Tag Archives: australian bird paintings

How absolutely fabulous to be the featured as the avian artist in the January – February 2023 edition of Parrot News Magazine.

The article gives some background on my bird art journey and features many of parrot and cockatoo paintings all lovingly painted in oils.

Hude thank you to Parrot Society of Australia Inc. for choosing me.

It is is always an honor to be re-invited to teach at the annual Albany Summer School.

This year I returned for a third time to celebrate the 63rd anniversary of one of Australia’s longest running Summer School Events.

Once again 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, some of whom have joined me each year and become friends during their artistic journeys.

Once again I was overwhelmed by everyone’s enthusiasm and very proud of your spectacular results.

Huge congratulations to each of you.

My oil painting of a female Gang-gang Cockatoo called “Cherry Ripe” received an Award of Excellence at Australia’s preeminent bird art competition the Holmes Prize for Realistic Australian Bird Art 2022.

Just to be chosen as one of the 35 competition finalist is a major achievement. To receive an Award of Excellence amongst Australia’s leading bird artists is a great honour and very validating.

“Cherry Ripe” took nearly 7 weeks to paint in oils. She was painted specifically as my entry in this competition.

I have to send a huge thank you to my photographer friend Perry Cho who graciously allowed use of his photo as a reference for my interpretation.

“Chick Pea” my painting of a smiling Carnaby Cockatoo is now the Currambine Primary School Emblem.

Thanks to Natalie Heartcliffe – Art Specialist at Currambine Primary School a print of my painting of “Chick Pea” will be the face that welcomes everyone to the school.

With my permission the print of “Chick Pea” has received a new name “ERIC” which is an acronym to help inspire Currambine Primary School students to use their Excellence, Respect, Integrity and Kindness.

Special thank you to photographer Mark Molinari for graciously providing the reference photo used as inspiration for this painting. Sadly Mark passed away 2022.

Together lets raise $5K for Australia’s endangered birdlife.

I have been nominated for the 2022 APIA Get Set.60 Awards. There are 11 nominees and voting is exclusively online.

APIA will donate $5K to the winner’s charity of choice.

As an Australian birdlife conservationist and artist my charity of choice is Birdlife Australia, specifically to assist with the conservation and rehabilitation of our beautiful and unique endangered birds.

In support of our feathered friends PLEASE vote. Every vote counts. Just click on HOME link below:

This year a record 168 artists will be participating in the largest Open Studio event in Australia, possibly the Southern Hemisphere. This is a fabulous opportunity to meet the artists in their creative space and discover what drives their passions.

My studio – “The Aviary” the creative home of my birdlife artworks painted in oils will be open 10am to 4pm every day during the event 10th to 25th September. I am number 88 in the Event Guide

I look forward to seeing you during your Margaret River Region artistic discovery.


“The Art of Birds – Meet Nicky Shelton”

A few weeks ago I was approached to do an interview with Bird Buddy . If you haven’t heard of Bird Buddy the product is a smart bird feeder that notifies you of bird visitors, captures photos of birds who visit the birdfeeder and organises the photos into a beautiful collection. This innovative product was invented by some cleaver people in Europe, and is taking off like a rocket. The team behind the product are devoted to birdlife conservation. Just like me.

If you would like to discover more about me and my passion for birds click on the link below:


Every West Aussie is familiar with the melodious chortling of the magpies’ “dawn chorus”, but few know that in Aboriginal stories these birds are credited with creating the very first sunrise.

According the Noongar Dreaming, the sky was once so close to the ground that trees could not grow, people had to crawl and all the birds were forced to walk everywhere.

Working together they managed to prop up the sky with sticks, but it threatened to break the sticks and collapse to earth again – with potentially disastrous consequences. The clever magpies, however, took a long stick in their beaks and pushed it up and up until the sky sprang into its proper place, revealing the sun and, with it, the first dawn.

The magpies’ boastful singing each morning is to remind everybody of their important role in creation.

Its unique song is reflected in its Noongar name: “Coolbardie”. The mining town of Coolgardie means “magpie” in the Goldfields Aboriginal dialect.

There are two subspecies of Australian magpie in WA – each identifiable by its markings.

The gender and age of the South-West subspecies (dorsalis) can be distinguished by their different black and white liveries. The adult dorsalis female has a glossy black head and her feathers are edged in greyish white. Her underside is mainly black with a grey rump and her bill is blueish white tipped with black.

Young adult males look similar to the female but lack the grey-white feather edges. As the males grow the distinctive white patch on their shoulders expands down their back until, by five years of age, their entire back from neck to tail is pure white.

The tibicen subspecies, which dominates the remainder of WA, differs from dorsalis in that the adults have more black on their backs.

The Australian magpie abounds in lightly wooded country in all but the driest and wettest parts of Australia.

It is partial to farmlands and suburban lawns, where it is commonly seen in family groups hunting insects and other small creatures.

The birds’ beautiful “carol” is a communal song which reaches its peak in June and July, at the start of the mating season.

In Perth magpies breed from July to early November, the females building a large, bowl-shaped nest of sticks and twigs high in the fork of a tree and lining it with grass, bark, wool and leaves.

Unfortunately for pedestrians and cyclists, spring also hails the start of the magpies’ “swooping season”, when male magpies become aggressively territorial in trying to drive away what they see as threats to their nests and chicks.

But, despite this unsociable streak, when most people think of magpies they think of the glorious melodic chorus that is as intrinsic to the sounds of Australia as the kookaburra’s laugh.

Peter Hancock

Sydney Morning Herald

March 8 2013

As a thank you to all who visited my studio during the September 2021 Open Studios event, I ran a competition to win a print of The Chaperone.

We had nearly 400 entries, and estimated our total number of visitors at around 500.

Charlie and the other fur kids (Goblin and Spike the Alpaca’s and Sheep) were exhausted after greeting and engaging with so many people.

Congratulations to the competition winner – Robyn Kennedy.

All the print orders have been placed and they are in the process of being dispatched. Those you bought a print should have received tracking numbers by now.

That done, I am now starting work on the many commissions that I have been asked to complete.

Thank you all for your patience and understanding of the time pressures an event like this puts on us.

Thanks again to  all who visited, and a reminder that I am open for visits all year round by Appointment.

Selected pieces are also available from Jah Roc Galleries, on the main street in Margaret River.

A reminder also that you can follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

Enjoy the Spring sunshine!    

It is a great honor to be selected as a featured artist by USA based Artsy Shark.

Artsy Shark are a US based artist support and promotional organisation who jury select and “Feature amazing artists, sharing their stories with the world”.

The Artsy Shark selection process is a highly competitive curated process. Artists in every medium around the globe compete to be selected as a features artist.

Exciting News for “Lenny” the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo.

“Lenny” the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo has been successfully selected for inclusion in the Capecare acquisition project 2021.

Capecare is today the largest regionally based independent aged care provider in Western Australia. They are an organisation dedicated to supporting the local art community by acquireing and displaying art throughout their residential care buildings for residents, their families, visitors, staff and local community to enjoy.

“Lenny” was one of the artworks selected from many submissions for the acquisition project. He will hang on permanent display in the newly completed Capecare residency in Dunsborough where residents, visitors and staff can enjoy the artworks of local artists together with the artist’s biography and artist’s statements supporting each individual artwork.

It is a great honor to be included in the 2021 acquisition project.

Thank you Arts Margaret River for co-ordinating this very special project and thank you Capecare for the acquisition of “Lenny”.

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.






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.