Sunday, 26 October 2014

Melvich Sunset. A landscape

Melvich Sunset+Scottish Abstract Landscape+vibrant acrylic+Miniature+Nicola McLean
'Melvich Sunset' - Acrylic landscape 

Ever since I went on Ashley's workshop in Cornwall I've really changed my opinion on abstract art. Well, not all of it - the non objective stuff is still a bit of a mystery to me - but certainly representational abstract work is much more appealing to me than it once was. 

It's like it tripped a switch in me and I feel like I suddenly can't learn enough about art and other artists whose work appeals to me. I've been pinning beautiful vibrant, semi abstract works of art on Pinterest like nobodies business - art that is more or less abstract or certainly impressionistic at any rate, but still very clearly landscapes.

The original inspiration

I'm drawn to vibrant colours and bold textures and brush strokes and, more and more, I find I truly enjoy painting most when I'm not confining myself to adding every detail and aiming to exactly replicate the subject. Of course, this doesn't necessarily apply to my pet portraits as I want them to capture the essence of the animal but even there I'd like to loosen up my style a little.

An online art buddy, Laura, recently mentioned a book she'd bought called Painting Realistic Abstracts by Kees Van Aalst and. although it is mostly in relation to watercolours, it's also relevant to acrylics. It's well worth a read if you want to move away from purely replicating the subject and instead want to adopt a more intuitive, emotional way of painting.

Scottish Landscape+Impressionism+Semi Abstract+Vibrant Acrylic+Texture+Nicola McLean
Just as well it's so tiny 7.5cm x 7.5cm) givem how many
layers of paint I went through!
I'm now working my way through Vibrant Acrylics by Hashim Akib, whose work I absolutely love and I already feel I've learnt so much just by seeing how these artist's prepare their canvas and choose their composition.

Anyway, in between pet portraits and sweet paintings, I've been experimenting with a looser more vibrant style and the landscape here is the end result. You can see how very far away from the original reference photo it is but if you scroll down you'll also see the many, many incarnations it went through until I found something that I was happy with and that felt like me. 

The 1st attempt was pleasant enough
but something wasn't quite right

More colour

Even more colour

just a bit more

aagh too much colour

starting to wish I'd left it at stage 1

another day another palette of left over paint to experiment with!

now we're getting somewhere

nope let's start over again add more and then scrape it all off and...
Now I'm happy with it!

I finally found a colour palette and texture I was happy with but ultimately it was a happy accident that involved lots of applications of paint and lots of scraping off of said applications of paint - a technique which I have no idea if I'll be able to replicate on the next painting but even then I learnt new ways to apply paint to get the texture and feel that I want. It was frustrating and fun! I'd love to know if you have a preference among the many stages it went through (even if it's not the final version!)

**Update - Thursday 30 October 

I'm very pleased to report that I posted a photo of this little landscape on my Facebook page on Sunday and it sold on Sunday evening! 

I'm linking to Paint Party Friday - I've been a bit remiss with my visits to the Party this year, dipping in and out when I get a chance but I'm going to make more effort to link up as it is a great opportunity to catch up with fellow art bloggers and what they've been up to. 


  1. My preference is the final version! I love it! But the other layers add to the texture so I think it was meant to got through all those stages. So much detail in such a tiny area - amazing! I would call this more impressionism than abstract...? I'm not an abstract fan but there are a few, such as Kim Rempel who do some lovely abstracts and she really knows how to paint too... If this is abstract, then I am converted! :0)

  2. More dramatic than the real thing.

  3. I LOVE the final version Nic- the subtle purples in the mix are the icing on the cake-gorgeous!! Must check the books etc. you mentioned. I just did another abstract inspired by a book and artist:)

  4. Congrats on the sale! :) I love the colors and the texture. It's beautiful!

  5. congratulation on the sale and love your pretty landscape Nic. Happy PPF, Annette x

  6. Wow, these are gorgeous! They really pack a punch, even being so small :)
    Happy PPF!

  7. Pain and fun, I know the feeling!

    Such a tiny painting with so much dimension and depth!

    I'm also working towards abstract art, difficult for a story teller and writer, but I yearn for more abstract touch into my paintings.

  8. That is such a gorgeous painting! I can see why it sold so quickly. The colours are just beautiful.

  9. Stunning work....I thought it was a huge canvas at first and could see it behind someones couch!! I love 7 too....then 9 but the finished product is my fav and what was meant to be!!

    Hugs Giggles

  10. just gorgeous..those colors are amazing!

  11. Congrats on the sale. Your work is always fab whether they are the sweet animals of this earth or as in this case, your beautiful landscape. Bravo to you! Have a great weekend and thx. for stopping by my PPF post.

  12. Congrats on the sale! Beautiful and inspiring wee paintings.

  13. I really love the final piece Nic.Plenty of movement with all the sea foam flying through the air and I love all the purples and blues. Congrats on the sale!


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


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