Biography

Born: 1956, Moascar, Egypt.
Educated: Maidstone Grammar School.
Moved to Cornwall: 1978.
St. Ives Society of Artists: 1999 to 2013.
Chair, St. Ives Society of Artists: 2003 to 2009.
Academician, South West Academy of Fine and Applied Arts: 2006 to 2010.
National Trust Godolphin House Artist-In-Residence: 2013 to present.


“… in a class of her own, a watercolourist extraordinaire” – Frank Ruhrmund, The Cornishman, 2010.

Nicola has had ten solo shows in St. Ives and has exhibited in numerous mixed exhibitions from The Royal Watercolour Society Open (2010 and 2011), The Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour (2010), The Singer & Freidlander (2005) and the South West Academy, Exeter (2003 to 2008). She has work in major collections such as Chris Beetles, St. James, SW1, The Christian Guild and The National Trust and in private collections worldwide.

The historic property Godolphin House, near Helston and it’s surrounding Estate border Nicola’s home. This magnetic place has been at the centre of her artisic practice since she started painting in 1993.

When The National Trust acquired the estate in 2000 she was invited to help with their education programme. In 2008 and 2009 she held studio events in partnership with Cornwall Open Studios. 2010 and 2011 saw a complete refurbishment of the House and in 2012 and 2013 Nicola held studio events when the house was open to the public. Now, as the artist-in-residence, she will have some of her work on show at various times of the year (see 2015 Exhibitions page for more information when available).

Artist’s Statement

“A watercolourist since 1993, I have gradually evolved a way of painting that mirrors the fluidity of changing light and weather experienced in the landscape. I prepare my paper with textured gessos and then flood that layer with transparent washes of watercolour and inks. Pouring, tipping and mixing until an alchemy of pigment, water and chance holds promise of a painting that, through a final process of scraping-back and washing-off, will hold the special atmospheric qualities I am looking for.”


"I’ve chosen to paint in watercolour because no other medium is so demanding. With no inherent weight or texture, it has traditionally been seen as the more tentative mode of expression. The challenge for me is to make my paintings as monumental, final and absolute as possible – while still exploiting the fluid and transparent properties of the medium.
Although it’s vital to work as often as possible from life, the first step in the creative process, I need then to follow that with work in my studio to produce a more subjective response. Working on a much larger scale than is physically possible outside, I can concentrate on the quality of paint and introduce colours and marks that are not merely descriptive".

http://www.nicolatilley.com/