Friday, 31 July 2015

On the other hand...

abstract painting+cityscape+vibrant+impasto+Nicola McLean
'Rain in the city' - 2x2 inch impasto acrylic

Well, a couple of weeks ago I was bemoaning the fact that I still couldn't paint as my left arm was still painful (by the way, I finally had it X-rayed on Monday and it turns out it was actually fractured but because it happened four weeks ago they won't put a cast on it as the bone has already started to knit back together. So I've been given a support bandage and some prescription painkillers and the advice 'how long is a piece of string' with regards to how much longer it might take to heal!) 

Anyway, a few folk suggested trying to paint or draw with my non-dominant hand just for fun and to relieve the frustration of not having painted for so long.

I decided to give it a go. I knew it would be a pretty abstract piece as, having practiced writing the alphabet using my right hand and seeing how very difficult that was (how did we ever learn to write as children!!) I knew I wouldn't be creating any detailed line drawings!

miniature art+impasto+acrylic+cityscape+skyline+Nicola McLean

I had no idea what I was going to paint when I started but I figured I would just make some marks using my favourite vibrant colours and see what transpired. I really enjoyed the intuitive aspect of this and it was very freeing not having any expectations of the outcome.

As I went along it started to look a little like a city skyline to me and so I went with that and, although it is very abstract, I think it does look a bit like a cityscape with the buildings and lights reflected in the rain.

Available in my Artfinder Shop

I'm so pleased I gave it a go with my right hand and even did another one the next day - this time I knew I wanted to continue with the skyline theme so started out with an idea in mind and let it go from there. I'll post that one next week.

In other news, I'm very excited to tell you that my portrait of Frank the pug has been shortlisted in the Ken Bromley Cover Competition. It's quite a big shortlist with 100 paintings in it and the idea now is that folk vote for their three favourites and the paintings with the most votes go through to the final. This is the part where I ask for a huge favour - please would you take a minute to click through here and vote for my painting as your first choice - I'd really appreciate it! The winning painting becomes the cover of their winter art supply catalogue and I'd love to see Frank as a cover boy!

With your help, Frank the pug could be a cover star!

I'm linking with Paint Party Friday as always. Thank you for your visits and comments, they really do brighten my day. 

Friday, 17 July 2015

Memory of a sunset...a Scottish seascape.

Scottish contemporary landscape art+Nicola McLean
'Memory of a sunset' - 4x4 inch canvas in 7.5 x 7.5 inch box frame

There's an expression that life can turn on a dime. To put it into UK currency that would probably be a five pence piece (doesn't have quite the same ring to it!). Anyway, the point is, one minute you're painting away and have more completed artwork than blog posts so are in the lucky position of having a stockpile of art to write about and the next you've been bitten by a dog and your stupid wrist has stupid crush injuries which means even after nearly three weeks you can't even hold a stupid paintbrush far less paint a stupid picture.

colourful contemporary Scottish landscape painting+Nicola McLean

That's where I'm at right now.  This is the last completed painting I have in my arsenal. I finished it weeks ago and it's listed in my Artfinder shop but because I had been on a painting roll, I hadn't gotten round to showing it on my blog. So, here it is. The last one and at this point, I'm not honestly sure when I'll be able to paint again. Which is a bummer, to put it mildly. I keep thinking it's getting better but then yelp in pain when I put any weight on it or try to grip anything so I guess it'll take a while longer yet.

colourful contemporary Scottish landscape painting+Nicola McLean

I've been trying to stay positive, being a firm believer that what you put out you get back but, honestly, it's easier said than done right now. I know that in the scheme of things it's just a sore wrist and much worse things happen to folk all the time. That still doesn't help when it means I can't drive the gorgeous new car that's been sitting in our driveway for a week now, or cut up my own dinner or even write my name. I know it'll just take time - it can take weeks for soft tissue damage to heal completely but when I'm travelling back to Ireland next week on my own it would be handy (no pun intended) if I could carry my own luggage. 

This is me at the start of the week doing my best 'were you injured in an accident at work and it wasn't your fault' impression!!

So, to use up spare paint at the end of a painting day, I randomly apply it to a blank canvas and that is how this paintings started life, as most of my landscape paintings do these days. Straightaway I could see a beachy sunset and so that's what it became in a quite abstract way. This is how it started:

Anyway, in order to balance this rather downbeat post, here's some positive news:

My charity pet portrait fundraiser has raised £367 plus £62 in gift aid so far in just a week! I'm so delighted as I never imagined we'd raise so much. Hopefully, there will be a write up in our local paper which might bring in a bit more as well. Thank you so much to everyone who has made a donation so far. 

Photo taken when I could still hold things in that hand!

I started using Instagram a lot more recently and not having any new paintings I've been posting old ones. Last week, I was asked by Art without a Roof to submit one of my northern lights paintings to their website and got news yesterday that it was accepted. How it works is that folk click on the paintings they like and if they get enough likes they are printed onto products for sale such as tee shirts. 15% of the sale price goes to the artist and 10% goes to charity. If you get a chance maybe you could click on my painting and maybe you could submit some of your own art as well - it seems like a really great artist led movement to promote art and raise funds at the same time.

Well, that's all folks. I'll be taking a wee blogging break now until I have something to blog about but I'll still be around on Instagram and Twitter so maybe I'll see you there.  Thanks as always to those of you who take the time to visit, it's always appreciated. 

