Monday, 25 August 2014

A bowl of jelly babies and some runaway sheep

When I was in London at the start of the month, my sister saw a painting at the Royal Academy Annual Exhibition that she really liked but that was already sold, so I offered to paint something similar for her as a gift. The painting in question was a simple little canvas of some licorice allsorts - not my usual subject matter.

I had in mind to do my own version on one of my mini canvasses so suggested doing two and asked her what other sweets she'd like. The answer was jelly babies and so here is my very first non-animal, non-landscape acrylic mini canvas.

Bowl of Jelly Babies+Acrylic+Nicola McLean
'Bowl of Babies' - Acrylic on mini canvas 5x5"

I didn't want to just paint the sweets on their own as that was too similar to the other painting so I decided to add a bit of interest by putting them into a glass bowl.

Bowl of Jelly Babies+acrylic++Nicola McLean

I've sketched out the bowl of licorice allsorts and will get started on that next.  I've really enjoyed painting this - it's so different from anything I've ever painted before - perhaps I'll do a whole sweetie series! Got to try to find some vegan-friendly jelly sweets though as S had to eat these once I'd finished with them. 

I didn't actually paint them from life, sitting on the table in front of me - I took a load of photos and worked from those instead - perhaps that defeats the purpose of still life paintings but the angle I wanted to paint them from would have meant me kneeling on the floor in front of the table!

Jelly Babies+Glass Bowl+Reflections+Acrylic+Nicola McLean

In other news, today I was sitting in the sun room having my lunch when two sheep walked past the window. Fair enough, we live right beside farmer's fields so there are sheep there a lot of the time.  But...these sheep weren't in the field - they were in our garden. More precisely, they were in a part of our garden that is secured by a gate at one end with and another gate at the other end with fences, bushes and a dry stone wall all the way around so how they got in is anyone's guess!

Mother and daughter a bit bemused as to how they got here!

I wasn't sure what to do and couldn't find the farmer's telephone number so I called the Scottish SPCA where I volunteer each week. They asked me for the number on the sheep's ear tag and from that where able to find out that they came from the estate across the road from our cottage.

After I managed to get them into the side garden to munch on the grass

I managed to 'shoo' them into a different part of our garden with grass in it so they could at least have something to eat and a while later two shepherds from the estate turned up to take them away.  At that point I felt really guilty as I wished I could've helped them in their bid to escape their unfortunate fate but instead I was handing them back over to their 'captors'. They managed to bundle the ewe back into their truck but her lamb ran off, jumped over our front garden wall onto the road and disappeared. She'll be missing her mum but will no doubt have been tracked down by now. I did ask the shepherd could I keep her if she turned up in my garden again - he laughed and said if I had a big enough freezer to which I indignantly replied 'Well, I'll not be eating her, I'll keep her as a pet'.


  1. What a brilliant painting Nic,
    Your sister will be thrilled. I think you may well have found a new series and all good enough to eat. The glass jar is amazing.
    I had such a giggle over your sheep tale. I'd definitely keep a pet if they appear again... a just think what a easy job you'd have to keep the lawn cut.
    Have a great week

  2. your painting looks yummy! loved your story about the sheep. Here, we only get the occasional raccoon that wanders into the yard. :)

  3. The painting is simply amazing... I am enjoying seeing you stretch your skills into new subjects... And that poor wee lamb would make a lovely pet... Hope she wanders back to you so she can be part of the household... Xx

  4. STUNNING painting Nic!! I think you should do a series for sure!! I bet your sister loves it!!
    I LOVE IT!! Make sure to take pictures so you can sell some prints... even little greeting cards with this painting would be cool!! Can't wait to see the licorice all- sorts! You could do Jelly Belly jelly beans too...lots of color there!!

    Poor little wandering nomads... I can imagine your disdain giving the back... A perfect case for being
    Hope the little lambie becomes part of your family.... better than the alternative!!

    Hugs Giggles

  5. Hi Nic. What a delicious looking painting and I do love those candies. That was very good of you to want one of the sheeps as a pet. Love your work.

  6. such beautiful painting!!!! Poor sheep, I wish they could live their lives out as they should and die of old age, not be killed to feed someones fat belly!

  7. I think the sheep though they would be safe with you, so I'm sure they will be back! Feed them jelly babies!

  8. I am convinced there is nothing you can't paint. This is brilliant Nic!! How you have painted and captured the pure look of that glass is amazing! I'd have kept the sheep as a pet too:)

  9. I find the idea of finding a sheep in my garden hilarious!! They do climb though and are surprisingly good at it!
    I wish you could have kept them... Maybe you could start your own little rescue centre! :0)

  10. It looks good enough to eat! I love your little painting.

  11. Great painting, the way you have painted the glass bowl is so skillful, all of it including the rim and the twirly bits and the painted jelly babies are superb too.
    Poor sheep, and especially poor lamb. I hope it comes back to you for a long life. I've always thought sheep are extremely clever (they knew what they were doing when they hid in your garden). I love seeing them having a laugh at the expense of the sheepdog at the trials. Great story, Nic.

  12. hmm, jelly babies, my favorite ... :-) You did a great job painting them! I agree with Linda: there's nothing that you can't paint!

  13. the glass dish is excellent love it and the sheep are cute

  14. Goodness! You could have fooled me that this is your first non-animal painting. It's lovely! I would want to run and find the lamb and hide it in my house....
    Loved seeing the views of your garden.

  15. I love the idea of a "sweetie" series - can't wait to see gummy bears, jelly bellies, and all other kinds of wonderful assortments. What a beauty to kick it all off! Sheep in the garden sounds wonderful and so Scottish. Around here - maybe deer, raccoons or a stray bear or something. Summer winding down better get your fill beach walking in with the dogs :) M.x

  16. That is truly a lovely painting. The glass is excellent!!! I know the sheep were in your garden but I have such an affection for them.
    You mentioned you were starting to paint with a sponge. My favorite artist is Perter Drinistan He has free lessons and is very good. Plus he is a cutie. LOL

    Have a great weekend

  17. Oh I love sheep, you live in such a beautiful and wild place! Those jelly babies are scrumptious and so juicy, what a great painting, delightful!

  18. Yum, I could eat those! Great work. If I found any sheep in my garden would suggest that they pick some mint for the sauce, lol. Is that rosemary they are standing nest to!

  19. Good grief, how did you make it look exactly like glass? Fantastic painting. Love the sheep, awww. . . and they know how to open the gate, good trick. Blessings, Janet PPF

  20. Wonderful painting! I love how the glass looks real. :) That's quite exciting story with the sheep. I don't think any of us would have done any differently.


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