Inside Amber Nuttall’s studio.

Studio Visit

This Talented Still-Life Painter Is One To Watch

Melbourne-based artist Amber Nuttall is a textile designer and product developer by day, but for the last few years she’s been exploring another talent that runs in her family: oil painting.

Amber asked her ‘Nana’ — who paints realistic landscapes, florals, and the ocean — to teach her the basics, and since then, her practice has taken off! Her mesmerising paintings include still-life depictions of flowers, foliage, food and memories from her travels.

Christina Karras

‘My studio is in the spare bedroom in my apartment in Thornbury,’ Amber says.

‘Our bikes are on one side and my wardrobe on the other, so it’s usually rather busy when there’s a few paintings too!’


Amber’s mixing palette.

The beautiful botanicals and natives in her studio are also reflected in her works.

‘I started painting more during lockdowns and I was naturally drawn to still lifes, painting flowers, foliage, food and objects I had.’

Her paintings come from a mix of reference images and from her imagination.

‘Recently I’ve been looking at plants in the landscape.’

Amber says she starts her pieces with sketches that she revisits.

‘Recently I’ve started doing small coloured trials in paint, which are like miniature versions before the final pieces, testing colours and layout before I start on canvas.’

She’s recently completed two pieces that will feature in a group show, ‘Place(s) Called Home’, which opens at Brunswick Street Gallery on September 14!

Amber’s works from her debut solo show at Brunswick Street Gallery. From left: ‘Making Laksa’, ‘Pot Of Geraniums, On Table, In Garden’ and ‘The Balcony’.

Christina Karras
11th of September 2023

Amber Nuttall is a talented emerging painter whose work we can’t get enough of.

The Melbourne artist says she’s been a ‘maker’ ever since she was a kid, trying any and every creative outlet she could.

‘I moved to Melbourne from Ballarat and went into studying textile design at RMIT, which merged my interests of art, illustration, and design,’ Amber says. For the past five years, she’s been working in textile design and product development, creating prints with hand-painted elements and homewares, like tableware, rugs, and furniture.

But she only really started oil painting three or four years ago, after approaching her ‘Nana’ for some guidance. ‘She is a realistic painter of the Australian bush, rainforests, florals, and the ocean’ Amber explains.’ When I was younger, we’d paint with watercolour, picking flowers and plants from her garden to study.’

It didn’t take Amber long to cultivate a style of her own, and in lockdown she was drawn to practicing still life paintings of flowers, foliage, and food. Her vignettes hide textural and detailed brushstrokes, and her warm, muted colours draw you into the scenes on the canvas. She has a knack for capturing quiet moments in her everyday life, from delicious meals shared with friends or a haul of fresh produce bought back from the markets.

Other paintings evolve from memories immortalised in a sketch while on holiday, like a dreamy view of or a peek inside the window of a florist’s workshop.

‘A great thing about still life is being able to create a narrative in the painting, triggering memories of meals shared, places or with everyday objects,’ Amber explains.

‘All my work starts out as drawings in a book, with rather illegible notes and rough studies of things and places. Sometimes there’s sketches of painting compositions or just items on their own, in between ideas for sculptural work, lamps, furniture or vessels.’

Hot off the heels of her first ever sold-out, solo show at Brunswick Street Gallery, Amber says she’s also been looking at garden scenes, buildings and landscapes, in addition to exploring ceramics — something she says her parents were into when she was a kid. It’s all a part of her ongoing creative practice, which she says ‘continues to be an exploration’!

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