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

A custom pet portrait competition...for charity

cat+pet portrait+impasto+contemporary art+Nicola McLean
'Lily' - impasto acrylic on canvas 4x4 inches 

First, happy blogaversary to me! My wee blog turned 5 last Sunday!

Now, if you happened to visit a few weeks ago you might remember the portrait I did of Lil Bub in the thick impasto style that I've been using for my landscapes. 

impasto+pet portrait+contemporary+colourful+art+nicola mclean
Lily's portrait in the wee box frame

Well, I decided to do one of my own wee cat, Lily, which I put in a box frame (finished before my arm injury induced sabbatical from painting). She's going to be the poster girl for a pet portrait competition that I'm planning to run through July and August.

contemporary pet portraits+impasto+tuxedo cat+NicseARTh

The idea came to me a while ago when I came across a pet portrait artist who was running a sort of draw where everyone paid £1 to enter and once the cost of the pet portrait had been met, she drew a name from a metaphorical hat and the winner got a custom pet portrait. My first thought was that it was very entrepreneurial of her and my second thought was that it would be a good way to raise funds for an animal charity.

Nicola McLean artist+animal art+pet portraits+impasto

I know folk get sick of being asked to sponsor walks/runs/abseils etc but this way it's more like entering a raffle for only £1 per entry (approx $1.54 USD or $2.09 AUS at today's exchange rate) with the possibility of winning a custom pet portrait. 

The portrait will be a close up head shot in a contemporary, colourful, textured style, just like this one of Lily, in acrylic on a miniature canvas measuring 4 x 4 inches and will include the natural wood box frame which measures 7.5 x 7.5 inches. 

*Please note that postage is not included in the prize but will be by Royal Mail Tracked and I'll advise the winner how much it will be at the time*

close up of texture

Anyway, I'm going to give it a go and see if I can possibly raise some much needed funds for the Scottish SPCA animal shelter where I volunteer. I've created a JustGiving page which explains exactly what's what and 100% of the money will go to charity. As always with these things, I'll be making use of Twitter, Instagram and although I've pretty much given up on Facebook at this point, hope springs eternal and I'll try posting it on there as well. There's no hoops to jump through, I'm not looking for 'likes' or followers, this is purely a charity fundraising thing.

So, hopefully, if SSPCA share it on their social media pages as well, it might raise a few £££s for the animals. 

cat+art+pet portrait+nicola mclean

JustGiving - Sponsor me now! 

I'd be very grateful if you would share my JustGiving page to your animal loving friends so we can try to raise as much as possible. I'll be linking as always to Paint Party Friday. See you there. 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

The silver lining.

'The silver lining' - impasto acrylic on canvas 2x2 inch

This has been the worst summer that I can remember, as far as rubbish weather is concerned. When you're walking the dogs on the beach in June and still need a hat and gloves, you know something isn't right.

the silver lining+contemporary landscape art+nicola mclean

Anyway, there I was on one such day a couple of weeks ago feeling quite fed up at the lack of summer and wondering if there was a Daylight Saving Time version of Seasonal Affective Disorder where although we've got plenty of daylight, there's no actual sun, thus putting folk like me into a funk, when I looked across at the horizon and noticed a beautiful chink of light streaming through the otherwise grey sky. I thought to myself 'this must be the silver lining every cloud apparently has', and took a quick photo on my phone.

TINY ART+Scottish art+Nicola McLean

Back at the cottage I decided to do a little painting of it which I then framed and added to my Artfinder shop. A few days later, it was featured in one of Artfinder's newsletters and sold later that day! Turns out it really was a silver lining!

contemporary landscape art+impasto+silver lining+nicola mclean

In other news, in a not so silver lining event, I am currently typing this one handed after learning a very painful lesson on Monday - if your two females dogs decide to have a fight, do NOT attempt to separate them. I did and got a springer bite on my wrist plus a little westie nip at the back of my leg, for my troubles.

Turns out that Skye is currently going through her adolescence which includes trying to assert her dominance with the other dogs. Apparently it's not uncommon for female dogs to fight on occasion which is why she went for Brodie and not Reuben. My instinct was to separate them as I honestly thought she would kill Brodie, being so much bigger, but even after I got them apart, Brodie came running back for more, which is how I ended up in the crossfire! 

The view that inspired the painting

I've learnt that I should've thrown a bucket of cold water over them instead because unfortunately I came away worse than either dog, neither of whom had so much as a scratch and who were back to being pals, sniffing each other's butts five minutes later and wondering what all the fuss was about. 

As for me, well I got a tetanus shot, antibiotics and sutures at A&E but at the moment, because of soft tissue bruising, I can't use my left arm at all which, being left handed, means it's all very awkward trying to do anything and the worst part is, I can't paint! I also can't drive so I'm stuck at home and feeling very frustrated at my inability to finish all the paintings I've got in various stages of completion. Hopefully, it won't be too long before the muscle heals and I can pick up a palette knife (and straighten my hair which currently looks like I'm channelling the wild woman of Borneo!)

oh, and to add insult to injury, would you believe we actually had one day of sunshine yesterday and, what with the big bandage round my wrist and being unable to use my arm to apply sun cream to my right side, I couldn't even sit outside to enjoy it! 

Linking as always to Paint Party Friday, it might just take me longer than usual to leave you a comment! 


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