Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Becoming history...a cave painting

rhino+cave painting+abstract realism+impasto+Nicola McLean
'Becoming history' - impasto acrylic on canvas 24cm x 20cm 


So a strange thing happened recently. As well as practising reiki, I've started trying to make regular time for meditation as sometimes its lovely to just switch off and work on quieting the incessant chatter that goes on in my head (although that is easier said than done!). Anyway, during a meditation recently, an image popped into my head. I kept thinking about it and decided I had to try and get it out of my head and on to canvas.  As it progressed it changed a lot from the original thought - it started life in my head as the silhouette of a cottage set against a very vibrant stripy background which made me think of slicing into the world like it was a cake and all the different layers you'd see from the grass on top right down to the earth's core. 


rhino+cave painting+abstract realism+impasto+Nicola McLean

I decided I wanted it to be an animal instead of a cottage and initially I thought perhaps a sheep but then I knew I wanted it to be another rhino. 



rhino+cave painting+abstract realism+impasto+Nicola McLean



rhino+cave painting+abstract realism+impasto+Nicola McLean

I had started a painting several months ago of several sheep in silhouette (perhaps that is where the sheep idea originated?) and I knew I wasn't going anywhere with it so I figured I would paint over it - it's quite strange because despite many many layers of paint that I've added to the front of the canvas if you look at the back you can still see a row of black sheep which will forevermore be hidden under the rhino.

rhino+cave painting+abstract realism+impasto+Nicola McLean


I added acrylic modelling paste to the canvas to help create more texture and then just added the paint with a palette knife until I got the effect I wanted of the layers of colour merging into each other.  In the end up, rather than the layers of earth I think it is more like a very abstract landscape going from a dusky sky down to green vegetation and a dusty red earth (go with me on this one – it is quite abstract after all!!)


rhino+cave painting+abstract realism+impasto+Nicola McLean

rhino+cave painting+abstract realism+impasto+Nicola McLean



I had several ideas of how I wanted to depict the rhino and discarded each one as I went along as not being quite right. Then the perfect idea came to me – rhinos and their evolutionary ancestors have roamed the earth for millions of years and there are cave paintings of Rhinos in Chauvet in France which are some 30,000 years old.  So, I drew the rhino in a sort of cave painting style. The body of the rhino is painted using a pearlescent medium with the acrylic paint to add a ghostly, ethereal quality to reflect the impermanent, uncertain feel of the future of these beautiful animals.


rhino+cave painting+abstract realism+impasto+Nicola McLean

to put the size into context

I’m hoping that I might be able to replicate the success of my last rhino painting Twitter campaign and also be able to sell this one directly via social media. If so, I’ll donate 40% to a charity called Saving the Survivors who recently rescued a rhino they’ve called Hope, when she was found horrendously injured having had her horns hacked right off her face.  She is going through a very slow healing process right now – it could take more than a year – but hopefully she will make a full recovery.

This painting is priced at £130 plus p&p and if you are interested in purchasing it please just email me (nicsearth[at]gmail.com) or please help me find the perfect home for it by sharing to your heart’s content via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram or any other way you like! It’s much appreciated. 


14 comments:

  1. I have never been one to meditate, simply because I find it impossible to empty my head... and with no distractions the problem is worse!! Anyway, how lovely that this image has literally fallen from your thoughts and dripped from your brush... It is so lovely and really unique! Love it! :0)

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  2. its amazing! I think you might know from reading my blog that many of my paintings come fom my inner eye,, and I will say, some of my very best, lol,
    this painting is beautiful, it has an ancient quality to its form , I love it!

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  3. Wow, the texture is just amazing Nic. A really great job. I like how the idea developed and the outcome.

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  4. amazing what our wandering thoughts and ideas can evolve into....thanks for sharing your mindful adventure. Another brilliant canvas!

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  5. beautiful cave painting!! love the story behind it. :)

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  6. LOVE your cave (wo)man painting, fantastic idea! Valerie

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  7. Fab cave painting. Happy PPF

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  8. I love how you got the idea for this painting while meditating, and how you it turned out. It's beautiful. I've been trying to get into a meditation practice but find it so difficult. I just end up getting so restless, and at a loss at what exactly I'm supposed to "do". But I've started going to yoga regularly again, and hopefully that will help to clear my mind. I guess there are many different ways to meditate, and you have to find the one that suits you best.

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  9. Wow quite the process..love that the sheep are hiding behind all the paint. Really cool new rhino and great story too!

    Hugs Giggles

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  10. Your work has progressed so far! I went back to 2010 to look at what you were doing then and its nothing like he vibrant free work you are doing now. YEA!!

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  11. Love the rhino. How fun is this piece.

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  12. I simply love how your painting came into being. And yes, it reminds alot of the cave paintings. Lovely colors as well.

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  13. What an interesting piece. I love how the modeling paste works on canvas. I would not have that it to be that small. I'm glad you held it up. The colors are fantastic. Blessings, Janet PPF

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  14. I love hearing about your creative process...from cottage to cave painting style rhino! I also am still loving how you use so many colors which would not have been on a cave painting. But the shape of your rhino works perfectly as a cave painting.

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

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