Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Lexie. A pet portrait in gouache.

Golden Retriever+dog+pet portrait+gouache+Nic's eARTh
'Lexie' - Gouache on A3 (29.7 x 42 cm) watercolour paper.

It seems like a really long time since I painted anything in gouache. In fact, before being commissioned to paint Lexie, the last time I used gouache was for the leaf painting that nabbed me first place in the GreatArt competition back in July 2014. 

This was on A3 watercolour paper which I soaked and stretched on a drawing board before starting to minimise buckling which, thankfully it did.

Work in progress - photo courtesy of Lexie's people. 

Lexie was my first ever local commission for a pet portrait. Thanks to S blowing my artistic trumpet to his work colleagues, I was asked to paint Lexie as a surprise Christmas present. The person who commissioned me was delighted with the outcome when S gave it to him and said that I'd captured Lexie's expression perfectly which is always good feedback to get. 

As for gouache, initially I loved it for getting detail in realistic paintings but now I'd quite like to try some colourful impressionistic landscapes like the ones I've been doing in acrylic. I have a whole bunch of mounts and backing board in different sizes so it would be good to find a use for them. 

At the moment though I'm working on a large acrylic painting which, if it turns out the way I hope it will, is going to be my entry to this year's David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year competition. I think it'll be very different from my entry last year, a little less replicating what I see and a little more trying to represent an idea on canvas. It'll either work or it won't but right now I'm at the hopeful stage!

pet portraits+dogs+acrylic+gouache+Nicola McLean+Nic's eARTh
Lexie with some of the other dogs I painted in 2014

My head is overflowing with ideas at the moment. Whether they translate on paper or canvas is, of course an entirely different matter but rather too much inspiration than none at all, I say.

Speaking to some of my other artist friends it seems they're in a similar position - bubbling over with fresh ideas - it's a good time to be an artist! I'll be linking up with them at Paint Party Friday to find out how folk are putting those ideas into practice. 


  1. such a beautiful soulful expression, you are such a talent,

  2. what beautiful eyes Lexie has!! well done!

  3. Oh wow! Lexie's painting is wonderful. :-)

  4. You did a fantastic job with the custom pet portrait. I LOVE the background color you chose as well. Wonderful, wonderful work. :)

  5. This is beautiful! The eyes had me immediately! Looking at the four together like that really is lovely - they make a lovely collection for your portfolio :0)

  6. Great work, Nic, your love of animals shines through with the same force as your enthusiasm. I'm on a roll too ... long may we both roll along through the year.

  7. I'm always so happy to visit and hear the story behind your latest piece. I see the images on Facebook and love them but here it's a little more intimate and detailed and I can cheer you on as you enter and win each competition. You have such fabulous technique and I love that your imagination is taking you to new places. It WILL work. I started doing the same thing with Dali, adding the bird and turning him into a flower, and putting the white-winged dove on Stevie Nicks' hat. Yes, it's time for new things and I love to see the artist's take on a subject. It's great to see the artist's personality in the finished piece. All the best to you, my friend. xo

  8. Gorgeous portrait. Beautifully done!

  9. Excellent! The expression...the fur...the pink-ish nose! So well done:-)

  10. All your pet portraits are so moving. You do capture a personality and the gentle look of a beloved friend when you paint them, Nicola. Lexie does not disappoint!

  11. Your pet portraits are amazing! I bet you make a lot of people very happy portraying their pets like this. Sounds like your off to a good start of the new year :-)

  12. I love all your pet portraits. Lexie is no exception. Beautiful work. And Lexie goes so well with your 2014 other pet portraits.


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


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