Francis Nicholls

Francis Nicholls

Artist’s Statement

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.
I use a variety of palette knives. Some are like trowels, and I really plaster the paint on in big impasto slabs.
My paintings are not always of specific places; a lot are a distillation of ideas, exploring more the colour, texture, and mark-making aspects of applying the paint. I try to capture a certain feeling or moment in time rather than accurately depicting a scene.


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 2010 I was accepted as an Exhibiting Member at the Royal Art Society of NSW.
Whilst in Australia I became involved with the Australia Plein Air Painters Group (APAG). 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.
Since being back in NZ I have exhibited at a number of group shows in Dunedin and Invercargill, and held my first solo exhibition in March 2018 at Moray Gallery, Dunedin.


2009 – Received the Godfrey Plein Air (Landscape) Award at the Royal Art Society of NSW, Sydney
2017 – Awarded First Prize in the Otago Art Society’s 141st Annual Exhibition
2017 – Received Honourable Mention at ILT Art Awards in Invercargill
2018 – Awarded First Prize in the Otago Art Society’s Summer Exhibition
2018 – Awarded First Prize in the Otago Art Society’s 142nd Annual Exhibition

Showing the single artwork

  • Francis Nicholls

    First Snow Vista, Central Otago

    Painted "plein air" oil on board

    30 × 30 cm