Wednesday, 25 February 2015

How now, Highland Cow...

Highland Cow+Impasto+Acrylic+Vibrant+Impressionism+Nic's eARTh
'Cora' - impasto acrylic 50cm x 40cm box canvas

So, because I had a limited amount of time to produce 5+ paintings for the Committed to Art Exhibition I decided to give some older paintings a do-over rather than try to start and finish 5 brand new paintings. Last year I painted a highland cow - it was my first attempt at impasto acrylic and I was quite pleased with the result at the time although there was always something about the background that I felt needed improvement. Lo and behold, it turns out that all it needed was a splash of vibrant colour! 

This is what it used to look like:

This was the original painting before the do-over

As you can see, the original had a duller sky and the edges were painted black and I decided I didn't like that.  

Close up of colour wrapped edges

So, I changed it so that the bright colours of the sky and meadow now wrap right around the canvas. Although in the reference photo the cow really was on the slope of a hill, the background always just looked wonky to me so I levelled that out as well.

Close up of texture of cow's nose
I didn't want to change too much about the cow so I just added a bit more colour to her nose and horns and one or two brighter streaks in her hair (fur? I'm not entirely sure what the correct term is for a cow!)

Close up of impasto texture of grass

In other news, I've been invited to take part in two different exhibitions; one in April in a new gallery called The Blue Tree Gallery in Wick, a town about 45 minutes drive from our village. The owner is also an artist who creates stunning landscapes and wildlife paintings and shares my love of texture and colour. He is planning to have a few exhibitions throughout the year with various local artists taking part. After receiving the invitation, I visited on Saturday to meet Kevin, the artist/gallery owner and took a few small paintings which are now available to purchase from the gallery and then I'll drop some more in for the exhibition in April. 

Close up of texture of grass (still not just green!)

The second exhibition is an annual art fair in November in a place called Strathpeffer Pavilion which is a bit further away, being down near Inverness. I was advised that this is a very popular exhibition and they usually have more artists than they can accommodate so it is by invitation only and they try to rotate the artists each year so the exhibitions remains fresh. As it is by invitation only, I feel very pleased to have been asked to take part. Looks like I'll be kept busy working towards getting enough pieces together for these upcoming exhibitions. It's quite nice to have different outlets to exhibit  at and it's good exposure for me to show at different locations in the Highlands of Scotland.

Close up of cow's horns

Coming up next weekend, I'm going to be getting creative in a cabin in the woods! My friend, Angela is a very talented artist and is running a series of workshops on different arty subjects, one of which is pastel. There were pastels and pastel paper included in the art supplies I won last year and I would really like to learn how to use them properly (and get over the horrible chalky feeling on my fingers!). I have two different types of pastel paper - velour and a type that feels like sandpaper (which I've no idea how to use) so I'm hoping that Angela can show me how to create my colourful landscapes in pastel on these papers which are currently a mystery to me.

Vibrant box canvas edges
I'm looking forward to learning how to use a new medium and given how wonderful Angela's pastel paintings are, I know I'll be in good hands to pick up some great tips.


  1. Love the new version of the Highland Cow, She (or he?) is more beautiful than ever. Congratulations on being in galleries. That's great. And good luck with pastels. I find them so messy I only use them at my sister's house. :)

  2. Thanks for the promotion! How no, funky cow - looks great. Loved last weeks colourful (and large!) landscape. I expect to see hair and nails to match on sunday.......

  3. Love the reworked canvas. Its strange how I think cora sits...or rather stands in the landscape better now. She looked detached from her surroundings. Now She looks very at home. Nice to see a blue sky over thurso too. :)

  4. Congratulations on the in vites to exhibit - that is awesome! ...As is the make over you gave the cow! I loved it as it was, but seeing them both together, I can see that it has made a difference. She is gorgeous :0)

  5. How awesome that looks now - just gorgeous with the added colours :-)
    Well, it all sounds very exciting indeed for you up there Nic and I wish you every success at your various upcoming exhibitions :-D

    IKE xxx

  6. very nice! i love the new cow. the little specks of color are so nice and really add to it, i think!

  7. congratulations! I love the added color, this painting looks to me as if the cow is putting his face up to a camera, it makes me smile every time!

  8. I so love your reworked canvas with al those dimensional splashes of color Nic! I think you're going to be a VERY busy artist and that is fabulous news! Glad you're also taking some time to enjoy a few classes-sounds fun.

  9. The canvas looks much better now, love the colourful look, like he is standing in a meadow full of flowers! Valerie

  10. Oh, that cow is so sweet!!! Would like to hug it.

    Great work getting invitations to those exhibitions!

  11. that's one cute mooo; happy PPF

    much love...

  12. Love, love. love this! Your changes completely transformed the mood of the painting. Wonderful!

  13. Beautiful transformation, Nic. I love the shine on the nose!

  14. Cora stands out vibrantly. Awesome re-do. Enjoy your art getaway and congratulations on the exhibitions.

  15. Brilliant work on your cow, I LOVE it! Congrats on the exhibits!!!

  16. so much fun to see a piece reworked! lovely! congratulations and good luck on the exhibits!

  17. I love both the before and after...the after seem more you now and the face pops with all the added colour!! Love it....and congratulations about all those gallery postings!! You have worked hard to now...glad to see you being recognized!! Good job...very thrilling to watch your success!

    Hugs Giggles

  18. Love how you adapted and altered this painting ~ such a wonderful start *and* "finish!"

  19. You really have discovered colour, haven't you ! ;-) Love the new version, and the drips that go over the sides. Well done on being selected for some art exhibitions!

  20. The texture color with these additions is great gives better quality to your work. Saludos

  21. I love the textures you've added. I just read an article on how sensitive animals are to smell. The cow's nose looks like it's detecting molecules of lovely scents :) It's wonderful to see how bold you've become with your art. I also really appreciated the comment you left on the Happy Tiler's blog. Hope you have a great time in your cabin!

  22. He's so very cute. I guess a highland cow can be cute, but he is. Nice work.

  23. Nobody can say that this cow is shy and retiring.

    I know your keen on saving the environment, Nick ... but recycling your paintings is a new idea :0)) .

    All the best with the exhibitions


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


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...