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LIFE MEMBERThere was art in Elsie Nichol’s family going back three generations to her Great‐Great Grand father who was not a ‘Sunday Painter’ but a serious artist in Queen Victorian times. Elsie’s family had always hoped to see this ability emerge in their own offspring but it was only Elsie who received this talent. When a baby of 14 months, she would pull a door mat from its place and make patterns in the dust with her tongue. Her parents, realising her talent then bought crayons for her. This talent has not emerged again in her family. Elsie was born in Christchurch in 1930 the family moving to Wellington 5 years later.
She worked with her father, a dentist, as nurse until his retirement and Elsie married Bill, from a Southland sheep farming family, who died in 1970. The couple had raised three children; Young Bill and twin girls, Silvia and Christine. The family lived in Melrose until moving to Kilbirnie Crescent in 2003.
Elsie was educated at Marsden College, but her daughters attended Wellington East College. She believes State education can’t be bettered. Her son works for Fontera while Sylvia, a scientist, has been to Antarctica for NIWA (National Institute for Water and Atmosphere). Christine, a nurse, assists at Scorching Bay School and is organist at All saints Church in Hataitai. Elsie has five grandchildren.
Club MemoriesShe and Anne Radford attended St Jude’s Church in Lyall Bay together and Anne encouraged Elsie to come to the Monday Night group in 1972. The club was then situated in the Miramar Fire Station (now Miramar Library) and members included George Linklater, George Short, John Steven, Lorna Hewitt and Rosemary Mawby.
Elsie became tutor for the group at a later stage, taking over the role from Anne Radford. Most of the group were retired so they moved to Friday afternoons.
“It was great fun,” - recalls Elsie. “We had a speaker once a month such as Neville Lodge, Sister Julia Lynch or members from the Academy and occasionally a theme night such as Gay Paree or to do with the sea where the rooms were decorated and members would dress in appropriate costume. We also had nights where members would criticize other’s paintings. It was just a wonderful period.”
Preferring Acrylic, Elsie works in a traditional style and is not influenced by any artist. “I just draw” she says. “I don’t think about style and have never tried abstract.”
Elsie went on the committee in 1977, was Vice President in 1992 and the President of the club for three years 2001–2003. She considers being made a Life Member in May 2008 a tremendous compliment. “There are others who should have been asked before me” - she says.
Artist Len Maxim, Elsie’s partner since 2002 says Elsie was always helpful to emerging artists, never under a strain and always able to get sitters for portraiture, even to the point of approaching.