Thursday, 2 July 2015

The silver lining.

'The silver lining' - impasto acrylic on canvas 2x2 inch

This has been the worst summer that I can remember, as far as rubbish weather is concerned. When you're walking the dogs on the beach in June and still need a hat and gloves, you know something isn't right.

the silver lining+contemporary landscape art+nicola mclean

Anyway, there I was on one such day a couple of weeks ago feeling quite fed up at the lack of summer and wondering if there was a Daylight Saving Time version of Seasonal Affective Disorder where although we've got plenty of daylight, there's no actual sun, thus putting folk like me into a funk, when I looked across at the horizon and noticed a beautiful chink of light streaming through the otherwise grey sky. I thought to myself 'this must be the silver lining every cloud apparently has', and took a quick photo on my phone.

TINY ART+Scottish art+Nicola McLean

Back at the cottage I decided to do a little painting of it which I then framed and added to my Artfinder shop. A few days later, it was featured in one of Artfinder's newsletters and sold later that day! Turns out it really was a silver lining!

contemporary landscape art+impasto+silver lining+nicola mclean

In other news, in a not so silver lining event, I am currently typing this one handed after learning a very painful lesson on Monday - if your two females dogs decide to have a fight, do NOT attempt to separate them. I did and got a springer bite on my wrist plus a little westie nip at the back of my leg, for my troubles.

Turns out that Skye is currently going through her adolescence which includes trying to assert her dominance with the other dogs. Apparently it's not uncommon for female dogs to fight on occasion which is why she went for Brodie and not Reuben. My instinct was to separate them as I honestly thought she would kill Brodie, being so much bigger, but even after I got them apart, Brodie came running back for more, which is how I ended up in the crossfire! 

The view that inspired the painting

I've learnt that I should've thrown a bucket of cold water over them instead because unfortunately I came away worse than either dog, neither of whom had so much as a scratch and who were back to being pals, sniffing each other's butts five minutes later and wondering what all the fuss was about. 

As for me, well I got a tetanus shot, antibiotics and sutures at A&E but at the moment, because of soft tissue bruising, I can't use my left arm at all which, being left handed, means it's all very awkward trying to do anything and the worst part is, I can't paint! I also can't drive so I'm stuck at home and feeling very frustrated at my inability to finish all the paintings I've got in various stages of completion. Hopefully, it won't be too long before the muscle heals and I can pick up a palette knife (and straighten my hair which currently looks like I'm channelling the wild woman of Borneo!)

oh, and to add insult to injury, would you believe we actually had one day of sunshine yesterday and, what with the big bandage round my wrist and being unable to use my arm to apply sun cream to my right side, I couldn't even sit outside to enjoy it! 

Linking as always to Paint Party Friday, it might just take me longer than usual to leave you a comment! 

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Summer of color and the Seven Chakras...

chakras+prana+energy centres+yoga+reiki+art+Nicola McLean
All seven chakra paintings

So, I didn’t think through the whole using my chakra paintings for the Summer of Color challenge thing as I’ve finished all four sets and they’ve gone off to their respective homes so although I took photos of each one by itself and as a complete set, I can’t now improvise and photograph them against a coloured background to make sure they fit with the colour scheme of the week!!

Looks like I’ll just have to forego the remaining the three weeks of the challenge.

I can sort of cheat for this week and use a photo of both the purple Third Eye chakra and the yellow Solar Plexus chakra – that way I’ve used the colour combinations but just haven’t used them together in the same painting!! Does that count?
'Ajna' - Third eye or brow chakra

'Manipura' or Solar Plexus Chakra

Anyway, I ended up being a little painting production line, working on all these chakra paintings simultaneously. That way I could do all the backgrounds at the same time ensuring I used the same paint colour combinations and then when they were all dry I was able to paint the symbols on one after the other.

Chakra symbols+paintings+impasto+Nicola McLean
all the same yet slightly different!

I was asked how I achieved the raised effect for the symbols. The answer is lots of layers of paint applied using a palette knife (very, very carefully as they’re really quite small). I could’ve mixed the paint with acrylic thickening medium but for some reason I didn’t do this (hindsight is a wonderful thing) as that probably would have saved me having to go over each symbol four times to get them as raised as I wanted! (In total there were 4 sets of 7 plus one extra heart chakra so 29 mini painted symbols!)

solar plexus chakra+symbol+art+Nicola McLean
close up of the solar plexus symbol

Although it required a lot of concentration and a very steady hand, it was quite therapeutic and the plus side is that as a result of the inevitable spare paint I ended up with (I always squirt too much out of my squeezy paint bottles) I was able to start five other little landscape paintings three that are currently works in progress, one which is finished and one more which is finished and had already sold!

