Nicola Bolton is a painter, illustrator and children’s book author. She is passionate about depicting the Australian landscapes as well as the people who live in it. Much of the inspiration for her artwork has been drawn from her experiences of the growing up on a rural property near Goulburn NSW. Nicola once again finds herself living among rural surrounds, near Maitland NSW and she continues to be inspired by the countryside around her.

Nicola’s strong sense of place and deep love of the countryside is evident both in the focus of her work and in her preference for working en plein air. She has loves capturing the gentle, romantic light of dusk and dawn. Her skills are also evident in her capacity to capture the unique character of the people and animals she encounters.

Nicola’s contemplative drawings include evocative large-scale charcoal landscapes, faithfully observed trees realised in graphite on wood, and tiny exquisite coloured pencil vignettes of rural life. Her paintings of people and animals reflect her passion for storytelling and capturing the world through art.

Nicola completed the Advanced Diploma of Fine Arts at Newcastle Art School in 2011. That same year she had two of her paintings selected for the 2011 NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize, and won the Wollombi Valley Arts Council Emerging Artist Award. Recognition of her work continues. In 2016 she won the Frensham Fellowship Art Prize, was a finalist in Newscastle Art Gallery’s prestigious portrait prize, the Kilgour Prize, has been selected several times in the  NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize. In 2021 she won the People’s Choice in the Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize.

Nicola has written, illustrated and self published two children’s books. The first was ‘You Can’t Catch Me’, which was selected as a Notable in the Early Childhood section of the 2018 Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Awards and is on the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge List. Her latest book is ‘You Can’t Find Me’.

Nicola continues to develop her art practice and exhibits her work in a number of galleries in Newcastle and the Hunter region as well as participating in shows in both Sydney and Melbourne. Her work is held in private collections in the UK, Japan, USA and Australia.

Nicola Bolton painting en plein air


2010 -11      Advanced Diploma of Fine Art, Newcastle Arts School, (TAFE)
2009           Diploma of Fine Art Newcastle Arts School (TAFE)
2007 – 08  Certificate IV in Fine Arts Newcastle Arts School, (TAFE)
2000 – 01   Desktop Publishing Certificate, (TAFE)
1994 – 96   Commercial Needlecraft Advanced, Certificate Belmont TAFE
1981 – 82    Graphic Design Certificate, Randwick Technical College Sydney



2021 Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize  – People’s Choice
2018 Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize
2017  NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize
2017  Collectors Care – Newcastle Art School (TAFE)
2016  Kilgour Prize – For Figurative and Portrait Painting
2016  Newcastle Club Foundation Art Prize
2016  NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize – Salon des Refuses
2016  Laman Street Art Prize – Celebrating Nature
2013  Laman Street Art Prize – Nature Remembered
2012  Collectors Choice – University of Newcastle
2012  Collectors Care – Front Room Gallery TAFE, Newcastle
2012  Gosford Art Prize- Gosford Regional Art Gallery
2012  Newcastle Emerging Artists- Newcastle Arts Space, Newcastle
– Highly Commended
2011  NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize –  2 paintings
2011  Eclectica, Winifred West Schools Foundation Art Show
Fellowship Art Prize
2008 Newcastle Emerging Artists, Newcastle Arts Space


2018 The Garden Palette – Maitland Regional Art Gallery
2016  The gentle light of day – ASW Art Systems Wickham
2012  Directors Unit, Tighes Hill TAFE Newcastle
2011  Landmarks – Newcastle Arts Space (NAS) Newcastle NSW


2017  Three – Gallery 139, Beaumont Street, Hamilton NSW
2016  Dogs In Art – Gallery 139, Beaumont Street, Hamilton NSW
2016  Landscape Meditations – Nansche Gallery, Hamilton, Newcastle
2016  SmallWorks – Brunswick Street Gallery, Fitzroy, Vic
2016  Inspired – Hunter Valley Grammar School
2015  Windows, Doors & Dogs of Vence – Back To Back Galleries, Bull St, Newcastle
2015  Inspired – Hunter Valley Grammar School
2014  Family Trees – Back To Back Galleries, Bull St, Newcastle
2014  3 Village Art Festival – Highly Commended and Commended
2014  Favourites – Suko Gallery, Newcastle
2013  The secret Life of Animals – Nansche Gallery, Hamilton, Newcastle
2013  Trees – Back To Back Galleries, Bull St, Newcastle
2012  Art of Ideas – The Lockup Gallery, Newcastle
2012  Centred – The Inner City Winemakers, Wickham, Newcastle
2011  Wollombi Valley Arts Council Emerging Artist Award – Winner
1993  Mattara Festival Art Exhibition (The Society of Artists) Newcastle – Highly Commended
1988  Royal Agricultural Show Society Sydney – Highly Commended
1986  Goulburn Agricultural Show – 1st prize in Watercolour Section


2021 Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize – People’s Choice
2018  Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year – ‘Notables’ for Early Childhood
2016  Fellowship Art Prize -Eclectica, Winifred West Schools Foundation Art Show
2011   Wollombi Valley Arts Council Emerging Artist Award
2011   Finalist – 2012 Ford Grant Newcastle Art School
2008  Outstanding Student Award in Fine Arts, Newcastle Arts School, TAFE

Nicola Bolton and chooks


Newcastle Herald – Saturday July 23, 2016

‘Nicola Bolton has a very strong drawing exhibition, ‘The Gentle Light of Day’ at Art Systems Wickham. Her tonal landscapes in graphite and charcoal are the result of a sensitive communion between the artist and her immediate rural surrounds in the softened, quiet light of dawn and dusk.

While they continue the Romantic tradition, with strong links to early black and white photography, these drawings are keenly observed and finely drafted images of the present. They are contemplative works, free from sentimentality where farm buildings and power poles are given equal prominence with native trees and introduced vegetation set against a background ever-changing weather with glaring sunlight rending the morning fog while gathering storm clouds portend an uncertain future.”

John Barnes

Newcastle Herald – Saturday November 22, 2014

“Another rewarding exhibition ( Family Trees) unites a trio of artists at Back to Back Galleries (Newcastle). Majestic trees are now second nature for Jane Eleanor Robinson in her evocative freehand machine embroideries, now with hints of colour. A wall of conifers contrasts with bare winter tracery of deciduous trees. Perhaps the eucalypt is the next challenge, as well as larger portraits of family and friends.

A perfect partner is Nicola Bolton, whose detailed graphic drawings and
small atmospheric paintings also commemorate real trees and actual landscapes.

Omni-talented Ros Elkin’s range of functional ceramics completes a strong show.”

Jill Stowell