Art Student Spotlight: Nicole Ellwood

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, October 17th, 2018 at 6:29 PM

There is a lot to expect as a freshman, especially when you major in art. 

However, Nicole Ellwood, a first-year fine arts major, manages her expectations well and uses them to push forward. 

With being inspired by a high school art teacher, the encouragement from her mother, and her own skills in drawing, she chose it as a potential career.

Drawing is also something that both her mother and grandmother have done, though her grandmother works more with crafts now. 

“I’ve just had a passion for drawing since I was little, so I decided to go with my strength,” Ellwood said. 

It helps her to stay calm and concentrated, especially since it helps her maintain a creative mindset, and because “it’s very peaceful,” she said. 

Ellwood has plans to likely minor in psychology by her sophomore year, and after receiving her bachelor’s, she is considering a master’s in art therapy.

“I’ve always been interested in the human mind,” she said, explaining that the opportunity to do what she loves while helping people would be “wonderful.”

Although she has ideas, Ellwood does not have an exact career plan and ultimately wants to see where her job takes her. She plans to “go with the flow and see what happens.”

Her reason for choosing Edinboro University was because of its strong art program, along with what she feels is a kind community. Currently taking on a full course load with two art classes and three general education electives, Ellwood is applying herself yet enjoying her time here.

“It’s been pretty good so far. The teachers are good, and the classes are good,” she said. 

Ellwood also enjoys the student atmosphere within Edinboro, especially in Highlands 4, which is a Living Learning Community geared toward art students.

The best part of living here for her is meeting other people who have the same passion for art as she does.

She explained that the students are all independent workers, but that they support and inspire one another when necessary.

While she enjoys her art classes and exploring different mediums, she prefers drawing because of the hands-on experience. Her favorite subjects to draw are people, including those that have tattoos, along with drawing various still objects. 

One of her favorite practices and best skills is with realism, especially when drawing from black and white pictures that she sees online. 

 Her Instagram account, @ne_artwork24, is public and shows examples of her work. She also follows other professional artists on the platform. “I hope to get to their level one day,” she said.

One of the ways that she stays motivated is through advice from her “Drawing I” professor, John Bavaro, who tells his students that their drawings may be bad at first, but that improvement is what matters. 

Taking the time to remember and reflect on the praise of her friends and family is also crucial for Ellwood.

As each student inevitably confronts advanced-level courses, Ellwood is both nervous and excited about taking them. “I’m looking forward to the challenge and seeing how far I progress,” she said.  

It also helps to see that everyone she knows seems happy with their program so far, and she plans to finish her education here.   

Her advice to those in her field or a similar one is to be open to changes and to do what would make them happiest. 

From her mother, the most important advice that she learned regarding art is to take your time and not to rush anything. 

Managing expectations from yourself and others is difficult, yet choosing to make positive combinations with them, along with knowing yourself, is always possible. 

Amber Chisholm can be reached at

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