Nicola Bolton is a painter, illustrator, photographer and author. She is passionate about depicting rural and coastal Australian landscapes. Much of the inspiration for her artwork has been drawn from her experiences of the landscape at her childhood home, 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 a gift for capturing the gentle, romantic light of dusk and dawn. In her atmospheric landscapes dark trees loom, silhouetted against the rich hues of the evening sky or the soft light of early morning. 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. Her paintings speak of an artist who investigates her surrounds, and honours what she sees in her works which are both truthful and poetic.
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 and was a finalist in Newscastle Art Gallery’s prestigious portrait prize, the Kilgour Prize, the 2017 NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize and the 2018 Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize.
Nicola has also recently written and illustrated her first children’s book,’You Can’t Catch Me’, and it was selected as a Notable in the Early Childhood section of the 2018 Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Awards.
Nicola continues to develop her art practice and regularly 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.
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
2018 Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize
2017 NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize –FINALIST
2017 Collectors Care – Newcastle Art School (TAFE)
2016 Kilgour Prize – For Figurative and Portrait Painting- FINALIST
2016 Newcastle Club Foundation Art Prize- FINALIST
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 – FINALIST (2 paintings)
2011 Eclectica, Winifred West Schools Foundation Art Show
Fellowship Art Prize
2008 Newcastle Emerging Artists, Newcastle Arts Space – FINALIST
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
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
2018 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year – ‘Notables’ for Early Childhood
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.”
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.”