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Nichol, Elsie

LIFE MEMBER

There
 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
 Memories

She 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.