It was an honor to have been invited to tech “Oil Painting Techniques” at the 60th anniversary of the Albany Summer School.  The school – one the longest running Summer School programmes in Australia.

My class was fully booked with a team of 12 talented and enthusiastic students – all at different levels of oil painting experience.  Together we mastered the art of painting in oils and enjoyed a fun week of creative learning with lots of laughs and amazing results.

Thank you to my fabulous team of artistic students.  I was overwhelmed by your enthusiasm and very proud of your spectacular results.  Congratulations.

I have been asked to return for the 2021 Albany summer School and look forward to teaching not one, but two courses in “Oil Painting Techniques”.

Oil Painting Techniques with Nicky Shelton

 Enrolments are open for Albany Summer School January 13th to 17th 2020.
Come and join me in what should be a fun and rewarding experience where I will share my oil  painting techniques including how to apply tonal values, oil paint application and lots more.  I will show you skills than can easily be translated to any paintable subject.
Numbers are limited.

I present to you a  sample of  small bird paintings 12.5cm x 17.5 cm created whilst on a 12 month European road trip.


It seems  surreal painting Australian birds in Italy, France, Croatia and different European locations, but Aussie birds are my thing and as they say you have to follow your passion.


Having  retired from corporate careers my husband and I have been doing what our friends call – “living the dream”.  The agreement before we left home was that I could continue to paint.


We have  spent the past 12 months travelling across Europe,  pet sitting between destinations which has given me time to continue pursuing my love to paint Australian birds in oils.


Pet sitting is a wonderful way to travel. we have visited some amazing locations, met and developed friendships with wonderful people and looked after beautiful much loved pets including turtles, fish, ducks, goats, cats, dogs and horses.


Combining  travel and oil painting  can become tricky particularly when packing wet paintings into an already over stuffed car.  Luckily I have a devoted husband who is committed to my passion –  after hours of meticulous car packing practice he has excruciatingly solved the artwork packing quandry.  The unpacking is another issue.


My small Australian Bird paintings are available via my web.


“Mitch” Major Mitchell painted in oils 40cm x 50cm.


Dressed in salmon pink these magnificent cockatoos possess a crown befitting a king.


” Mich” the Major Mitchell now resides on the walls of a Californian bird life art  collector who’s passion is cockatoos.  It  is lovely to share Australian birds in painted form.


To me birds are one of natures gifts belonging in their natural habitat where we can  cherish and protect them for generations to come.


Thank you wildlife photographer Keith Lightbody for graciously providing the reference photo for my interpretation.


A portion of every original painting I sell is automatically donated to Birdlife Australia.






“Swoop” my bird painting of an Australian Magpie takes pride of honor  – Jury selected “Best in Show” by the USA based Camelback Gallery “Animal” one line painting competition.


“Swoop”  was lovingly painted in memory of my father who lost his battle with Parkinson’s disease. When asked what bird would he like me to paint – my father announced “A Magpie”. In his final weeks we would walk and sit together watching the magpies play antics in the local park. My last memories of spending quality time with my father.


Australian Magpie
Swoop – Australian Magpie

Thank you to Muneer Al Shanti for graciously providing the reference photo for this painting.

One of My Birdlife Photographers

This is a photo of wildlife photographer Shaun Fearn standing next to my oil painting called “Edwina’s Luncheon Orb”.

Shaun graciously provided the reference photo for this painting which was jury judged as a finalist in Australia’s most prestigious bird art competition – the 2017 Holmes Art Prize for Realistic Birdlife.

I could not do what I do without the support of the amazing photographers who graciously share their talents. Thank you Shaun.
Together we support BirdLife Australia.


Thank you to all my followers and birdie enthusiast friends for your support on “Happy Wrensdays”.


Wednesday  is a special day for lovers of birds.  Many refer to the mid week working day as hump day.  Not so for Wren admirers, who have renamed this day  ” Wrensday” in honour of the worlds beautiful Wrens.


