Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Vanishing...

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'Vanishing' - impasto acrylic on box canvas 70cm x 50cm

This is my submission for this year's David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year competition. Last year I had not long discovered the joys of gouache and used it to create a realistic portrait of an orang-utan. I was really pleased with it at the time even though unfortunately it wasn't shortlisted.

This year's piece couldn't be more different. Firstly I had to decide which animal I wanted to paint. I had a look through all the photos S and I have taken over the years of trips to wildlife parks and zoos with his son (unfortunately zoos are a necessary evil for obtaining reference photos until such times as I can afford to go on an actual safari).


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A close up showing the thickness of the paint - it's practically a sculpture!

Anyway, as luck would have it,there was a great photo of a rhino that S had taken which was perfect as I really wanted to paint an endangered animal (there are several different categories but that is always the category that speaks loudest to me) so I was especially pleased to have the chance to paint one of the most critically endangered animals on the planet ('Pleased' isn't the right word as I'd be more pleased if there were no endangered animals at all but I'm sure you know what I mean).


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Close up of the Rhino's horn - does NOT improve sexual prowess

Because I was painting such a large animal, I wanted to use a large canvas and decided on a lovely chunky box canvas measuring 70cm x 50cm (27.5 x 19.7 inches for my friend Carol!) Instead of painting a purely representational painting of a rhino this time, I thought it was important to get across the fact that they are vanishing from the planet so I wanted to have him literally disappering into thin air against the backdrop of a starry night. Hopefully this is pretty self-explanatory to anyone looking at it.

It's no great surprise that this year's entry was always going to be full of vibrant colour and texture so I used an impasto technique with a palette knife and mixed acrylic modelling paste into the paint to give it more body (and to help it go further - the only downside to loving oodles of thick texture is the amount of paint I actually go through!)


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A close up of the texture around the eye

Ironically, a couple of days after I finished the painting there was a news article about how there are now only 5 Northern White Rhinos left in the world (all of them in captivity or in secure conservation parks). The photo I used was of a Southern White Rhino but they're only slightly better off, numbering about 20,000. It's crazy to think that we've done this to so many animals for no reason other than human greed and once they're gone, they're gone for good.


vibrant+impressionism+colourist+Scottish+Landscape+texture+Nic's eARTh
'Happiness and Joy' - teeny landscape 7.5cm x 7.5cm (just under 3x3 inches)

In other more cheerful news, this is a teeny tiny landscape I posted on my Facebook page last week to brighten an otherwise dreary, dreich day. I asked for suggestions for the title and got a whole 2 responses - 'Happiness' and 'Joy' - which I thought were very appropriate as that's exactly what I wanted this wee piece to evoke in the viewer so I decided to call it both! This piece is available in my Etsy shop for the bargainous price of £15.00 plus postage.

Putting it into perspective

So, fingers and toes crossed that my rhino might make it through the shortlisting process this year but if not, he'll find a safe home on our living room wall - I'm quite fond of him.

Thank you as always for popping by and leaving me comments - they are always greatly appreciated. I'll see you all at Paint Party Friday on er, Friday!

39 comments:

  1. Love the colours, the rhino is pretty good too.
    Merle......................

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  2. Love Both of them, especially the vanishing rhino. Very thought provoking. good luck!
    ~ karen

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    1. Thank you very much Karen and I'm glad you find it thought provoking.

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  3. I think you've outdone yourself this time Nic! If this isn't shortlisted I will come right over and slap the judge(s) in the head. This is magnificent. And on such a big canvas (thank you for providing the size in inches!)

    It's kinda interesting to see this painting. It reminds me of your pointillism. You're almost doing the same thing with the bright colors and thick paint.

    It really upsets me to hear there are only 5 Norther White Rhinos left? WTF is wrong with us?????

    And my new favorite word: bargainous. LOL. Also love Happiness and Joy. So small compared to the Rhino.

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Rhino. Good luck. I believe you will be shortlisted!

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    1. Thank you so much Carol, this has now become my favourite comment on my blog EVER! Funny enough it reminded me of pointillism when I saw it finished although I hadn't been thinking of that as I was doing it but when you see the colours all blend together at certain parts of the face that is what it's like. I know - it's the folk who still believe that Rhino horn has some kind of mystical properties - they need to be educated to learn that the only one who needs the horn is the rhino.
      Ha, I'm so glad you like my word - I do like to get all George DoubleYa on occasion and make words up! You keep on believing - if enough of us believe maybe it'll be like Tinkerbell coming back to life (or something) and he'll get shortlisted!

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  4. I think you've outdone yourself this time Nic! If this isn't shortlisted I will come right over and slap the judge(s) in the head. This is magnificent. And on such a big canvas (thank you for providing the size in inches!)

