Sunday, 19 April 2015

Tiger, tiger burning bright...a commission

Tiger+endangered animal+wildlife+acrylic+impasto+impressionism+Nicola McLean
Tiger commission - impasto acrylic on canvas 40cm x 30cm

So, I was commissioned by someone who collects all things tiger, to do a painting in the thick impasto style I used on the rhino.

tiger+impasto+texture+painting+acrylic+Nicola McLean

Tiger's eye+Impasto+acrylic+Nicola McLean

Thanks to my favourite photo reference site (Paint My Photo) and to Gary Jones, who posted the photograph, I had a really beautiful photo of a tiger to work from.

impasto+acrylic+texture+painting+Nicola McLean

tiger's eye+impasto+acrylic+painting+impressionism+wild animal+Nicola McLean

I was initially a wee bit concerned that the way the rhino worked in the impasto style was just a fluke and that maybe it wouldn't work for the tiger, but I am very glad to say that it worked really well and I am very happy with the outcome. More importantly, Ian, the person who commissioned the piece loves it so that is the main thing!

We even had a wee photo opportunity when Ian asked for a photo when he came to collect it!

Photo courtesy of Ian Pearson - Ian and me with the Tiger

Tiger+canvas+painting+impasto+impressionism+colourful+vibrant+Nicola McLean

Tiger+painting+commission+Nicola McLean

Now that this one turned out better than I'd hoped I'd like to do more animals in this style - I'd especially like to paint my wee cat, Lily, like this but I've a few other commissions and paintings to do for exhibitions first so perhaps I'll get round to that later in the year.

I'm blogging a little earlier than normal this week but I'll be visiting Paint Party Friday as always. Thanks for popping by! 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A better view...a Scottish Landscape.

'View from Glen Loth' - impasto acrylic on canvas 40cm x 50cm 

I promise this is the last of my older paintings that I'm going to 'do-over' but it was hanging on the walls on our living room and I just kept sneaking glances at it and the sides and those black edgy bits started to really bug me. Plus I just wanted to zhuzh it up a bit with brighter colours and more texture - it's an addiction!

So, this is it and like all the other pieces I’ve redone recently I’m much happier with it.

This is what it used to look like:

This one will be available to purchase via my shops in either Artfinder or Artgallery. About that, do you sell your work online? I'm curious to know what works best for you - your own website (if so, how do you get people to find it?) or online shops and, if so, which ones do you find best? 

If you do sell online do you stock the same painting in more than one store? I do, because it gives my art a better chance of being spotted, but I have had cases where paintings I'd forgotten I'd even listed on an online store sold and I had them in an actual exhibition at the time and had to ask for them back! Awkward. Of course that won't happen very often but still, what do you think - should a piece only be exclusively available in one place even if it means it has much less chance of selling? I'd be interested to know what other artists think of this.

close up of fields and hills

Close up of trees

close up of mountains

Anyway, that's the last of the do-overs; all other work posted on here from now on will be brand new, I promise!

The new (improved?)View from Glen Loth

With that in mind, here’s a wee sneaky peek at a very different type of commission. It’s something else to be grateful to the rhino painting for (see here if you aren’t sure what I’m talking about!) I received a commission for a tiger in the same thick impasto style as the rhino and that’s what I’m working on at the moment.

A sneaky peek of my latest commission

At first I wasn't sure if it would work but actually I'm really pleased with how it's going. Hopefully, the person who commissioned it will be happy too! I reckon one more painting session and it should be finished.

Once the tiger is finished then it's back to realism in gouache for a super cute wee dog portrait which I'm very much looking forward to painting especially because he's got black fur - yay!!

That's all my news for this week but I'll leave you with some words of wisdom (having learnt the hard way today) - don't try to be a multitasking domestic goddess/artist because you'll become so engrossed in your painting that your delicious homemade soup will burn to the bottom of the pan! True story. 

See you over at Paint Party Friday 

Thursday, 9 April 2015

A lot more than green and life's little wins and losses...

sunrise+Scotland+Baillie Wind Farm+Impasto acrylic+vibrant colour+Nicola McLean
'A lot more than green' - impasto acrylic 40cm x 50cm

So, a few weeks ago now I started a painting based on the sunrise coming up behind the wind turbines at Baillie Wind Farm. I’d painted a little mini one at the same time which I've already posted here and which is now available for sale in the Blue Tree Gallery or via my website.

This is the large version beside the mini version 'A little more than green' just to put the size difference into context!

impasto acrylic painting+vibrant colour+sunrise+Wind turbines+Nicola McLean
Little and large!