To support and celebrate  this special day  I have created a series of “Happy Wrensday” paintings in varying poses and sizes.  Due to the popularity of “Happy Wrensday” my little Wren series is constantly  and happily being added to.


Ranking highly on the Wren popularity scale is the Splendid Fairy Wren or Blue Wren who when dressed in his courtship suit during the months of August to October is truly dazzling sigh to behold.


I can confirm when in full dress the Blue Wren consists of at least 16 shades of blue.


Most of my Wren bird paintings are for sale through the website – either as originals or prints.


I can also create a little Wren just for you or a loved one.

It is a great honor to be invited to submit my Australian bird paintings to be included in the annual Fine Art at Hale School Art Exhibition.

Hale School is one of Perth, Western Australia’s most prestigious private schools. The annual exhibition, which has been running for 26 years, is curated by a selection panel and only invited artists are offered inclusion.

A great honor to present my bird art for sale in in this year’s exhibition.

Bird Paintings Available at Jahroc Galleries

I am glad to announce that a selection of my bird paintings are available at Jahroc Galleries in Margaret River.  I feel honoured to have them represent my bird artworks.

Jahroc is one of the leading galleries in the region with a long history in the town.

It is perfectly located in the Southern end of the main street and is well known to art lovers.

Margaret River

As an Australian Bird Artist I feel that t is important to have a gallery whose patrons relate to my bird art.   Jahroc is perfect for this, as is the region.

For those who don’t already know, Margaret River is one of Australia’s premium wine, tourist and surfing destinations.  The region is also home to a large variety Australian birdlife – including the very popular and spectacular Splendid Blue FairyWrens.

An Artist’s Journey

The aim of every professional artist is to become widely known and have his or her talent more widely recognised.  (We also need to sell some stuff from time to time – partly because we need the money but more importantly as an acknowledgement that others appreciate our skills.)

Gallery representation is an important step in building an artist’s reputation.   It is important to foster a strong relationship with the right gallery (or galleries) and I am pleased to have Jahroc’s support in my journey.

Bird Art Flying Solo – My First Exhibition

Exhibition Nerves

I admit to being a bit nervous about my first solo art exhibition for my bird art.  I knew it was going to be a brave move – but nothing ventured, nothing gained!

As it happened I had nothing to worry about as the exhibition was a huge success.  The turn out was terrific, with nearly 200 people visiting over the weekend, and a full house on the Friday night opening.

Bird art niche

As my specialty lies in a fairly narrow niche, that of realistic Australian bird paintings and bird art, I’m never sure how well my paintings are going to be received.

Having received a gracious offer of gallery space at The Rose, North Fremantle, Western Australia, I was at first unsure.   But with the support and encouragement of my amazing family and friends I was persuaded to go solo and accept the opportunity.

Bird Art Exhibition – A Bird’s Perspective

The result was “A Birds’s Perspective” – a solo exhibition of my Australian bird paintings. It was held over the Mothers’ day long weekend in May 2018.

Visitors from all over Western Australia brought their families and friends to view my bird paintings.  I was overwhelmed by the attendance and support of friends, fellow artists, bird enthusiasts and bird art collectors, some of whom had traveled hundred of kms to attend.

Exhibition Results

We sold eight of my original bird paintings and a couple of plein air pieces.  Of the bird paintings sold, I was a bit sad to part company with “Edwina’s Luncheon Orb”. Edwina is one of my favourites, and a finalist in the 2017 Holmes Art Prize.

I also received several commissions and lost count of the number of bird art prints and gift cards sold.

A portion of original bird painting sales is always donated to Birdlife Australia, as I believe it is important to support our threatened and endangered and feathered friends.  I am glad to report that over the exhibition weekend we raised nearly $1,000 for that important cause.

Thank you to all who visited, supported and contributed to the success of my first bird art solo exhibition and my passion for protecting and painting Australian birdlife.

Exhibition News –  Nicky’s Flying Solo this May!


Make sure you drop in to Nicky Shelton’s Solo Exhibition, it is a visual feast for Art Lovers and Bird Enthusiasts!


