It wasn’t until I was in my thirties, and living in Australia, that I started attending painting and drawing classes.
I was tutored by Ros Devaux at the Workshop Arts Centre, Sydney for several years in drawing, and was a long term member of a Plein Air painting class at the Royal Art Society of NSW. We would paint all around Sydney on a Saturday. I was also fortunate to have Joe Bezzina as a tutor, and he has remained to this day a great mentor and friend for me.
In 2009 I won the Godfrey Plein Air (Landscape) Award at the Royal Art Society of NSW, and in 2010 was accepted as an Exhibiting Member.
Whilst in Australia I became involved with the Australia Plein Air Painters Group. APAG has a number of very talented and internationally recognised landscape painters including Kasey Sealy and Warwick Fuller. I attended many amazing painting trips to the Australian outback with this group of artists. Probably the most notable was a two week trip to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia which left an indelible impression on me.
In 2014 we moved back to NZ and to Roseneath, Dunedin. I joined the Otago Art Society in 2015 as an artist member.
My studio in Roseneath is the original Port Chalmers shipping office that once sat near the museum. It was relocated to our property in the 1970s and was in a very dilapidated state when we took over the property. I spent the first six months renovating the building and have returned it to its former glory. The studio is a beautiful light filled space with kauri floors and tongue and groove woodwork throughout.
My interest these days is painting contemporary impressionist landscapes in oil, using thick impasto paint applied with a palette knife. There is a blend of influences in my recent pictures and varying degrees of abstraction. I also like to draw on a daily basis and oftentimes paint directly from my drawings.
Since being back in NZ I have exhibited at a number of group shows in Dunedin and Invercargill, and in June 2017 won First Prize in the Otago Art Society’s 141st Annual Exhibition.
You can view more of my recent paintings at: www.francisnicholls.com