Nordean, Erica

Community: Poulsbo
Phone: 360-981-0701
Media: painting, acrylic, mixed media

Past exhibits and events with Northwind

2017 Showcase artist (click to see all 2017 artists) | 2016 Showcase artist

Artist Statement

Through the brush and canvas I have found my calling. When I paint I take risks, I don’t look back, I hold my brush until the pain in my arm is so great I have to put it down – then paint some more. Sure, I have bad days, but I will do whatever it takes, over and over again, to get it. When I paint, I feel the emergence of the primal gesture before me, and it comes to life as a parade of color and movement.

It’s not that I love horses so much, I love horse racing. Seeing a Thoroughbread at full gallop is truly something else; the energy, color, passion, form. I feel the pounding of the earth, the wind in my face, the heady smell of the track, and I have to create – cliché, I know. Thoroughbreds are like big cats, soulful and mysterious, and I try to express that on canvas, to capture the mystery, to bring the sinuous, edgy nature of these incredible creatures into life – to let them out through my canvas. I love painting them.

I paint other things: an apple and a hand, women, landscapes, things that make me ache when I see them – think of them. I am drawn to soft curves that flow into hard angles. I express movement and sensuality into every aspect. I use color, texture, and exaggeration to achieve my stylized images – to evoke primal relationships that are playful and vibrant, painful and longing.

Michelangelo said it best, “An Artist working at the top of his powers exists in a realm beyond human happiness”. I strive to be happy.


Native to the Pacific North West, Erica Nordean is an internationally known painter recognized for her stunning depictions of horses and horse racing, as well as haunting landscapes and vibrant still life.

At 18 she began exercising racehorses at Longacres, in Renton, Washington, while attending school. Working with horses throughout Washington, Erica was a fixture at such lauded locales as Longacres, Yakima Meadows, and Emerald Downs, where she was an exercise rider for various stables.

Throughout her college years, Erica says, “I was taking all the classes, but art was all I liked. I finally decided in my late twenties that I really wanted to be an artist”. Primarily self-taught, Erica has taken many courses at the prestigious Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle, studying a variety of artistic styles. She Says, “I found out that drawing came so naturally”. In her mid thirties, and confident that she was on the right path, Erica embarked on her career as a professional artist and never looked back.

Erica Nordean’s art career took off in 1998 when she began showing at Kirkland’s Gambados Gallery, where her paintings were enthusiastically received. Since then, Erica says that as a painter, “it has been like a tunnel where all the doors fly open”. Through her pure determination, and love of shape and image that began early in life, she has adapted her love of horse racing into a spectacular profession.

With a powerful national presence in the national horse racing world, Erica’s paintings have shown most recently at the prestigious Del Mar Thoroughbred Club where she was the 2010 featured program artist. Erica’s art hangs in galleries from Seattle, Washington to Saratoga Springs, New York. In California, her work has been shown at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park, Del Mar, and Bay Meadows racetracks.

“In a world of literal-minded racing painters and patrons, Nordean is one who dares to flirt with the abstract”, said Daily Racing Form columnist Jay Hovedy. “Her horses are unmistakably horses, but they have a vibrant, native feel . . .”

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