Thursday, 22 October 2015

A seagull, a boat, a Wildlife TV Presenter and why I might not blog so often...

Seagull+contemporary art+northern lights+NicseARTh
'Fly to your tomorrow' - acrylic on canvas 30 x 30cm

So I had an impromptu blogging break last week. We were travelling the five hour round trip to Inverness last Thursday afternoon to see Steve Backshall (a wildlife TV presenter) on his Wild World Tour (which by the way was amazing even if we were the only adults without kids as our excuse for being there – his wildlife shows are aimed first and foremost at kids and it was through my stepson that I first discovered him). 

Me and Mr Steve Backshall!

He leads the most fascinating life and has travelled to over 100 countries so far and interacted with (and been bitten by) numerous amazing creatures.  At the end of his presentation, he even made a point of signing everyone’s books (he writes children’s fiction and has an autobiography out) and getting photos taken and yes, we absolutely waited for our turn (well, my turn at least - S took the photo of Steve Backshall and me!)

seagull+contemporary art+acrylic+NicseARTh

Anyway, the paintings on this post, I did last week and the seagull I decided should migrate from Cornwall where I originally took his photo up to here where I placed him against the backdrop of the northern skies.

The canvas I used was actually one I had painted a Twisty Town version of our cottage on when we first moved in. I was bored with it so decided to spray paint over it and then happened upon the photo of the gull and decided he'd look quite nice perched on a rock there. I had used crackle glaze over the old painting and the texture from that has come through in parts on the new painting which somehow thankfully works!

boat+stars+surrealism+close up+contemporary art+NicseARTh
'Float amongst the stars' - Acrylic on canvas 12.5 x 12.5cm

The little boat was one I'd taken a photo of floating in the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean when we were in Crete but I thought it would be fun to play with a little surrealism and have it floating amongst the stars.

boat+stars+surrealism+close up+contemporary art+NicseARTh

Both are available to purchase from my Artfinder shop and also I’m really excited because I recently submitted several pieces of art to Ohh Deer’s Pillow Fight – an annual competition they run where artists can have their work put onto cushions which are sold by Ohh Deer online – and all of them were approved and are now available to purchase for a limited time (I think up until Christmas)! You can see the other designs if you click on the link - here are this week's paintings as cushions:

Fly to your tomorrow Cushion

Float amongst the stars Cushion
As with most of the online competitions these days, the more 'likes' a particular pillow gets the more chance the artist has of winning the competition so if you wanted to pop over and give my designs some love that would be much appreciated although honestly, I'm just delighted to see them as cushions and I think I'll order a couple for myself as they'll go lovely on my sofa!! 

wooden boat+stars+starry sky+surrealism+NicseARTh

As for blogging, I've realised that I actually don't have to blog every week - sometimes, I almost feel obliged to for some reason when actually the only person putting pressure on me to blog is me. Will the world stop turning if I only blog once a month or just when I've got something to blog about? Nope. Will anyone notice if I skip a week or two - I doubt it (Well, perhaps my mum!) 

Anyway, all new art for sale is updated on my Artfinder shop and I am around on my Instagram or Facebook pages as I update them pretty much daily so if you use any of those social media sites then please do give me a follow and we can keep up to date on all things arty that way. 

Friday, 9 October 2015

Lighting the way...A world record breaking attempt

Lighthouse+starry sky+spray paint+derwent graphik liners+NicseARTh
Lighting the way - acrylic spray paint and acrylic paint pens

So, I don't normally post twice in one week very often but I mentioned in my last post about the Society of All Artists and their attempt to set a world record for the largest number of original artworks exhibited under one roof.

Lighthouse+starry sky+spray paint+derwent graphik liners+NicseARTh
Reuben couldn't be less interested in being my art assistant/model!

It's open to all artists and the only stipulation is that the art must be 2.5 x 3.5 inches - the size of an Artist Trading Card (ATC).

All the paintings will be exhibited on giant display boards and become part of a permanent exhibition at SAA HQ in Newark, England.

Lighthouse+starry sky+spray paint+derwent graphik liners+NicseARTh

I wanted to have a go but I also wanted to use acrylics so I decided to see how a piece of ATC size watercolour paper would take to being spray painted. Turns out it worked pretty well!  I had my background so I just had to decide what to paint on it.  

The idea of a lighthouse came to me but the ones up here don't look like the traditional sort of lighthouse - you know the tall round tower, usually red and white. So, I visited my favourite reference photo resource, Paint My Photo, and found a painting by Terry Krysak of a lighthouse in British Columbia, Canada, which was more what I had in mind. I then used a large dollop of artistic licence as well as my Derwent Graphik Liner paint pens.
My box of Derwent Graphik Paint Liners

You can send in as many as you like but I think I'm happy to take part with just the one and it's sparked a few ideas of further paintings that I plan to do on canvas.

