Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Confessions of a nature-loving artist...

Wild Mountain Time+Scottish Landscape+Colourist+Impasto+Vibrant+Nic's eARTh
'Wild Mountain Time' - impasto acrylic 70cm x 50cm

I have a confession to make. Even though I love nature and am in my element living where I do with wild and rugged beauty all around me, gorgeous beaches that stretch for miles, mountains and hills perfect for a day's hike in a bid to finally, finally tire out our springer spaniel for whom the phrase 'boundless energy' was apparently coined, forests, woods and more green fields than you could shake a stick at; when it comes to painting I really, really don't like the colour of grass. 

close up+impasto texture+vibrant colours+Nic's eARTh
Close up of the road - impasto texture

I mean, in real life, of course I love grass. I especially love it in the summer when we get one of those preciously few hot sunny days where I can sit outside and feel the sun's rays warm my peely wally skin and feel the blades of grass in our garden tickle my bare feet - that's when I'm truly in my element (perhaps we should have emigrated to somewhere hot so I could walk barefoot in the grass more often, come to think of it). But as a colour, the green hue of grass is not my favourite to paint. (Which is especially weird because when asked in any of the many Facebook quizzes what my favourite colour is, the answer is always green (I guess I mean teal, sage, olive, any colour of green except grass!)

close up+vibrant colour+impasto texture+Nic's eARTh
Close up of the mountains - impasto texture

Perhaps that is why I was never a fan of landscapes involving lots of green fields or green trees or green anythings because I just don't care for that grassy, leafy colour. Of course I know there's more than just one colour of green involved - there are many shades, tones and tints of green that make up the overall landscape but whether blended together by the artist's paintbrush or by the viewer's eye, the end result always seems to be a bright, emerald green that just doesn't appeal to me. However, now that I've learnt to leave reality in the reference photo and let my imagination and colourful palette take over on the canvas, I've discovered the joy of using the colours I like and ignoring the ones I don't. It's so liberating. Don't care for green grass? No problem, just make it purple, or pink, or orange or every colour of the rainbow instead!

skies+sky+clouds+wispy+dry brush technique+Nic's eARTh
Close up of the sky - dry brush technique for the clouds

So, with that in mind this is my latest landscape and another large one at 50cm x 70cm (19.6 X 27.5 inches) - using a reference photo taken by my very talented photographer husband, S, of a view on the Strath (a little single track road running through the mountains in the far north where the only other life you might come across are the deer or perhaps a buzzard circling its prey overhead). The field on the left was mostly green and initially I did actually try to stick to the colours of nature, before remembering that this was my painting and I could make the field whatever colour I damn well wanted! 

Close up of (not green) grass and fence post - impasto texture

I had asked S for suggestions for a title and he came up with Wild Mountain Thyme as in the lovely Scottish song covered by lots of people including Bob Dylan, the Silencers (my favourite version) and, more recently, Ed Sheeran. I love the song and thought it was a perfect title for this painting but decided to change the spelling of Thyme to Time as driving along the Strath it seems like you have all the time in the world. This is the first of the pieces I plan to submit to the Committed to Art Exhibition next month.

Wild Mountain Time+Scottish Landscape+vibrant colour+box canvas+impasto+Nic's eARTh
Wild Mountain Time - box canvas

In other news, I had a lovely week at home with my family, a brief catch up lunch with a couple of old school friends and a great meal at my parents' favourite restaurant for my mum's 80th birthday. My parents and my sister spoiled me rotten as they always do although I wasn't so grateful for the rotten head cold my sister generously shared with me and which I've been dosed with all week!

Me and my sister

A wee family meal out with my parents, my sister and my cousin

Thanks as always for popping by, I'll be linking with Paint Party Friday (where I was delighted to discover I was the featured artist last week!).


  1. Strangely I know exactly what you mean about grass. It is lucky though that the landscapes that surround us in the north of Scotland are predominately filled with ochres golden tones and the rich purple hues of heather. I don't ever wear pink however I used it a lot in my landscapes. I love your new piece. It is wonderful. Combining the wonderful hues of caithness in one beautiful painting. I love the new door you have opened... Colour can be whatever we want it to be.

  2. Beautiful painting and photos. Valerie

  3. Spettacolari i tuoi paesaggi materici!!!

  4. Wow..such a beautiful painting! Adoreable! Thank you for the nice photos!
    Have a great weekeend!
    Happy PPF!

  5. Just Love "Wild Mountain Time." It is absolutely beautiful, and reminds me of Vincent VanGogh's paintings.

  6. No one can ever claim that you write a boring blog, Nic. Your words reflect the way you paint, they state the everyday in ways that are anything but 'everyday'. You know me, I try to produce things exactly as they are ... whilst you also draw out their spirit, just as Constable first produced brown skies when everyone else was still blue. So for me to like your work is amazing 'in theory' I shouldn't, it's not 'my bag' ... but,'in reality' ... I love it!!

  7. Love your painting and photos of your family!! You and your sister are so adorable!! I love all the hues of green except olive...I do love a nicely groomed summer lawn and the wonderful variety of green shrubbery in the spring and summer makes me swoon. But I rarely like anything it's natural colour... I need it not to looks as it appears. I can take a photo if I want that... I want to see things transformed into shades we'd never imagine. I love that you change out the colours too! Even what you're wearing says you are an artist who appreciates colour and pattern!! Beautiful! Thanks for sharing your beautiful art and self!

    Hugs Giggles

  8. Gorgeous painting Nic! I always love your colorful palette. Good for you to paint the grass and trees whatever colors you wish! Lovely pics of you and your family-glad you enjoyed that time together.

  9. I really like your new projects in landscapes. They will certainly be the hit of the exhibition. Love the colors you chose to use. Great to see you and your family enjoying a dinner. Thanks for sharing.

  10. I love your solution to escape the green horrors of grass... Not my favourite either and I love that dry brushed sky... What a gorgeous detail to show us... Xx

  11. As always I love your painting style Nic. I particularly love your first painting in this post, the distance you have given it and the colours :-)

  12. Grass of many colours what a good idea.

  13. I think art is a part of nature -- we're the story telling animal and one language we speak in is painting. Your work always honors what is best about the planet and our vision.

  14. I never thought of that Nic....yes why paint the grass green when you can make it pink! Love your landscape, it shimmers before my eyes. Be grateful for the drizzly summers of the UK - I live in USA now and I feel like a pig roasting on a spit in the summer. Happy PPF

  15. Love your interpretation of green grass. :) And your family is adorable. You look so much alike with your sister. :)

  16. Love your detail in the sky! Happy PPF :)

  17. Your painting is beautiful - there is no art law that requires stark reality to be painted - if you want that you'd be better off with photography. I really love all of your painting - especially your multi-colored grass

  18. I really love this painting. The composition brings my eye right in. And the non-green colors are mesmerizing. I love the mountains in the background and the sky. I swear, it sounds like you live in a magical place. One day I must visit that area.

    Looks like a lovely time with your family. Happy Birthday to your mom.

  19. I love your solution to not having to paint green, Nicola. Good for you! Love the painting with all the broken bits of color and it reads so well!


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


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