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

*edited-I'm linking to Paint Party Friday today but I'm also about to start a mega 690 mile Road trip from Reay to London so I may not get a chance to visit folk until later in the week!

Also for some reason YouTube has compressed my video so it looks a little squashed which is annoying!

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!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Summer of Colour - Week 5 - Royal Blue, Red and a smudge of Light Blue

SOC14 Week 5 - Royal Blue, Red and a Smudge of Light Blue - ACEO Seascape

Week 5 and I have to admit to not loving this week's colour prompt. Not one little bit. I'm not a fan of primary colours like these and together like this they remind me of flags which I'm also not a fan of.

Anyway, that's the point of a challenge, right? Do something we wouldn't normally do so, the first thing that came to mind was a boat with a red sail on the blue ocean. So I did a little ACEO doodle of that. 

But, I didn't really like it because I really wanted to stick to my mini landscapes so I decided to just paint another ocean at sunset scene. So that's what I did. it's not my favourite of the SOC ACEOs so far but still, I did it and that's what counts. 

This was my first attempt

Thanks to Kristin as always for hosting Summer of Colour/Color and be sure pop by the Facebook and Flickr pages to see how other folk got creative with the colour prompt this week. 

SOC Week 5 Colour Prompt

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Sandwood Bay on a Moody Day - acrylic impasto landscape

Sandwood Bay+Scottish Highlands+Impasto+Acrylic+Landscape+Nicola McLean
'Sandwood Bay on a Moody Day' - mini canvas 6 x 4 inches

What seems like many moons ago, back when my blog was called PointyPix, I did a series of whimsical illustrations that I called Twisty Towns. I painted about 15, sold about 9 of them and the rest were languishing in my art supply cupboard gathering dust. So, in the interests of make do and mend, and not having any blank mini canvasses left, I decided to up-cycle (i.e. paint over) them.

Now, at the time I'd been enamoured with crackle glaze and had used it willy nilly on all my paintings. Sure it gave a great effect but it turns out that it isn't so easy to paint over. I tried but the paint just seemed to glide off it.  So, I had an idea - I stuck pieces of an old book (Wuthering Heights in case you're interested) onto the canvas with Mod Podge and then I painted over that in Black - et voila, a new blank (black) canvas to start a new mini landscape on.

Anyway, I used a palette knife on this as before but I'm working on several pieces at the same time right now and one of them has been causing me problems. I had a happy accident with that piece when I used a little sponge on a stick dabber thingy, that I'd bought one time on eBay, to try to remove some paint and loved the textured effect it gave. So I used it on this as well. I'm halfway through another landscape at the moment and the sponge is working a treat!

I perused the many wonderful photographs that S has taken of the stunning landscape surrounding us all along the north coast of Scotland and happened upon a lovely atmospheric photo of Sandwood Bay (the most remote beach in Scotland - it's a 4.5 mile walk from the car park to get to the beach but well worth it). The sky was cloudy but sunny at the same time giving it a lovely light. Anyway, this painting is my loose interpretation of S's photo.

Sandwood Bay+Scotland+Steve McLean+SM-Art Photography
Credit where credit's due: Thanks to S for all the lovely reference photos!

Blue skies are of course my preference in 'real life' but for the purposes of landscape paintings I do love a stormy sky - so much more interesting to paint, I think!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Summer of Colour - Week 4 - Pink, Apple Green and a Pop of Dark Green

Week 4 already and I couldn't quite believe my eyes when I saw this week's colour prompt because I'd just spent the whole day yesterday working on a new impasto landscape of the northern lights and the two main colours I'd been using were pink and bright green! So, of course that's what inspired my ACEO Landscape to fit in with these colours for this week although I did have to add a fourth colour this time - a little drop of blue for the night sky!

Thanks to Kristin for hosting Summer of Colour and don't forget to pop over to the Flickr and Facebook pages to see all the other arty crafty things in this week's colours.


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