Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The making of Scrappy and a Pet Portrait Giveaway

Pet Portrait+Dog+Lurcher+Acrylic+Box Canvas+Nicola McLean
'Scrappy' - acrylic on box canvas 5 x 5 inches

I’m really quite excited about today’s post for a number of reasons. But let’s start at the beginning. This is Scrappy, the lurcher. Scrappy’s person won the bid for a £50 gift voucher that I offered as a prize in the 3rd of the Lurcher/Greyhound charity auctions that I donated artwork to earlier this year. She decided to put the £50 towards a commissioned portrait of her dogs. 

Having had a look at the different style of portraits that I do she liked the miniature canvas in acrylic so opted to have two separate portraits done because as well as Scrappy, there is of course, Scooby. Unlike his namesake, this Scooby is not a fan of being photographed so is proving a little more challenging to get a good reference photo of. In the meantime, I got to work on Scrappy’s portrait.

At the early stages
My multi-talented husband, S, creates time lapse videos using the amazing photos he gets of sunset and northern lights and I often thought it would be a good idea to get a timelapse video of a painting from start to finish. The thing is, other than point and press, I don’t know much about the technical side of cameras so that is where S proved to be the best husband ever. He set his camera up on a tripod beside me (we discovered after watching the first bit back that we needed to move it to my right side as I’m left handed and my hand was getting in the way of the camera!). 

S set it to take a photo every 3 seconds and gave me a little remote control thingie so if I needed to stop for any reason (bathroom breaks, letting the dogs out, getting a cuppa etc) then I just needed to hit the button on the remote and then start it again when I was ready.

I spent about 8 hours on the portrait and S then spent a further 3 odd hours stitching together all the frames, creating the title and descriptions and putting it all together with music that fit the timing. He managed to squeeze it all down to about 5 minutes.

I’m pretty chuffed with it - I think it turned out well for a first attempt and I'll know better where to place the camera next time. 

Dog+Lurcher+Pet Portrait+Nicola McLean+animalartandsoul.com

The third piece of news is that I recently created a new website specifically for animal art and pet portraits called www.animal-art-and-soul.com To celebrate my website launch I'm having a give-away - a custom portrait like this one of Scrappy on 5 x 5 acrylic. Postage within the UK will also be free. 

So, how do you win? Just click on the link below - hopefully I've set it up right! Entry is open until 31 August 2014 so please share the love and let your animal loving friends and family know so they can enter too! The winner will be picked a random  and I'll announce who it is here and on my Facebook page so do pop back!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Reflections of the West - Scottish Landscape

Scottish Highlands+Landscape+Impasto+Acrylic+Nicola McLean
'Reflections of the West' - impasto landscape 6 x 4 inches

So, the Society of Caithness Artists annual exhibition had its preview last night and Angela and I were running round sticking red dots on all the pieces that sold. Unfortunately the only red dots I got were of the itchy scratchy variety following a midge feeding frenzy about my person from sitting in the garden a couple of days earlier!

Me beside my 2 gouache animal pieces

This is my second year to exhibit in this show and it’s the biggest art show for our local area now in its 79th year. Unfortunately I’ve been told that it does tend to be a bit of a ‘closed shop’ with the same well-known local artists selling out year after year and new folk, like me, struggling to get noticed, so to speak. Still, hope springs eternal and it’s open for 2 weeks so never say never (at least not for another 2 weeks) so I’ll keep sending positive thoughts to the Universe for a sale or two!

I submitted two large acrylic pieces – the landscape and the Highland Cow and also two gouache pieces – the seal and the close up of the horse’s eye.

My two acrylic pieces

Angela and her fabulous pastel lambs

I’ve been working on more miniature landscapes of the beautiful far north using the up-cycled canvasses that used to have Twisty Town paintings on them.

Scottish Highlands+impasto+acrylic+landscapes+art+Nicola McLean

This one is entitled ‘Reflections of the West’ and again I used a beautiful photograph, that S took, for my reference. These miniature landscapes are all available for sale on my website.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Raindrops on Roses and whiskers on Kittens...

Art+Macro+Realism+gouache+raindrops+pebbles+Nic McLean
'After the rain' - postcard in gouache (15cm x 10cm)
Well, actually raindrops on a leaf and there are no kittens just one little bowling ball shaped cat sitting purring on my knee as I stretch awkwardly over her to reach the keyboard.

Gouache+raindrops+postcard+art+macro+Nic McLean

This is taken from a macro photograph I took in our driveway one wet day quite a while ago. I love macro photography and it's the one function on my camera that I can actually use.  

If anyone remembers my rainy window paintings a while back you'll know I'm a little bit fascinated with rainy reflections and I just loved the way the drops sat on the leaf in this photo. My previous raindrop paintings were a little bit more abstract and I wanted to try my hand at a more realistic painting so when I heard that GreatArt were running a postcard challenge competition  it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a go. 

Normally with on-line art competitions you just send a jpeg but for this one it has to be posted to them so I'll get that off tomorrow with plenty of time for the closing date on 30 July. Wish me luck!

Art+Macro+gouache+raindrops+pebbles+realism+Nic McLean

Monday, 14 July 2014

Summer of Colour Week 6 - Raspberry, Tangerine and Lemon

That's 6 weeks of summer come and gone already and I think we've had about 4 days when it was warm enough to sit in the garden. Sigh. Still, on the plus side, if it was hot everyday then I'd never get any art done!

Summer of Color 2014 Week 6+Nicola McLean
ACEO Landscape in gouache
This week's colours were the perfect summer colours for finishing off my series of ACEO landscapes/seascapes with a sunset sky.  I'm sure it was raspberry when I started - I think it may have made a fruit salad with the tangerine and it's ended up a little bit mango! 

The colour prompt was:

Raspberry, Tangerine and a pop of Lemon
That's the challenge over for another year. But before you go off to the Summer of Colour blog, Flickr or Facebook page, here's a quick recap of the last 6 weeks:

Thanks very much for popping by and thanks to Kristin for being such a wonderful host again this year.
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