After leaving school, Nicholas sought a master to train him in his art and at the age of 16, he travelled to Italy to gain an audience with the portrait painter, Pietro Annigoni, who came to fame in the UK in 1955 with his first portrait of the Queen. Annigoni accepted the young pupil on the understanding that Nicholas would have to follow his strict ideas on the importance of drawing, to learn rapid drawing from the model and the constant use of a sketchbook. Three very beneficial years in Florence followed as a student with the master and attending the Scuola Del Nudo of the Florence Academy:
“I drew, I painted, I learned at first hand about the preparation and use of traditional materials. Above all I watched Annigoni at work – portraits, landscapes, large-scale religious compositions, sculpture and lithographs. He combined a zest for life with a totally uncompromising dedication to his art - an attitude that has had a lasting influence on his students even though we have all developed different approaches to painting.”
Nicholas now aged 67, is a veteran of one-man shows in London and overseas as well as the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, the Royal West of England Academy and the Royal Society of Marine Artists. He has twice won the coveted Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Award, and has works in their collection. This Montreal based foundation exists specially to encourage artists working in representational styles.