As well as the mini version of this, I have several other paintings on exhibition in the Blue Tree Gallery between now and June alongside other local artists and right now I'm busy working on three very different commissions.

and again.

I love that the days are stretching out so much now since the clocks went forward as it allows for a longer painting day - I'm always so much more productive during the spring and summer months (unless it's a particularly hot sunny day in which case I'll have to take advantage of such a rare occurrence and sit in the garden instead!)

Now that the weather has improved and the days are getting longer, it isn't just me that's been busy round Craggis Cottage - I'm very excited to report that S has finally been able to start work on Operation Art Shed. The support posts have been set into the ground (very firmly because of the strong winds up these parts!), the floor has been laid and the frame is starting to take shape. I can't wait to have my own painting space!

close up of edges

In other news - I won a dairy-free easter egg. Yay, me. I entered a Vegan Life Magazine giveaway on Facebook for Mulu Easter Eggs and I won one! I only found out on Tuesday so I haven't received it yet but I'll keep you posted on how it tastes! 

I sold another two paintings this week and I also won a whole £6.40 on a lottery ticket. (yes, six pounds and forty pence!)

Close up texture of sky

What I didn't win, however, was a shortlisted place in the Wildlife Artist competition that I entered my rhino into. I had been waiting on tenterhooks for an email to let me know the outcome and I finally got word last Thursday that it hadn't been selected. 

I'll admit that I had allowed myself to imagine that this piece would be good enough to make it onto the hallowed walls of the Mall Galleries. I wasn't so confident to think that I might win one of the category prizes but I did (foolishly) think that I might perhaps need a new frock for the opening night. 

close up texture of wind turbine

Well, that's me back down to earth with a bump! Who knows just exactly what the judges of these competitions are actually looking for but I refuse to let that artistic sensitivity, which I think we're all guilty of, allow me take it personally and let my self-confidence and my artistic muse both walk out the door in a huff. 

'A lot more than green'

I think what helps to put life's little disappointments into perspective is practising gratitude, where I make a conscious choice to be grateful for the little things that make me happy and don't dwell on the other things that make me less so. 

Obviously, I'd have been super grateful if my rhino had been shortlisted but I'm grateful that entering the competition in the first place made me create a painting that I'm proud of and that has a message which is really important to me.

Painted right round the edges 

Anyway, in the grand scheme of things an art competition isn't really that big a deal and there have already been many more ups than downs this year so I'll just console myself with some dairy-free chocolate egg and think about trying again next year. 

Well, that's all my news for this week. The large version of 'A lot more than green' is available to purchase on my website.

Thanks for popping by and I'll be linking up with Paint Party Friday as always to find out what everyone else has been up to. 

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Mya. A portrait of a cat.

cat+pet portrait+commissioned+animal art+Nicola McLean
'Mya' - acrylic on canvas 5x5 inches

So, last year I ran a pet portrait give-away competition. I subsequently painted a portrait of a beautiful and much loved calico cat called Tibby, who unfortunately had passed away.

Then earlier this year I was delighted to receive a message from Tibby's human, Wendy, commissioning me to paint a portrait of Tibby's daughter, Mya. Once I got a selection of photographs to work from, I got started and this is the finished piece. 

Reference photographs provided by Mya's mum, Wendy. 

I know some artists don't like painting black fur but I actually find it easier as you can pick out lots of different colours in the sheen of the fur.  White fur on the other hand, I find much more of a challenge and Mya had a lot of it - a really beautifully thick soft very white coat most everywhere except on her ears and top of her head where she had a cute little grey cap.

Anyway, I gave it my best shot and I'm very pleased to say that Wendy loves it. I was so eager to get it packaged and into the post that I completely forgot to take any close up photos other than the ones I'd sent by mail for approval so I was very grateful that Wendy sent me a few photos including both portraits together - I was also quite chuffed that I'd managed to get the turquoise backgrounds pretty much the same as I mix a few colours to get that shade and there's always the chance that it will be slightly different each time!

cats+calico cat+pet portraits+commissioned art+Nicola McLean
Mya and Tibby - photography courtesy of their humans

Funny enough, my next commission is also a cat but of a much bigger stripy variety! I've been asked to paint a tiger in the same style as the rhino so that's what I'm working on now. It'll be interesting to see how that turns out as the rhino's hide lent itself perfectly to the impasto paint but I'm not entirely sure if a tiger's fur will work in quite the same fashion. Still, that's what I love about painting - constantly setting myself new challenges and adapting and modifying techniques to suit the subject matter. I'll let you know how I get on!


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