Student Stories - Nicky Oram

Welcome to a new occasional series I’m calling Student Stories! 

I felt it was high time I celebrated and shared the work of some of the artists who have interacted with my work in some way over the years as part of their art journey. Some have taken a course {or courses}, some have been following the blog or reading Artnotes for years, or a combination of these.

These short stories are about where their work and my work met, and what they experienced after that. Please go and check out the links of these artists and like, follow, and support them however you wish! A rising tide lifts all boats, and all that. 🙂

This week’s artist: Nicky Oram

“I discovered Tara through her Instagram account; this appeared as a recommendation from Instagram Explore. It is good to know this feature does actually work sometimes; pointing you to accounts and images that you like and share an interest with.

I was drawn to the art on Tara’s page, the colours and the sense of freedom. There is a large measure of the sea and coast that appeals strongly to me as I live in a landlocked county (Wiltshire on the edge of the Cotswolds).

Hydrangea Nicky Oram

Hydrangea – Nicky Oram


Tara keeps her account a little like a photo journal so you can follow along with her artistic projects and her barn renovation with studio build and her wild swimming and those wonderful underwater photos.

I love her Artnotes and mini challenges and free classes/mini courses. I found that these give a stepping stone to making art a regular feature in your life.

Ogmore-by-Sea - Nicky Oram

Ogmore-by-Sea – Nicky Oram


I have always been a scribbler – drawing, doodling – and keeper of sketch books with only one page completed.

I had started looking out for art-based workshops near me and have enjoyed these so much I wanted to do more but was unsure what the next step was. Tara’s online courses were the answer.

Stinging Nettles Nicky Oram

Stinging Nettles – Nicky Oram


Tara’s online courses have changed my work in two very significant ways.

Firstly, in terms of scale – from my previous painting on tiny scraps of watercolour paper to huge sheets of A1 and A2.

Secondly, becoming freer with mark making and media. Making your own tools and using different media – charcoal especially has been great for me.

For me, enjoyment is the key to finding your voice. I found that becoming fully absorbed in the process of painting is when the honesty and confidence starts to emerge in my work.

End of Term Nicky Oram

End of Term – Nicky Oram


The Expressive Charcoal course and Loosen Up both changed the way I draw and paint. They have led me to involve large movements, bigger brushes, and more sense of an evolving composition in response to whatever the subject matter may be.

I applied and subsequently enrolled onto the Foundation diploma in Art and Design last month.

This is a two-year programme that is part time so enables you to work alongside. About a third of my classmates are also mature students so this is great, although I love working and learning alongside younger students too.

I am loving the course and am currently completing a module on colour, surface and texture which incorporates printmaking and textiles alongside painting and colour theory, plus weekly lectures in modern art history.


Nicky OramFind Nicky posting once or twice a week about her journey on the art foundation course on her Instagram account @earlybird_art