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Lily Johannah Nicholson

Studio Visit

Based on a 50-acre, off-the-grid farm in Tanja, on the Far South Coast of NSW, artist Lily Johannah Nicholson lives a simple, idyllic life. Here, from her humble home studio, with her baby boy Dusty by her side, Lily creates distinctive watercolour and gouache paintings – with stockists as far afield at The Hamptons, New York!

Lily’s work will go on show closer to home this week, in a joint exhibition entitled ‘Listen’ at Saint Cloche Gallery in Sydney, opening this Wednesday August 16th.

14th August, 2017

Artist Lily Johannah Nicholson with her artworks. Photo – Sam Riles.

The Tanja-based artist’s recent paintings are primarily driven by her experience being a new mum. Photo – Sam Riles.

I didn’t plan on being one of those artists who’d have a baby and everything stops and revolves around that person, that new life, and I know it’s totally clichéd but “Mum Life” is all encompassing,’ says Lily. Pictured are some sketches of her muse Dusty, which she references in her paintings. Photo – Sam Riles.

My works are generally an experiment as most of the forms are unplanned and I never really know what will happen once the paint hits the paper,’ says the artist. Photo – Sam Riles.

Lily’s painting spot in their “shed home” beautifully fitted out by her partner Jono. Photo – Sam Riles.

Lily is exhibiting work in a joint show with Jordana Henry at Saint Cloche this month. Photo – Sam Riles.

Lily in her home studio, which is presently a shed, as they plan to build their forever home on this property in Tanja. Photo – Sam Riles.

They returned to the far South Coast of NSW, where both Lily and Jono grew up, after living in Byron. Photo – Sam Riles.

Watercolour artworks by Lily. Photo – Sam Riles.

Lucy Feagins
Monday 14th August 2017

Lily Johannah Nicholson is living the dream. Based on the Far South coast of NSW  with her partner Jono and baby boy Dusty, Lily and her family live a self sufficient, off-the-grid life, complete with an orchard and veggie gardens, pigs, cows, ducks, chooks, goats and more. ‘It’s a simple and sometimes tough life, but we love it’ Lily says.

Lily studied Visual Arts at Southern Cross University in Lismore, and majored in Printmaking. Though they both grew up on the NSW South Coast, she and Jono spent many years living in Byron Bay, before returning to the South coast two years ago. ‘A few years back, mum sent us a newspaper clipping with a farm for sale in Tanja, just outside the town where we both grew up’ Lily recalls. ’50 acres, no electricity or plumbing, with just a few run down shacks and a half built shed on it. We sent our parents to check it out, and bought it the next week. Pretty scary!’

These days, home is a sweet, very simple  ‘shed house’, and in-between working on the farm and being a hands on Mum, Lily creates beautiful paintings on paper from a little studio she has set up here.

‘My works are generally an experiment, as most of the forms are unplanned and I never really know what will happen once the paint hits the paper’ the artist explains. Creating a distinctive colour palette is also a major part of her process. ‘I’m constantly on the look out for interesting combinations, screen shotting and pinning madly’ the artist confesses. ‘Mixing colours is something I really enjoy… though lately my work has taken on a much softer and more minimal tone’.

Over the last twelve months, Lily’s creative output has been informed her experience of being a new Mum. ‘I didn’t plan on being one of those artists who’d have a baby and everything stops and revolves around that person, and I know it’s totally clichéd but “Mum Life” is all encompassing’ the artist explains. ‘I began drawing him in the wee hours, when he wanted to play (and not sleep), then I drew him while he fed, while he slept in my arms… I’ve a bunch of little sketches on odd pieces of paper that I now use to inform my paintings. It’s nice, having a little muse continually by my side.’

Later this week, Lily’s latest exhibition ‘LISTEN’ will open at Saint Cloche gallery in Sydney. For this show Lily has paired up with long time friend and fellow painter Jordana Henry, to present an exhibition that represents a ‘visual conversation’ between the two artists. 

‘Listen’ by Lily Johannah Nicholson and Jordana Henry
August 16th to 27th.
Saint Cloche gallery
37 MacDonald St, Paddington, Sydney.

Lily’s work can also be found in Sydney at The Plant Room,  Natalie Marie Jewellery in Avalon, Little Winnie and Taninaka San in Bangalow and internationally at Destination Haus in The Hamptons, New York.

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