the beauty of people with oil, canvas

WEST HEMLOCK TWP. — Nicole Polanichka has captured on canvas images of a saluting veteran, a girl’s joy and an old car and a barn.

“I find beauty in people, their lives, their feelings and in simple everyday things,” the artist said.

She paints mainly in oils and has done some large works — up to 9 feet in length or height.

Polanichka started sketching as a child and then began painting in acrylics. Her mother, Maryann Polanichka, painted and enrolled her daughter in art lessons in the Scranton area where she grew up.

Since moving to the Danville area six years ago, Polanichka’s subjects include images and of people of the area. An example is “Sunday Drive” depicting an old car and a barn.

She has also painted a saluting veteran titled “Honor.”

“Delight” shows the joy of a young girl. “Discomfort” is her image of a woman.

A trip to the Philippines in 2011 influenced her to paint people and scenes from there. She described the trip as an “incredible experience” which was part of a Rotary professional exchange where she visited hospitals there.

Polanichka is a psychologist at Geisinger Medical Center.

She has painted self-portraits, including “Girl in a Window” and “Girl with a Black Bra.” These were part of a series she did for a college project.

She majored in art and psychology at Princeton University.

“There is so much in the world that moves me that is beautiful. Most of what I do is pretty realistic but I tweak the colors and the composition,” she said.

A big influence in her work is Edward Hopper, an American realistic painter who lived from 1882-1967. “His use of light and shadow to me was like snapshots of life,” she said.

Her current works focus on portraits of faces and the face of emotion.

Combining art and psychology, she likes to place light and contrast and “turn up the colors a notch.”

She has scaled down the size of her works lately, saying it’s not that easy to take pieces up to 9 feet long to shows.

Working in a studio next to her home, she prefers oil “because you can really feel it move around the canvas and play with it because it takes so long to dry.”

Every year since 2005, she has been painting a different scene featuring their cats to be used for their family Christmas card.

She donated a work for a recent benefit for the Danville Arts Council at Old Forge Brewing Co. in Danville. She also donated a painting to benefit the Bloomsburg University LGBTQA Resource Center.

Polanichka, who has been selling her works since college, exhibited some pieces at Danville’s annual Spring Thaw Show and Sale.

She will have paintings on display at a Berwick Hospital show and at the Bloomsburg Fair.

Polanichka will be holding a one-woman show in the fall in Shamokin and another one-woman show at an art gallery in Shamokin next year.

A member of the Danville Arts Council and North Mountain Art League, she also runs and fences.

Belonging to the Academy Running Club based at Geisinger, she is training for her first half-marathon in Washington, D.C., in September. She has completed 10-mile runs and other events such as the Run for the Diamonds in Berwick.

A member of fencing clubs in Lewisburg and in Williamsport, she competes regionally and nationally, having placed mostly regionally.

She was named the woman’s epee champion for The State Games of America in 2013 held in Harrisburg.

Polanichka has been fencing and running since high school.

To see more of her work, visit, email or see her Facebook studiopolanichka page.

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