Opening Night: Friday 11 May, 2018 – 6.30pm to 9.00pm

Exhibition Hours: Saturday 12 May & Sunday 13 May – 10am to 5pm

Venue: The Rose, 78 Stirling Highway, North Fremantle, Western Australia

Google Maps –

Red-eared Firetail Finch
Ruby’s Reflectcion

“Rudy’s Reflection”, Nicky Shelton, Oil on Canvas, 2017

“If you have the time to sit a while and observe the beauty of birds, you will be amazed at the colourful detail that fills their feathered coats Australian artist Nicky Shelton has that wonderful ability to bring that beauty in all its glory to the canvas.”

Nicky Shelton

Nicky Shelton is a Western Australian artist who embraced the journey of fine art after giving away a successful corporate career in 2012. Australian birdlife is what ignites her passion to paint in oils, capturing the unique charisma and personality of each feathered subject she gets to know.

Learn more at

Little Black Cormorant Painting - Dillon - Bird Paintings
Dillon – All Shagged Out

“Dillon – Little Black Cormorant”, Nicky Shelton, Oil Painting, 2016

Nicky has been quickly recognised as an up-coming talent, being a jury selected finalist in prestigious 2017 art awards. These include the Cliftons Art Prize (Asia Pacific), Holmes Art Prize for Excellence in Realistic Australian Birdlife and the MidWest Art Prize.

She is an advocate for conservation and supports Birdlife Australia to protect Australia’s threatened bird species – of which she says there are too many.

I was pleased to see this inclusion in the West Weekend Magazine on Saturday 14 April with some very flattering words:

Gorgeous Nelly here might look like she’s posing for the camera but this is actually one of the magnificent portraits on show at local artist Nicky Shelton’s debut solo exhibition, A Bird’s Perspective.

Shelton’s oil paintings are nothing short of breathtaking. Catch her work at The Rose Hotel, 78 Stirling Highway, Fremantle from May 11 to 13


My upcoming solo exhibition has now been announced.

I am pleased to announce that with the encouragement of friends and family, I am hosting my first solo art exhibition – A Bird’s Perspective
Date: Friday 11 May – Sunday 13 May, 2018
Venue: The Rose
78 Stirling Highway, North Fremantle

Further details to be confirmed over the coming weeks

The Travel Section of the Weekend West on March 17â €™18 featured Whiteman Park, and as resident birdlife artist I was included â

I was pleased to welcome the 20 photographers, led by Travel Editor Steven Scourfield, to the Village  ârt Gallery, and show them my bird portraits â

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The feature highlighted a visit by the West  âustralian Travel Club the Sunday beforeÂ â  Whiteman Park had been selected as a location for one of their regular Photo Walks â

Steven was kind enough to include me in this feature â €™ with both words and a photo of me working on one of my current pieces â

I am calling this portrait of three Red Tailed Black Cockatoos “The Chaperone” â

More of the photographers ⠀™ pictures from the day can be seen in the club ⠀™s online gallery at sevenwesttravelclub âcom âau â There are many shots of myself and my artworks included in that gallery â

You will be able to see “The Chaperone” at my upâ €™coming exhibition in May â

More details on the exhibition will be released over the next few weeks â It will be at the Rose Cafe in North Fremantle over the weekend 11th to 13th May â

The exhibition is an opportunity to see a collection of my bird portraits together with a small selection of Plein  âir â  âll artworks will be for sale â

An article written by journalist Bruce Manners for

Nicky Shelton retired early—at the age of 53—because she wanted to and could – ‘But I hadn’t thought about what I was going to do next,’ she says. ‘I didn’t have a clue.’

That was three and a half years ago. In that time, she has been developing as an artist. She’s following her passion, and her enthusiasm comes through as she talks about it—along with a ready laugh.

The journey to becoming an artist


Nicky enjoyed art at school. She was accepted into Fine Arts at university, but deferred when she met her husband to be. ‘I had a flair for sales and I needed to survive. I knew I was either going to be a poor artist or make it in the sales world. That led into my work with recruitment.’