    It's kinda interesting to see this painting. It reminds me of your pointillism. You're almost doing the same thing with the bright colors and thick paint.

    It really upsets me to hear there are only 5 Norther White Rhinos left? WTF is wrong with us?????

    And my new favorite word: bargainous. LOL. Also love Happiness and Joy. So small compared to the Rhino.

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Rhino. Good luck. I believe you will be shortlisted!

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  5. If you don't get short listed nic the judges must be crazy!! Seriously your rhino is absolutely stunning. I love everything about it, except that they are so rare in our world. Good luck x

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    1. Aw thank you so much Kirstin. I know - I just don't get how humans don't realise how precious all life is until it's too late.

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  6. a brilliant painting of the rhino Nic-the symbolism is spot on! I can see how you must go through a lot of paint but the effect of that texture is stunning. There's no way you will get short listed. SO sad to hear of any wildlife on the verge of extinction. Gorgeous Joy and Happiness painting!

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    1. Thank you Linda. I do love the effect of the texture that a lot of paint gives.

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  7. Stunning and magical Nic. I could go on but there aren't words to describe the beauty and meaning you captured here on so many levels. M.x

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    1. Aw thank you Marji. That's a lovely compliment. x

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  8. Beautiful, Nic! You knew this one would pull at my heart... you communicate a ton with this rendering... thank you...!!!

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    1. Thanks Min, I knew this would resonate with you. x

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  9. Good luck with your rhino. I have been working with Dürer's rhinoceros this week, really fascinating Valerie

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  10. Gorgeous colour and texture in your art work. That little canvas is ace.

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  11. Stunning rhino, beautiful work!

    http://agagasiniak.blogspot.co.uk

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  12. Brilliant painting of the rhino, so colourful and yet so sad. Good luck with the contest.
    I love your little landscapes and this is a beauty.

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  13. First thank you so much for your kindness. It is so appreciated. Next is an OMG!!!! reaction to your incredible painting of the Rhino. If this is shortlisted something is wrong with the judges LOL. The close up of the paint shows such amazing artistic creativity. Yes it is like a sculpture. It is sad that we are loosing animals to the loss of environment and to poachers. Your painting will keep the spirit of the Rhino alive.
    Nicole/Beadwright

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    1. Thank you so much Nicole. It is sad to think that someday people may only have photos of these animals left to know that they ever walked the earth.

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  14. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you as well. It's a fantastic piece and a great concept. Good luck!

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  15. Thanks Natasha. Looking forward to your news as well!

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  16. Your rhino is beautifully done with all the colors and textures. Wish all the world had your soft heart for the animals.

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  17. Hi Nic. Good luck with your submission as I'm sure it will be loved. Fantastic work on this beautiful creature. I once worked in a real estate office and the broker was like you. He love all creatures of God, especially the Rhino. The office was called Rhino Realty. He had a heart of gold as do you. Excellent work!

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  18. Oh, these colors are amazing and the rhino's so sweet!

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  19. Gorgeous! and such a yummy close up! Good luck and happy PPF!

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  20. It's been wonderful visiting here, I love your rhino piece and that miniature landscape piece so bright and full of colours, your art is alive and really pops! Beautiful! I've also loved going through your other posts and came upon those gorgeous snowy photos, I especially loved the one with the dark sky and sea and the contrast with the snow, so magical!

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  21. Wow, this is amazing Nic! Can't believe the wonderful texture. And I love how you made him "disappear", it's a really strong image and sends a very strong message. And the way he's looking down, almost defeated, is so sad. If this painting doesn't get shortlisted, the judges have no taste and no brain at all .....

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  22. Incredibly beautiful painting of the Rhino! I'm quite speechless and I would be proud to hang this on my wall, though I'm not sure I would be able to afford it! Very well chosen subject. It is very sad that we are not able to take care of each other and the whole planet with everything that is in it.
    Wishing you good luck with the competition! You surely deserve to be on the top of the list!
    Happy PPF
    Ilona

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  23. I'm finally getting around to catching up on blogs having returned from our holiday! And what a feast for the eyes! I love your Labrador and your Rhino... and your mini landscape!! It's all gorgeous and I wish you the best of luck with the wildlife competition. I'll be back to my own easel this weekend. I can't wait! :0)

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  24. your rhino turned out fabulous!! good luck with the competition. i'll be sending happy thoughts your way! i remember your orangutan from last year ... it was amazing.

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  25. It certainly deserves to be a finalist and a winner, I'd say! The story behind it, and the way you make it vanishing... pure genius, Nic! I love the texture, too, it seems more like animal hide (or whatever it's called). Good luck to you!

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