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.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Wood you credit it...

Way back when I first started my blog I used to do a post each week called Saturday Shout Out which would be about a different artist/crafter that I admired.  I only did it for a little while 1) because it was a bit of a pain emailing folk for permission to admire them on my blog and wait for them to get back to me and 2) because I didn't really have any readers back then at all so no one got to appreciate these other artists' work.

Anyway, it's not yet Saturday but I thought it was about time I gave gave a shout out to my lovely husband, S, in appreciation of just how handy and talented he actually is.

You probably already know that he takes brilliant photographs which I use as reference photos for many of my paintings. It's a bit of a standing joke now that each time I say I want to use a photo of his, he'll say 'Credit S?' because when I do put his photos on my blog along with my painted interpretation of it, I always put 'Credit S' in the caption! Hence the title of this post. 

So, without further ado, here are just some of the things he's made from upcycled pallets this year. 

Reiki+tealight holder+SteveMcLeanUpcycling
Tea light holder with Reiki Symbol & chakra crystals for when I practice reiki


Kitchen Island made from up-cycled pallets




Picture frames made from up-cycled pallets - Photos by S as well!

A quirky frame using a mouse trap in a way I love!

A doggy bed for Skye

A cat bed for Lily which she wouldn't use until....

S turned it into a duplex - bed on top, a shelf in the middle to store her food and her litter tray hidden at the bottom!

Lily's self-contained pad!
A sign for me


A sign for S


A wee surprise for me made out of driftwood


Signs for little girls

Signs for dogs

Even signs for guinea pigs!



A storage box for my acrylic paints so I can separate them by colour!

Now, I have a list as long as my arm of other things I'd like him to make out of pallets but first and foremost and most exciting of all - he's making me an art studio completely from pallets! It's in the planning stages and he needs to acquire a lot of pallets but I'm very excited about it. Inside the shelves and storage will all be like the paint box above and he's even planning on putting in a little wood burning stove for those cold Scottish winters!

S's wee sketch of what my art studio will look like!

A friend of his gave him some amazing long double glazed windows that he was getting rid of anyway, so there'll be plenty of light and I won't have to keep clearing my paints and works in progress away to set the table for tea! I can't wait!

I'm very lucky to have such a handy and thoughtful husband - thank you S!
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