But, ‘every now and again I’d sort of appear at Claremont Art School in Perth, a local TAFE (Technical and Further Education) for artists’. When she retired, she went back to the art school and studied under D’hange Yammanee, an established Australian artist—originally from Thailand.

‘He was a real life-changer for me,’ says Nicky. She joined a group of 10 to study intensive portraiture with him. He has been her tutor and mentor for the past three years.

But she didn’t continue with portraits: ‘I like detail and I could have continued, but having spent 30 years in the recruitment industry I didn’t want to deal with the different aspects of personalities. I love birds and I love nature and that set a natural course. I started painting Australian birds.’

I found her, brush in hand, in her shared studio and gallery at Whiteman Park, next to the Caversham Wildlife Park on the edge of Perth. She was working on a large canvas where her trademark precision and detail was on show in the unfinished painting.

‘I now roost at the gallery,’ she says with a laugh.


Steps to early retirement

Three things were important in leading her to an early retirement:

A successful career: Nicky had had a ‘very successful career’ of over 30 years. It included running her own recruitment agency. David, her husband, was also involved—both were directors of the business. They recruited accounting and legal staff, and state government staff for temporary and permanent positions.

When they sold the business in the early 2000s, she worked as a consultant to other recruiting agencies. She had developed confidence that she could succeed in whatever she chose to do.

Timing: Even though she had no plan, the passion for her work was gone â She just knew it was time for a change—time for retirement â

Financial strength: ‘We’d been fortunate enough to sell our business and we had assets that provide us with a passive income. That gave me the freedom to stop. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if we didn’t have financial security.’

Making the dream work

Nicky is reinventing herself in retirement. ‘I’m an achiever,’ she says. ‘I always need to have a sense of achievement. Painting does that for me because I’m creating something.’ But several things have helped her achieve what she has.

People in her life: D’hange Yammanee is ‘incredibly encouraging,’ she says. ‘He’s a really honest mentor. He doesn’t give people false hope. I love that about him.’

‘David is my biggest advocate. His support is incredible.’ They’d made a pact with each other ‘way, way back’ that they would let each other live their own lives. There would be give and take so there are no regrets.

David retired almost a year ago and wants to travel. They plan to spend a year in Europe, but she will continue to paint while there. That’s give and take.


She has been delighted by the support she has from various individuals and particularly wildlife bird photographers who provide bird photographs for her paintings.

The head photographer for Bird Life Australia, Georgina Steytler, ‘graciously gives me her photos to work with and she encourages me. She’s also introduced me to other photographers who are now friends.’ The birds in these photographs become her models, but she often changes the background.

Goal setting: Nicky understands that success for her comes in two forms. The first is to ‘make an income from what I do, from my passion.’

Second is gaining recognition as an artist. She has entered four art competitions in the wildlife category in Australia and has been a finalist in each of them. A fifth has been entered in New York: ‘If I become a finalist there, we’ll go to New York.’

Her aim is to achieve international recognition. ‘I’d like to be selling my birds in Europe and America.’

She currently calls herself an ‘emerging artist.’ When her art is recognised and supporting her financially she reckons she will have ‘emerged.’

Her determination: ‘When I was in business, my husband once described me as a Jack Russell taking on a Mack truck and the truck isn’t going to win.’ She laughs and adds that there’s some truth to the description. ‘Usually, once I set my sights on something—unless I get struck down by some terrible disease—it’s going to happen.’

So, watch this space. Or better still, watch her website space here

She’s invited me to check out her career in five years. I’ll let you know what’s happened.

In the meantime, her advice for those who want to find their place in whatever field, is this: ‘Go for it. Absolutely. If you have the time and if you have a passion, why wouldn’t you? It’s incredible what doors open once you focus on your passion.’

As an artist, I enjoy surrounding myself with the life that inspires me. Since finding my niche in realistic birdlife painting I have endeavoured to find a location that reflects and inspires my passion.

