Wednesday, 25 March 2015

(Still) Not fair game. (An impasto pheasant)

So, I have finally finished the large version of the wind farm sunrise painting but this little guy has been waiting in the wings (no pun intended) for a couple of weeks now so I thought I'd give him an outing first.

You might remember I gave the highland cow a vibrant do-over a few weeks ago? Well, at the same time I decided to give my old friend, Phillip, a do-over as well.

Pheasant+impasto acrylic+impressionism+Nic's eARTh
'Not fair game' - impasto acrylic on canvas 40cm x 40cm

Those of you who've been visiting my blog for a while might remember Phillip was a pheasant who used to visit us for his dinner, sometimes alone and sometimes with his harem of lady pheasants. Sadly, he met a sticky end on the road in our village like so many of the poor pheasants around here do.

close up impasto texture+Nic's eARTh
Close up of the feather texture

Since then we've had Pedro the Pheasant although he sometimes disappears for months on end and I worry every time I see a squashed pheasant that it might be him. When he does turn up I feel an inordinate amount of relief that he's still with us! I've become very attached to this wee guy, much like Phillip before him. I'm very happy to report that Pedro has actually been visiting more regularly this last week or so (he sees us at the dining room window and runs up to the spot where we set his food down in the field by our back fence and waits for us to dish it up!)so he's doing alright for a bird that normally doesn't have a terribly long lifespan around these parts. Long may it continue!

This is a little snippet that S filmed of Pedro having his dinner recently so you can see just how friendly and curious he is.

Anyway, I'd done a pointillism painting of Phillip back in May 2013 which I had submitted to the Society of Caithness Artists' annual exhibition that summer. He didn't sell at the time and had subsequently found a place to roost on the wall in our bedroom. 

close up+impasto texture+pheasant feathers+Nic's eARTh
Close up texture round edges of canvas

The original painting was already pretty vibrant due to Phillip's beautiful plumage so I decided to change the pointillism (that was so 2013) and give him an impasto plumage instead. I also wanted to simplify the background (i.e get rid of what was there and use my favourite turquoise to create a wash for a plain background instead). So that's what I did and this is the result. 

Close up of eye and wattle region
This is what he used to look like pre-impasto:

Pointillism Phillip

When it came to re-doing it I noticed that the proportions of his face were a bit skewiff so I made the wattle bigger and his eye and the little feathery tuft at the back of his head smaller.

The new (improved?) Phillip the Pheasant

Anyway, I think he looks better this time around. He's going to be available for purchase either at the Blue Tree Gallery in Wick at an exhibition there being held from April to June or alternatively he can be purchased online via Artfinder. If he sells, that's great, if not, he'll always have a home on our bedroom wall!

As always, I'm linking up with Paint Party Friday and will catch up with everyone there over the weekend. 

Monday, 16 March 2015

Scottish Moonshine - a time lapse painting

Rispond Bay+Scotland+Moonlight+Impasto+Miniature+Nicola McLean
'Scottish Moonshine' - the tiniest impasto landscape (5x5cm)

So, I had invited you to pop back to see if I'd finished the large version of the wind farm sunrise painting. Well, it's still a work in progress so maybe next week it'll be finished.

In the meantime, let me show (a time lapse video) and tell (you a story about ridiculously small canvasses). A few months ago, I ordered some canvasses thinking they were 5x5 inches - the size I use for my pet portraits. When they arrived they were crazy small and I discovered my mistake - the sizing was in centimetres so actually they measured just under 3x3 inches!

I wondered for ages what I could possibly paint on such a small surface then a couple of weeks ago I decided to have a go at painting the tiniest ever landscape.

I ended up with this which I posted on my Facebook page:

'Go with the flow' - very mini landscape in acrylic (3x3 inches)

Then yesterday I decided to try out the time lapse feature on S's new GoPro camera so he kindly set it up for me and I set about creating another tiny landscape.

The shadow helps give an idea of the texture!

We've had some beautiful sunny blue sky days over the weekend and so we spent Saturday driving out along the north coast to the west to Balnakiel Bay stopping off at other beaches along the way for photographs and dog walks. I took a photograph at Rispond Bay of the craggy rock formations and knew that I'd want to paint it at a later date. 

Rispond Bay, Sutherland

Well, I do still intend to paint this as a larger daylight scene but I decided to have some fun with this one and used a whole heap of artistic licence to turn day into night and sunshine into moonshine!

Original art+fridge magnet+Rispond Bay+Scotland+Impasto+Vibrant+Nicola McLean
'Scottish Moonlight' - teeny tiny art

If you'd like to see how I paint these little canvasses, please do have a look at the time lapse video. 

Rispond Bay+Miniature painting+vibrant+impasto+impressionism+Nicola McLean
The landscape continues round the sides of the canvas

Rispond Bay+Miniature painting+vibrant+impasto+impressionism+Nicola McLean

Because of its tiny size, it's even too small for the little wooden display easels I normally use so I decided to add a magnetic strip to the back and turn them into little original art fridge magnets!

A little original art fridge magnet

In other news, Artfinder are currently taking on new artists and I applied and got accepted to sell my work on their website - yay! I uploaded some pieces and was super excited to have two of them sell on the first evening!

If you'd like to purchase either of these mini art fridge magnets they're available for sale on my Artfinder Shop.

I'll be linking up to Paint Party Friday later in the week and will look forward to seeing what everyone else has been creating. Thanks, as always for popping by. I do appreciate your visits. 

