Featured Artist Nicky Shelton

Australian artist Nicky Shelton uses amazing detail in her expressive and captivating portraits of birds. See more of her art by visiting her website.


painting of an Australian Magpie by Nicky Shelton

“Swoop – Australian Magpie” oil on canvas, 61cm x 91cm


I am a painter of birds. Australian birds mainly, but not exclusively. My chosen media is oil paint, as it gives greater depth and nuance for the delicate detailing of each bird’s feathers. I also think it brings them to life more so than other mediums.


painting of a Redeared Firetail Finch by Nicky Shelton

“Rudy’s Reflection – Redeared Firetail Finch” oil on canvas, 61cm x 76cm


I describe my style as “contemporary realism” as I do not wish to change the beauty of my subjects but bring them into focus against contemporary backgrounds. Some are situational such as a sea eagle hunting or a cockatoo enjoying a snack.


painting of an Australian Kookaburra by Nicky Shelton

“Maverick King of the Skies – Australian Kookaburra” oil on canvas, 75cm x 75cm


Others are portraits where the subject sits regally and is almost posing for the piece like the royalty they are.


painting of a Baudins Black Cockatoo

“Edwina’s Luncheon Orb – Baudins Black Cockatoo” oil on canvas, 61cm x 91cm


My goal with each piece is to have it jump from the canvas into the viewer’s own reality.


painting of Mitchell Cockatoos by Nicky Shelton

“Triple Treat – Major Mitchell Cockatoos” oil on canvas, 75cm x 75cm


Attention to detail through brushes of not much more than three fibres allow me to not only highlight the intricate detailing of feathers and contrast of light and shade, but to capture the character of each bird.


painting of a Redtailed Black Cockatoo by Nicky Shelton

“Nelly – Redtailed Black Cockatoo” oil on canvas, 61cm x 91cm


Bird species are highly intelligent, and each has its own personality. Some smile at you, others look coy or quizzical, demanding or subservient. The range of emotions they evoke never fails to amaze me.


painting of a Southern Boobook Owl by Nicky Shelton

“Stella – Stella Southern Boobook Owl” oil on canvas, 76cm x 76cm


From as early as I can remember I would walk around with a crayon, pencil or paint brush in hand. A career in corporate recruitment gave me deep insights into human personalities and emotions. I find that I relate to these with my feathered friends, recognising their quirky characteristics and charismatic charm.


painting of a Splendid Fairy Wren by Nicky Shelton

“Juliet – Female Splendid Fairy Wren” oil on canvas, 26cm x 31cm


I have always loved birds, and feel blessed to live in the South West of Australia where we have a wonderful variety of bird life that changes through the seasons.


painting of Tawny Frogmouths by Nicky Shelton

“Sparky and Gus – Baby Tawny Frogmouth Owls” oil on canvas, 120cm x 120cm


Many endangered species live only in our special part of the world. I do my little bit to help protect them, with a percentage of every original painting sold being donated to Birdlife Australia.


Artist Nicky Shelton in her studio

Artist Nicky Shelton in her studio


At this point I have won a few awards, been jury selected as a finalist in a number of prestigious competitions and had a successful solo exhibition. I can probably no longer call myself an emerging artist—but there is much more to come.


Artist Nicky Shelton invites you to follow her on Facebook and Instagram.


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  1. Nicky,
    I just want to tell you that your portraits of birds are really great. The detail and backgrounds are designed with the character of each bird. I am a wildlife artist also. Birds are also a favorite subject of mine. They have so much beauty that god created in them.
    Ann Marie

    • Hello Ann Marie,

      Thank you for your lovely comments re my birdlife artworks. I am so very flattered. It is always very special to receive recognition from like minded artists.

      Happy painting and sending very best regards,

      Nicky Shelton.

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