Monday, 31 August 2015

And the winner of the Scottish SPCA pet portrait fundraiser is...

So, my JustGiving fundraiser competition came to an end on Monday 31st August and thanks to everyone who donated we raised £455 for the Scottish SPCA!!

I used a Random Name Generator from the internet to help me pick a winner. (I was going to do it the old fashioned way and print out every name, cut them up and put them into an actual hat but I figured this would be a much easier, quicker way of doing it.

In the interests of fairness and because I had stipulated that every £1 donated equated to an entry into the draw, folk who donated £10 got ten entries, folk who donated £20 got twenty and so on.

And the winner is....

Of course, because it was mostly my friends and folk I know who donated, there was a very high chance that I'd know the winner, and it turns out that I've known this one for 33 years, ever since she led me astray during our high school years! I also know that she had mentioned not so long ago that she wanted to commission a portrait of her dog, Koko, who has sadly passed away so I've only gone and done myself out of a commission! (I'm kidding, I'm delighted for you Gillian!)

Gillian can choose between the impasto 4x4 inch portrait in the box frame in this style:

Impasto acrylic 4x4 inch in wooden box frame

or the 5x5 inch box canvas in this style:

Acrylic on box canvas 5x5 inches
Thank you so much to everyone who donated  - I never thought we'd raised £455 so I'm absolutely delighted! 

Gillian, I'll be in touch to let you know when I'll be able to make a start on the portrait (hint, it'll be after we get back from Crete where we're off to this weekend, for a well earned spot of sunshine!)

Thursday, 27 August 2015

She had a green's all a bit surreal

surrealism+surreal painting+cosmos+universe+milky way+moon+stag+NicseARTh
'She had a green dream' - acrylic on canvas 40cm x 50cm

This week I finished the painting I was working on for my advanced reiki project. You might remember I had mentioned a while back that in order to receive our certificates for successfully completing the reiki 3rd degree we had to produce something that showed we understood all we had learned in reiki as it applied to us personally. I could’ve written an essay (which actually my narrative to my reiki master in the covering email pretty much was!) or a poem or even created a mood board. Of course, it’s not really a surprise that I decided to paint my project.  The title is a phrase that came up in relation to me during the reiki course and it seemed appropriate for this painting. 

surreal art+stag+landscape+painting+NicseARTh

It’s my first time with surrealism and I really enjoyed it. My friend and fellow artist, Sandra, may recognise the scene I painted in the stag's body - there was a reason why I replicated one of my previous landscape paintings - it fits into the meaning of the painting for me.  

I think I’d like to play around with it again in the future – it’s really a lot of fun painting completely from your imagination based purely on your own personal interpretation of something. Of course, the challenge is getting the imaginary image from your mind’s eye to the canvas but I have to say that this turned out better than I had hoped and I have to thank fellow artist (and exceptional colour pencil realist) Katherine Thomas who happened to mention, on Facebook,  a book she had, called ‘Imaginative realism: how to paint what doesn’t exist’.

moon+cosmos+night sky+art+NicseARTh

I promptly ordered it from Amazon and although I haven’t read the whole book, I skimmed through it to find any parts that were relevant for this painting and I did get a great wee tip about drawing on to tracing paper and taping that on to the canvas to get the perfect placement rather than just starting to paint straight onto the canvas and then realising it should’ve been left a bit or down a bit! I put that to good use to find the right place to put the stag and the gateway

portal+gateway+cosmos+mystical+reiki energy+universal energy

Anyway, you might be looking at the painting, thinking ‘WTF?’ and that’s okay because you can interpret it in your own way. Or perhaps, if you have come to know me a little from popping by my blog you'll be able to interpret it quite easily. Who knows. Isn't that the beauty of surrealism?! I think it’s the first time I’ve ever done a painting where the meaning isn’t entirely plain and obvious. I think I like that. 

'She had a green dream'

In other news, my Justgiving fundraising campaign for the Scottish SPCA comes to an end soon and I'll be drawing a winner for the custom pet portrait on 31 August. If you haven't already donated and you'd like to be in with a chance to win a portrait of your dog/cat/small furry then there's still time. Just click on the link and donate as little as £1 to enter the draw. 

