I am sometimes said to be a landscape painter although I have painted many portraits, particularly for the Qld. Parliament.
I do paint landscapes but my work became known principally for the birds, sometimes in a landscape, but sometimes as the main subject. Overall I prefer to think of myself as an environmental painter, and one of the reasons I paint, is to help people see and think about the environment.
What I do springs entirely from how I feel about the natural world which has many subtle dimensions that I continue to explore.
Many people think artists waft about waiting for the right mood and that moment of inspiration. To me that is a fanciful notion.
Over the years, rocks have become a feature. The shape, the weathering, the textures, the mosses and lichens, all seem to combine into a living thing that I try to give a life on canvas.
I am fortunate to have painted over three thousand works that have found homes all over the world, and feature in many public collections, including the Qld. Art Gallery in Brisbane.
Michael Nicholas was born in 1942 and his early careers included working in mining and in the Queensland Police Force. These afforded him the opportunity to live in more remote places and to gain a real understanding of the Australian bush and especially its flora and fauna. It is these subjects which have captivated him and inspired his artwork and he has been firmly established as a professional painter since the 1970’s.
In 1992 he was appointed to the Queensland Government “Artists in Parks” program and completed a residency at Girraween National Park.
In 1995 the book “I Love a Sunburnt Country” was released featuring a series of Michael’s paintings to accompany Dorothea MacKellar’s iconic poem “My Country”.
Following this time and a couple of trips to the UK to complete commissions and study European artworks, Michael found much of his time taken in portrait painting for both individuals and organisations. His art also took a new direction with the completion of a series of abstract paintings, then religious works and 4 bronze sculptures for a heritage walk in Brisbane.
In 2000 the Queensland Government commissioned a portrait of former Premier the Hon. E.G. Theodore for Parliament House and this led on to an entire project to paint all of the Premiers from 1860 to 1946 and several contemporary parliamentarians including then Premier Peter Beattie.
In 2002 “Portrait of the Painter” was held at Redcliffe Regional Art Gallery as a 30 year retrospective exhibition to celebrate the artist’s 60th birthday and 30 year career.
In 2005 Michael designed “The Cunnamulla Fella”, a 2.5m bronze sculpture which stands proudly in Cunnamulla, Qld.
Throughout his career Michael has been awarded many times including the Redcliffe Prize; Royal National Association Landscape Prize; Beenleigh Art Prize x 2; Queensland Art Gallery Trustees Art Prize (the final time this was awarded); Suncorp Art Prize; Aberdare Art Prize and more.
Queensland Art Gallery Commonwealth Govt. Art Bank
Perc Tucker Regional Art Gallery, Townsville Brisbane City Gallery
Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery Griffith University
Queensland Univeristy of Technology University of New England
Moreton Bay Regional Council James Cook University, Townsville
Parliament House, Qld.
1970, 71, 72 McInnes Gallery, Brisbane, Qld.
1971, 73 Design Arts Centre, Brisbane, Qld.
1973, 74, 75, 76 Hesley Galleries, Orange, NSW
1974, 76 Martin Gallery, Townsville, Qld.
1975 Bakehouse Gallery, Mackay, Qld.
1976 Bowker Gallery, Brisbane, Qld.
1977 Tia Galleries, Toowoomba, Qld.
1977, 78 Studio Zero, Gold Coast, Qld.
1979, 80, 82, 83, 89 Town Gallery, Brisbane, Qld.
1980, 81 84 Cooks Hill Gallery, Newcastle, NSW
1981, 93 Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery, Stanthorpe, Qld.
1985 Australian Art Expo, San Francisco & Los Angeles, USA
1985, 86, 87, 89 Upstairs Gallery, Cairns, Qld.
1992 Waterfront Place, Brisbane, Qld.
2002 Redcliffe Regional Art Gallery, Qld.
2016 “Mutual Respect”, Art on Cairncross, Maleny, Qld.
2019 “Outback Revisited”, Art on Cairncross, Maleny, Qld.
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