I’d quite like a set of these for myself but I'll need to order some more mini canvasses first!

So because I don't think I can fit these in with the colour challenges from here on in, I'm just going to post all seven in this blog post so you can see what they look like together and get them out of the way for those of you thinking 'enough with the chakras already!' (There are links to what each one represents under each photo if you are interested. Here goes:

'Sahasrara' or Crown Chakra

'Ajna' or Third Eye chakra

'Visuddha' or Thoat Chakra 

'Anahata' or Heart chakra

'Manipura' or solar plexus chakra

'Svadhisthana' or sacral chakra

'Muladhara' or root chakra

Seven chakras 

Anyway, this is sort of my entry to Week 3 of SOC and I'll be linking up as always to Paint Party Friday.

If you missed my earlier blog post, you can visit here (clue, it's a wee Northern Lights painting - my favourite kind of sky!)

Monday, 22 June 2015

In perpertuity. A northern lights painting.

northern lights+aurora borealis+contemporary scottish art+Nicola McLean

This is one of three mini paintings which sold from my Artfinder shop a couple of weeks ago.  Because I normally only blog once a week, I seem to have more paintings than blog posts at the moment so I've been going ahead and listing them for sale before I get round to blogging about them!

northern lights+aurora borealis+contemporary scottish art+Nicola McLean

This was inspired by a photo that S took (as always!) of the northern lights earlier this year filling the sky over the sand dunes at Melvich beach. 

Credit: S

It's another tiny one at only 2 x 2 inches which I popped into a box frame.

northern lights+aurora borealis+contemporary scottish art+Nicola McLean

In other news, I was delighted to receive a message via my website a week or so ago (not least because I didn't think anyone except me knew it existed!) asking to commission me to paint a northern lights scene as a surprise for a birthday later in the year. 

northern lights+aurora borealis+contemporary scottish art+Nicola McLean

It turned out that the person who commissioned me had searched northern light paintings on Google and mine came up which led him to my website and he happened to love the vibrant colours I use and is happy for me to come up with a scene for him. They're actually coming on holiday to the far north later in the year so fingers crossed the painting will hopefully be a reminder of them seeing the lights for themselves.

miniature contemporary scottish landscapes+art+Nicola McLean
Delighted that three of these have sold so far. 
I'll be back later in the week for week 3 of Summer of Colour and I'll be linking up as always to Paint Party Friday

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Summer of Color Week 2: In the pink..

Sacral chakra+chakra symbol+Svadhisthana+Impasto+Orange+Nicola McLean

So,  when I saw the colour selection for week two of Summer of Color which was two shades of pink and one shade of orange, I thought that my plan to submit a different chakra painting each week had been foiled as that colour combination doesn't crop up in any of my paintings (or in the chakras themselves for that matter!).  

Determined to find a way round this without having to deviate from my original plan, I had another look at my sacral chakra (Svadhisthana) painting which, granted, at first glance might look like a painting in various shades of orange with no hint of any pink at all. 

However, I had used a deep magenta mixed with orange to achieve the darker orange tones and so I figured if I photographed it against a background painted a different shade of pink then technically I could claim to have used two shades of pink and one shade of orange after all! 

Two pinks and an orange

So, I painted a slightly larger canvas in a bright pink (which I later discovered is also called magenta but in a different brand and therefore looks completely different) and hey presto, that the colour combination achieved!(Although looking at it on my computer screen the background looks more purple than pink so you'll have to take my word for it!)

'Svadhisthana' - close up of symbol for sacral chakra

I'm very happy to report that so far I've been commissioned to do four sets of each of the seven chakra paintings by my fellow reiki masters in training - that'll keep me busy for a while! I may put them in my Etsy shop as well but I'll wait and see how I feel after painting each one four times first!

As for the canvas that I painted pink? Well, I like to use up spare paint on blank canvasses which I then turn into a landscape. Sometimes I already know what I'm going to paint and sometimes the random paint sparks an idea - this is how it currently looks and I already see a winter scene evolving here:

A very early work in progress (or random paint slapped on with a palette knife!)

I'm linking with both SOC15 and Paint Party Friday so will be by to visit as many folk as I can over the weekend.


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