Nivia González ’68

Lust for Life

By Donna Parker

“I bring art from my eye to my hand to the canvas – I serve as a conduit for beauty.”

Strong words from Nivia González ’68, an exceptionally powerful artist who began illustrating her own poems and short stories with strong colors at seven when she and her beloved father would construct their own short stories together.  Nivia still utilizes bold colors in her work, but now they signify her sheer joy in being alive.

“10 years ago after my car broke down on the highway, I began to try to cross the freeway on foot in search of help.  I was then struck by a truck pulling horses and I was thrown 50 feet up in the air.  My family was told that I literally died three times en route to the trauma center.  Because of the traumatic brain injury that I suffered, or perhaps that the stroke that I also suffered, when I came out of my coma, I was unable to walk or talk.  I lost the use of the left side of my body.  To me the worst injury I suffered was that I was now unable to paint because I am a left-handed artist.”
Nursed back to health by her parents and her then high-school-aged twin daughters, Nivia regained control of her left hand two years ago.  She recently enjoyed a showing in the Adagio Galleries in Palm Springs, Calif.  Her paintings, depicted by bold images of independent and graceful women, have hung in 16 other galleries in the U.S., as well as in Puerto Rico and Japan. 

Nivia, who majored in Studio Art at Trinity, fondly remembers Coleen Grissom, department of English, and Phil Evett and Bill Bristow, both from the department of art, as great mentors and teachers and is particularly proud that one of her professors purchased several of her paintings.

Now residing in Austin amidst “glorious trees in a huge yard,” Nivia paints in her light-filled home studio, continually thanking God for her spiritual strength, which she says helped her believe she could recover, as she repeatedly told herself, “You can beat this, you know you can.”

“Now I know what it’s like to lose time.  I literally lost 10 years of my life.  Just now, I’m beginning to wake up, as if from a long, rather unpleasant dream.  And I am beginning to speak.  At first I just mumbled.  Now my speech is clearer.” Now I am focusing on things that really matter and the astounding beauty of life.

“For some reason, I’m happy every day that I wake up.  I’m so glad really, just to be alive, even at 60 plus.  Mine is a wonderful life in my home on top of a hill in Austin, Texas.”

Nivia welcomes phone calls from old friends @ 512-674-0314.