Nicole Larson lives in two worlds that complement one another very well – hunting and art.
The Battle Lake artist and owner of Larson Wildlife Art has proved it over the last 11 years by building a healthy business for herself with Facebook.
Nicole was on a hunting trip one day when a companion found a wild turkey feather, picked it up and asked her if she could paint on it.
The artist in Larson looked at the painting query as a challenge. The big game birds have large feathers and there is a market for the iridescent feathers alone.
“They make a perfect canvas,” Larson said, describing her feathered painting surface.
Coming up with feathers for her work has never been a problem. For several years Nicole and her husband, Brent, put much of their time into a hunting and fishing show on Dream TV.
“I shoot so many turkeys a year and I got tired of throwing them away,” Larson laughed.
While her first effort to paint an image on a turkey feather fell far short of her standards, the patience that makes a good sportsman, or sportswoman, saw her through. She is the first to say that painting on the feathers of turkeys and pheasants is not for everyone.
“It takes a lot of practice,” Larson said.
Working on custom orders and being a mom keeps Larson hopping.
“I do a lot of custom orders, I have a waiting list,” Larson said. “I’m a busy girl.”
Larson grew up in east-central Minnesota but the TV show she and her husband hosted kept bringing them up to this area. Finally, they decided to stop running back and forth so they bought an old farm near Battle Lake and fixed it up.
As someone who has dabbled in art since childhood, the self-taught artist has tackled all kinds of feathered painting projects.
“I have done everything from combines to eagles to cars and barns,” Larson said. “All kinds of things.”
Much of her custom work is done for dog owners.
Larson works from pictures her clients send her. So far she has clients in Europe, Canada and South America as well as the United States.
Nicole’s husband, Brent, will sometimes build rustic shadow boxes for her artwork.
While Larson’s feathered art is keeping her on the go, she is looking forward to working off canvas as well in the years to come. She is interested in turning out some locally inspired art.
Whatever comes her way Larson will stick with the world she presently enjoys.
“I have such an appreciation for the outdoors,” Larson said.