Sunday, 8 March 2015

A little more than green. (A mini Scottish Landscape)

Baillie Wind Farm+Sunrise+Scotland+Contemporary+Landscape+Colourist+Nicola McLean
'A little more than green' - mini landscape (7.5x7.5cm)
impasto acrylic on canvas

A few weeks ago, I was driving into town one morning and there was the most glorious sunrise coming up behind the wind turbines at Baillie Wind Farm. 

It used to be that if I was driving, I'd think about how lovely whatever the view happened to be was and what a great subject for a painting and then just keep driving, kicking myself later for not stopping to take a quick photo. Now though, I'm trying to make a point of seizing the moment so this time, instead of just driving on by, I pulled the car into a handy lay-by and took an Instagram photo.

This is it:

Instagram photo of sunrise at Baillie Wind Farm
It was my intention to paint this scene on a large canvas (50cm x 40cm) and I've made a start on it already but as I was painting it, I decided to use up any extra paint by doing a mini version at the same time. This was the result - the larger one still has a long way to go but this wee painting by virtue of its tiny size was finished over the course of one day (with blow drying sessions between each layer to speed up the drying process!) 

Scottish Contemporary Colourist+Impressionistic+vibrant+Baillie Wind Farm+Artist Nicola McLean
'A little more than green' - impasto acrylic on mini landscape with easel 

Rather than take the same photos as always I had a little fun this time and roped the westies into posing for me (Skye the springer was in Glasgow with S so not around to participate!)

Reuben reluctantly kindly helping to show the edges of the painting!

I know a lot of folk detest wind farms seeing them as spoiling the landscape but I actually love them. I don't think they're horrible to look at (electricity pylons and telegraph poles are a necessary evil that no one seems to mind dotted all over the countryside and they don't even look as nice) and I think for the sake of the planet that wind farms and tidal energy is the way forward - why not make use of something that nature provides to us for free that is sustainable and won't cause so much damage to this beautiful world we inhabit? 

The painting and Brodie who just happened to be sitting there anyway
(guarding one tiny piece of kibble from her bowl!) 

Anyway, *stepping back down from my eco-soap box* before I started painting the large version I knew I wanted to call it 'More than green' in a nod to the green nature of harnessing the wind to generate power and to the multitude of colours in the sunrise but once I had painted the miniature version, I had a better idea - if I called this mini one 'A little more than green' then I could call the large version 'A lot more than green'!! Please do pop back next week(ish) when I'll have hopefully finished the large version.

sunrise+Scottish Wind Farm+vibrant colour+mini painting+Nic's eARTh

In the meantime this one is available to purchase from my Etsy shop.

** Update - I forgot to mention that I'd be linking to Paint Party Friday as always and (shame on me) I forgot that this is the 4th birthday of this great online paint blog where I've met some great people from all over the world who've become very good friends. Thank you to Kristin and Eva for creating PPF and continuing to host it every week. 

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

At the foot of the mountain...Abstract realism

At the foot of the mountain+Scottish Landscape+Abstract realism+Nic's eARTh
'At the foot of the mountain' - impasto acrylic on canvas 5x5 inch

A couple of weeks ago, I showed a 'sneaky peek' of my large landscape painting 'Wild Mountain Time' on my Facebook page. Someone asked about buying the painting because they loved the colours in the sneaky peek I'd shown but they weren't expecting the painting to be quite as big as it was and said they wished they could buy just that little section.   

abstract realism+impressionism+colourist+contemporary art+Nic's eARTh
Close up of  edges of box canvas

Which, of course, gave me an idea. I decided to re-create that small part of the larger landscape on one of my mini 5x5 box canvasses. I used the same colour palette but obviously it isn't exactly like the original as the difference in size meant the application of paint in itself would create a different effect. So this is an original painting inspired by another original painting!

box canvas+impasto acrylic+vibrant colour+abstract realism+Nic's eARTh
You can just about make out my initials
in amongst the riot of colour!

This is probably the most down the abstract realism route I've travelled so far but I think I quite like the result. It's incredibly textured - like a little sculpture on canvas even around the edges.

Scottish Landscape+Mountain+Abstract realism+Contemporary art+Nic's eARTh
Just to put the size into perspective - bijou and compact!

This is one of the pieces in the Committed to Art Exhibition at Caithness Horizons. The exhibition had its preview night last night and it wasn't too bad a turn out considering the horrible wintry night that was in it. It's on now until 28 March and if your are interested in this wee painting it will be available to purchase from my website for £30 plus p&p at the conclusion of the exhibition (unless it sells at the exhibition of course!)

Me in front of one of my paintings - this one isn't for sale as I did it for above our fireplace!

In other news this week, I spent Sunday in a lovely (but rather cold despite the woodburning stove) log cabin in the woods way out west taking part in a pastel workshop run by my friend Angela.

Angela works in various mediums but her favourite is pastels and this really came across when she was demonstrating her techniques to us and explaining the different types of pastel and paper. I had a really good day and although I don't think it will ever be my medium of choice (I really can't get past the mess it makes and chalky feeling on my fingers) it was fun to experiment with it and try something new. After all, as someone one said 'a comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there'. 

These are the two pieces I did during the workshop (they aren't very good but I had fun making them and, in fairness, I didn't spend very long on either one!)
Sheep in pastel
Sunflower field in pastel 
Something else exciting happened this week. I happened to tweet a photo of Cora the Coo to the Highland Cow Society on Twitter who in turn retweeted it to their followers and as a result an interested party contacted me wanting to buy the painting and she is now on her way to her new home in Belgium - there really is a lot to be said for social media when it comes to helping artists get their work out to folk who would never otherwise know of its existence!

I'll be linking with the folk at Paint Party Friday this weekend as always - it's a great way to keep up with what everyone is up to in the world of arty blogging. 



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