Thursday, 26 June 2014

View from Glen Loth in impasto acrylic (and the impression of an expression!)

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

I've recently started reading a really useful book that my friend, Angela, lent me called 'Finding your visual voice' and it helps you to pinpoint what really inspires you to paint and what you respond to both visually and emotionally when looking at life and creating art - there are exercises to complete throughout the book and questions to answer which make you think more about why and how you paint. Now, while I know it isn’t that important to pigeon hole ourselves into any particular category, as I was reading the book although specific art movements, as such, aren't mentioned, it made me curious to know if my impasto work could best be likened to:

  • impressionist
  • post-impressionist
  • expressionist
  • fauvism
  • any of the many other art movements, or 
  • none of the above?
close up section of the painting

I did a little digging on Google (which can muddy the waters every bit as much as it can enlighten) and looking at examples of artwork I figured that perhaps I was a bit of an expressionist (with my impasto work at least as my gouache is mostly realistic). But then I Googled some more and other examples were nothing like my work so I did some more digging on the differences between the various art movements and the resulting styles.
close up section of the painting

Well, apart from learning the names of the group of artists and the timespan when each created their respective movement I'm no wiser - when you look up images, some of the same pieces of art appear under both impressionism and expressionism and although there might be 5 different artists described as ‘impressionists’ none of their work looks at all alike in a way that would make you say 'ah yes, he was clearly an impressionist'! So the upshot is that now I'm really not sure what I am but I think perhaps more impressionist than expressionist with maybe a little bit of fauvism thrown in!

Scottish Landscape+Acrylics+Art+Impasto+Nicola McLean

To be honest, I don’t think it really matters as, at the time these movements were created, it was just a bunch of artists frustrated with the limitations of the time and pushing the boundaries to create something new – each one seems to overlap and lead on to the next one.  So, I guess that most artists today just paint in the way that they are inspired to and chances are they might be a little bit this and a little bit that and that is exactly what this book is helping me to discover about myself!

Close up section of the painting
Anyway, this is my largest landscape to date, taken from a photo S took at the top of Glen Loth (which is a tiny rutted, potholed one track road with grass growing up the middle going through the mountains which shortens the journey by about 20 miles when driving from where we live south to Inverness but which I would never, ever drive myself as there are very few passing places and if a car came towards me we'd end up having a stand off as to who was going to reverse - and, as I'm so rubbish at driving backwards, it wouldn't be me!). 

SM-Art Photography+View from Glen Loth+Scotland+Highlands
Credit S: View from the top of Glen Loth

This is the same view I used for my ACEO landscape for the SOC4 week 3 on Tuesday. I used palette knives for this piece and really enjoyed the looser more painterly way of working but just don't ask me what art movement it belongs to!

Acrylic Landscape+Impasto+Scottish Highlands+Nicola McLean

I'm linking up with Paint Party Friday. I haven't been there nearly as often this year but I do try to find time to visit as many of the artists who link up as I can and please know that I always appreciate the time you take to visit here and leave a comment.  


  1. What a wonderful landscape!!! I Love it, it is fresh, lively and vibrant yet it also exudes peace and tranquil space. The little fence leads the eye in as does the winding road. It really doesn't matter what genre of painting we fall into, the point is that you have your own style of seeing the world, and if you pick up a bit of this and that from various artists along the way all well and good, after all artists are like magpies... drawn to the shape, colours and textures of all we see.

  2. It's the McLeanist style and I think it's a great painting :-)

  3. It's Gorgeous! That's what it is!! No Labels.... Just simply gorgeous!!

  4. Stunning and very, very inspiring piece. Amazing. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Wow, that is a beautiful place and you made a beautiful painting of it, whether it's expressionism or impressionism or fauvism or any kind of -ism ;-) Love seeing the close-ups too!

  6. I love how there is that black rough edge around the sky and the contrast of the light sky and dark landscape below with that shot of red for the mountains lighting it all up, beautiful work Nic!

  7. Oh, I would just call it 'Nic-ism'!!! It is fantastic!
    You were born to paint with a pallet knife! Wow - you should definitely to more of these... And the black Instagram frame works brilliantly too :0)

  8. It's beautiful, whatever the style!

  9. It's yours , it's you and it's beautiful. It's confusing at the least to try to understand all the -ism, the more one read the more confusing, at least for me.
    Paint and be happy, let the future judge upon the style.

  10. this is truly stunning Nic!! I love the fiery red mountains!! I have no formal art schooling whatsoever so I couldn't tell you much about expressionist, impressionist, etc. etc.. However I DO know what a talented artist you are :)

  11. glad the book is thought provoking! Love those hills!

  12. This is wonderful! Love the red mountains. :) Looks like a good book to read. And I agree with your conclusion. :)

  13. Your landscape is amazing. I love the depth and colors of it. I also love the subject. Art history can be fascinating especially more recent history. I agree the artists were a group of frustration.... LOL
    Have a nice weekend

  14. You have a great eye for landscape and your colors are so compelling. I particularly love the reddish colors -- they illuminate the paintings. The textures must be amazing. I don't know if there will ever be an art movement like the ones in the past. Too many people have access to art materials and can muddy the water with all styles of beauty.

  15. That is a beautiful landscape - love how the color pops among all the neutrals. I wish I could see them IRL to see all the texture.

  16. I love your landscape and wouldn't even begin to pigeonhole it into a "style" other than the Nic style of painting. I also really liked how you pulled out little sections of your painting which could actually stand alone as a beautiful painting. And of course S's photo is a lovely reference for you to use.

  17. Sounds like an interesting book Nic....and wonderful style you have no matter what you create!!

    Hugs Giggles

  18. I like the painting so much better than the photo. The reds, the color laying next to color and the foreground fence posts all make for a pleasing composition.


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


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