Wednesday, 30 April 2014

(Im)Perfectly Impasto

Twilight over Orkney+Acrylic Impasto+Expressionism+Nicola McLean
'Twilight Over Orkney' - acrylic impasto on box canvas 5 x 5 inches

So, firstly thanks to everyone who left such lovely and constructive comments on my Fox post. I'd especially like to thank Leslie whose comment about 'style' really made me think. In fact, it made me realise that perhaps I've been looking at things the wrong way round.

This is what she said:

"Style is something that happens while the artist is creating. I do not think of it as something the artist consciously does. 

It happens over time and develops with one's character. It may even be totally elusive to the artist himself. It happens between the artist and his materials and flows from the thoughts and the hand and the movements from which the piece is created. 

What a wonderful question. I think the most frequent thing style becomes confused with is an artist's choice of technique. They are two separate things"

And she is completely right - my style is simply the way I paint regardless of whether I use acrylics or gouache and whether my technique vears towards the end result being pointillism, expressionism or realism. My good friend Sandra's comment also reinforces this as she said she could see my 'style' in all the work I post here.

Isn't it funny how a different way of looking at things helped clear the fog clouding how I felt I should paint and left the way clear for me to shut up about my crisis of confidence and just paint!

So, with that in mind, I’ve been experimenting with some miniature impasto acrylic landscapes over the last couple of week.

I wanted to try something smaller and a bit different for some of the local art exhibitions this year. There are so many very talented artists up here and many of them do landscapes because there is such a wealth of inspiration all around us. So I wanted to give the local landscapes a bit of a different spin.

I love Instagram and often post photos of sunsets, beachscapes and local scenery. I really like the different effects Instagram gives to the tone and feel of a photo and it sparked an idea of using my Instagram photos as inspiration for some landscape paintings. I like the ragged frame Instagram adds to photos and decided to give my paintings a version of that by bringing the black of the sides of the canvas slightly up and onto the edges of the painting.  

The Instagram Photo I took looking over to Orkney from Thurso

I’m doing a series of four for the upcoming Latheron Art Exhibition in May and so far I’ve completed two of them. The others are still works in progress that I’m aiming to finish this weekend.

I love impasto - it’s so much fun to slap great big plabs of paint on with a palette knife and it also means because it requires drying time that I can work on several pieces at once which suits my short attention span! I love the really textured almost 3D effect to the end result and I'm having a lot of fun creating them, which ultimately is the main thing. 


  1. Your "Twighlight" impasto painting is fantastic Nic!! Beautiful color choices.

  2. Leslie is a very wise soul, She is so right! I love this Nic, I also love the view. I revisited Orkney a couple of years ago and it reminds me of a happy time. i think working on small pieces is a super idea.

  3. I do like the texture and colour.

  4. great texture Nic, there is something very satisfying in slapping on paint with a palette knife.........oooh yes.

    Annette x

  5. I love the texture! Never used impasto before but it looks tempting to me now ... Very true what Leslie says ...

  6. Well I've seen one of them already on Facebook and think it is wonderful!! I really love it!
    A series sounds perfect too... Robert Genn once said that a style is evident only by ones academic mistakes... I thought this was a brilliant way of looking at it! :0)

  7. I wanted to be an oil painter and ended up falling in love with watercolor. Anyway, I like your impasto and can identify with your liking the 3-D effect because that is exactly why I wanted to oil paint.
    Thank you for posting my comment on style, Nic. That is handed down from an instructor I considered a mentor years ago. So, this is a "pass it on" to another artist friend. I felt the same as you, like a burden had been lifted from my shoulders and I could go on to create and enjoy my passion with more freedom.


Your comments always colour me happy! Thank you for popping by.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...