It doesn't say anywhere whether it is just open to UK artists so if you'd like to be part of attempting to set a world record then just pop over to the SAA's website for more info.

As this is my second post this week, if you haven't already, you can click here to see my earlier post  - the pet portrait of the winner of the Scottish SPCA fundraise

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The Dog Star... a portrait of a chocolate labrador

Chocolate Labrador+pet portrait+starry sky+contemporary art+NicseARTh
'Koko' - acrylic paint on canvas 24cm x 30cm

So, remember my pet portrait giveaway to raise funds for the Scottish SPCA? Well, this is the winner’s portrait. This is Koko, a much loved Chocolate Labrador who sadly crossed the rainbow bridge a few years ago.

pet portrait close up+vibrant painting+=dog art+NicseARTh

pet portrait close up+vibrant painting+=dog art+NicseARTh

pet portrait close up+vibrant painting+=dog art+NicseARTh

I had initially planned to do his portrait on the small square box canvas that I often use but the angle of his head in the reference photo didn't really work on a square canvas, so his ears would’ve had to wrap around the sides which I didn’t want to do (or I'd have have to make him really, really tiny which I also didn't want to do.)  

As I was deliberating on how best to paint him, I spotted a larger rectangular canvas that I’d painted a starry night sky onto which I had planned to use for a landscape painting, sitting on one of my easels. It gave me an idea….what if I painted Koko with the starry sky behind him? He was looking up in the photo and I thought it could look really sweet, as if he was looking up at the stars.

pet portrait+Scottish SPCA+Fundraiser prize winner+chocolate labrador+NicseARTh

I used all my favourite vibrant colours, which you can see in the close up photos, and I have to say I really, really enjoyed painting this and now I definitely want to paint one of our Springer Spaniel, Skye, in the same style.

pet portrait+Scottish SPCA+Fundraiser prize winner+chocolate labrador+NicseARTh
A painting selfie for size context!

I'm delighted that Gillian, Koko's person, has told me that she loves the portrait and the starry sky idea - she even came up with the title for this post and loved that it looked like he was looking up to heaven.

pet portrait+Scottish SPCA+Fundraiser prize winner+chocolate labrador+NicseARTh

In other news the Society of all Artists are attempting to break a world record and I'm taking part, but that's a whole other post which I'll do later in the week!  I'll be linking up, as always, with all the other creatives at Paint Party Friday and will look forward to a feast for the eyes then. 

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Northern Skies... a commissioned landscape

Northern Lights+Aurora Borealis+Scottish Art+Contemporary Landscape+NicseARTh
'Northern Skies' - impasto acrylic on canvas - 30cm x 24cm

I was delighted to receive a commission for a painting of the northern lights, not least because they're one of my absolute favourite skies to paint. I also loved the story behind the commission because it reminded me of the kind of thoughtful thing that S would do for me.

The person who commissioned me is planning a surprise trip to the far north of Scotland for his partner’s birthday later this year. She has always wanted to see the northern lights and, much like the trip we took which planted the seed of us moving here nine months later, he has booked a cottage up here in the hope that the lights will put on a show for her. Given how active the skies have been so early already this year, hopefully they’ll be lucky and get to see them in all their glory.

Northern Lights+Aurora Borealis+Scottish Art+Contemporary Landscape+NicseARTh

My painting will either serve as a consolation prize if they don’t happen to see them in real life during their visit or, and I really hope this is the case, as a colourful reminder of a thoughtful surprise trip which will result in her being able to tick one wonderful natural phenomenon of her bucket list! 

Just to put the size into context

I had started this several weeks ago and then of course my arm was out of commission so I got stuck into it just before our holiday and finished it up when we got home. It's similar to the large one I did for above our own fire place but more of a snapshot of that much larger scene which was in turn inspired by one of S's photos of the northern lights on the beach in our village. I’m delighted that the client is really pleased with it and gave me the go ahead to blog about it as there is little possibility of his partner stumbling across my blog and ruining the surprise and because ‘art like this deserves to be seen’ – a lovely comment that made my day!

Northern Lights+Aurora Borealis+Scottish Art+Contemporary Landscape+NicseARTh

In other art news, after a summer where wet weather and/or swarms of midge put paid to S’s plans to get my studio finished, work is now back on track! I absolutely love the fact that the majority of the materials have been recycled/upcycled and are therefore both free and environmentally friendly with S only having to buy the wooden posts for the frame and concrete to make sure it’s well secured into the ground so the Caithness winds don’t blow it away! Even the windows have been donated by a friend of his who was going to take them to the dump and today he’s getting a load of Perspex that would otherwise also have been dumped so I can have a ‘skylight’ in the roof for even more light! It already looks good and I can't wait until it's all done with a little pot belly stove in the corner to keep me warm during the cold winter months while I paint to my heart's content without having to pack it all away so I can set the table for dinner!
I'm linking to Paint Party Friday and will look forward to getting my Friday dose of creativity from everyone else at the party!


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