Philippa Nikulinsky at Boola Bardip

A watercolour by internationally renowned artist, botanical illustrator and author, Philippa Nikulinsky AM is one of the many delights of the WA Museum Boola Bardip.

This work is the result of an approach by the WA Museum in 2019 to see if Philippa was interested in creating a painting of WA wildflowers, particularly from Kwongan habitats for the new museum. Of course, she was.  Head up to level 3 to see her exquisite painting in the museum’s Wild Life exhibition.

Kwongan, or kwongkan comes from the Bibbulmun Noongar word for sand plain and is now used by botanists and ecologists to describe this specific community of vegetation in WA’s south west. It consists of plains in an Australian sense of open country rather than in a strict sense of flat country.

Philippa Nikulinsky with her watercolour – a sample of little plants, animal and insect life from the ‘Kwongan’ region | credit: WA Museum Boola Bardip

Philippa, a WA Parks Ambassador, was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2016 for significant service to the visual arts and was further recognised with an Honorary Doctorate (UWA) in 2019.

She and her husband Alex Nikulinsky, who is also a well-known artist, travel into isolated outback regions, often staying for months at a time, to paint the Australian bush, its flora and fauna. They are currently planning their next field trip, heading into the north east of the State.

‘Alex and I have started work on a new book, hoping to share with everyone some special places and what is growing and living there,’ Philippa said.

‘We don’t go with preconceived ideas. We stop in a place and spend days, often weeks walking, looking and feeling the ambience. Alex draws the landscape and I draw the life in that landscape.

‘We both go our own way, each depicting what we see. Alex often focuses on the trees.

‘We’re excited about our upcoming field work. Our bush work is our favourite time together. At our age we aren’t predicting any end date for this new project.

‘We just jog along and do the work.’

Below are links to view collections by Philippa and Alex, with purchasing opportunities, and Studio Nikulinsky featuring beautiful botanical art stationery and gifts designed by daughter-in-law Angela Nikulinsky.