I am proud to say I have grown from the family home front porch, to various parks and wildlife locations across Perth to my new creative  location as Resident Birdlife Artist at the Village Art Gallery.Whiteman Park. 

Being one of Perth’s premium wildlife and tourist destinations the Park is also home to the Caversham Wildlife Park. An opportunity to take up the vacant space in the Village Art Gallery  was a dream come true. The perfect advancement for me as an up and coming Birdlife Artist.

After some hard work and loving touches to the Village Art Gallery walls, my Australian Birdlife oil painting’s now graciously hang within the entrance. A wonderful new home and acknowledgement to my artistic achievements from the past few years.

I look forward to meeting you under the sun, on the veranda surrounded by the natural beauty that is Whiteman Park Village Art Gallery.

The Village Art Gallery is located in the heart of the Whiteman Park Village. The gallery is open 10am  to 4pm Wednesday to Sunday and Public Holidays.

Edwina’s Luncheon Orb has been selected as one of the 40 finalists in Australia’s most important bird art prize – the Holmes Art Prize.

The Holmes Art Prize

The Holmes Art Prize rewards excellence in realistic Australian bird art. It showcases Australia’s best birdlife artists depicting a lifelike Australian birdlife scene.

This is Australia’s premier competition for bird artists and bird paintings, and received over 130 submissions last year.

Edwina’s Luncheon Orb

Edwina is a beautiful Baudin’s Cockatoo, toying with her banksia nut as she enjoys eating it.

Edwina’s Luncheon Orb has been created in oil paints. The reference material was from Perth wildlife photographer Shaun Fearn.

My interpretation brings Edwina to life, highlighting her charisma and expressive matriarchal attitude.

In each of my birdlife paintings I create a sense of depth through colours and contrast – to develop a realistic depiction and enhance the details of each bird’s plumage.

I work in oils to provide an added dimension to every bird.

The Holmes Art Prize features the very best of Australia’s leading birdlife artists. I am delighted to be in their company and regard this as my greatest accomplishment as an emerging artist to date. It is a further progression from being jury selected as finalist in both the Emerging Artist Awards, South Perth (2016) and the biennial Mid West Art Prize (2017).

The Exhibition

The Holmes Art Prize finalists will be displayed within the Caloundra Regional Gallery, Queensland throughout November.

Prints of Edwina are available for sale on my web site. My other bird paintings  can also be seen elsewhere on this web site.

I am thrilled to announce that Nelly has been jury selected for judging in the MidWest Art Prize.  Nelly is my favourite bird painting to date.

I see this as important recognition not only for my own bird painting skills, but recognition of realist wildlife painters. Only 60 pieces of 240 submissions have been selected for judging in a competition which embraces all manner and styles of artist expression.

Nelly is an original oil bird painting of a female Australian red-tailed black cockatoo, and I just love her attitude. She is so regal!

Nelly is situated high on a tree, and casting a wise and controlling look over her domain. I have worked really hard on bringing her detailed plumage to the fore as well as getting just the right look in her wise eye.

MidWest Art Prize

This is the fifth Mid West Art Prize which showcases the diversity, quality and innovation of art currently being made in WA.  It is one of the most prominent and valuable prizes in Western Australia, with the exhibition opening on Friday the 16th of June at the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery.

Redtailed Black Cockatoos

A gregarious species, the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo is often seen in large flocks, as well as in pairs and trios. It is an active, noisy and conspicuous bird, mainly arboreal, spending much of the day feeding.

At sunset, flocks are often seen flying high, returning from feeding areas to roosts in large trees along the banks of rivers or streams. They may be less wary while feeding than at other times, and generally do not allow a close approach by an observer, readily taking flight and screeching loudly.


Nelly has now returned, and hangs proudly in the Village  ârt Gallery at Whiteman Park, where I am the Resident Birdlife Artist.

Come and see her and have a chat with me at Whiteman Park most Wednesdays through Sunday.

Prints of Nelly are also available on the web site.

Australian Bird Artist