I'll be linking up with Paint Party Friday and as always will look forward to seeing what is happening in the online world of creativity. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

The road less travelled... A landscape painting and some Instagram animals.

contemporary Scottish Landscape painting+impasto+Nicola McLean
'The road less travelled' - impasto acrylic on box canvas 5x5 inch

This is a little landscape that I started before dogbite-gate all those many weeks ago. I started working on it again last week and it's been a process of adding paint and scraping paint off and adding more paint, which is often how I find my landscapes progressing.  Although I like the texture, sometimes on the smaller canvasses it builds up too much and I find that if I scrape it back it reveals different layers of colour underneath and adds more interesting texture. 

It's all very trial and error which is what I love about it and what is sometimes quite frustrating - you know that whole - 'this is awesome/this is tricky/this is shit/I am shit/this might be ok/this is awesome' process that every artist goes through. Well, I wouldn't say I reached the final 'this is awesome' stage with this one but a close enough 'this will do'!

contemporary Scottish Landscape painting+impasto+Nicola McLean

In other news, I have resurrected the 'Jotter Doodle'. Sort of by accident. I decided that I should start sketching again as I never really do any sketches or quick studies at all. So I went to buy a new sketchbook in Tesco last week and as they were all sealed in cellophane I spent ages guessing which had ruled lines and which didn't. I finally bought one that appeared not to have. Until I got it home and unwrapped the cellophane and discovered it actually did. Not to be deterred I decided to use it for sketching anyway. 


In the last few months I've really started using my Instagram account - I'd had it for a few years but only ever sporadically added any photos and then still wondered why I never got any new followers. So, I've been spending much more time there than on my Facebook page and I have to say I really love it. I've discovered so many great people, animals, books and yoga poses that I'll never in a million years be able to hold. So, I decided to sketch some of the very cute animals that I follow and so the 'Instadoodle' was born. (apologies, if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you may have seen these already).


These are the ones I've done so far and I've got a list of other critters I want to sketch. These are all done using my new Derwent Graphik Liner pens which I totally love!


As for my arm, I was asked to call in to my Doctor on Tuesday to discuss the results of the x-ray I had taken two weeks ago just before I went back to Ireland on holiday. So, it turns out that it wasn't just a hairline fracture which the previous doctor had lead me to believe (the same one who insisted I didn't need an x-ray in the first place) it was actually a comminuted fracture which means the bone splintered in at least three pieces! Good to know. Anyway, after thinking it was on the mend last week, I may have overdone things and it is aching quite badly again now (although thankfully I can still paint!) I'm being referred to the fracture clinic at hospital now so hopefully, finally, I'll get some proper information on what I should or shouldn't be doing with it (that I'm not having to look up myself on Google) and will know for sure if it's healing properly and will eventually get back to normal. Sheesh. 

That's all my news, I'll be linking to Paint Party Friday and will look forward as always to catching up with everyone and their new creations there. 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Aim for the moon...

This week I'm grateful for the little things. I was able to start painting with my left hand again which was such a relief as, although I love the little abstracts I did with my right hand, I was itching to getting back to painting with a hand I could control (although truth to tell the way I paint these days you might not be able to tell the difference as it's all very loose anyway!)

I was also able to drive for the first time in six weeks which, when you live out in the sticks, is really a necessity - poor S was having to chauffeur me around everywhere. It was even better because I finally got to drive Flo, our gorgeous new car which we got the same week I injured my arm.

It's still a bit sore and I don't want to overdo things but it's definitely a lot better than it was. I've even been able to start practicing yoga again just avoiding any poses that involve putting my weight on my wrists. 

I mentioned a few weeks ago that as part of my Reiki Master training I was given a project to show by any means (an essay, a short story, a poem, a painting perhaps) my own personal journey into reiki. Well, I knew I would do a painting (naturally) and every so often (usually during a meditation) I'd get little images of what I wanted to depict. These aren't set in stone yet as I'm not sure if I'll be able to get what I have in my mind onto the canvas - it's certainly going to be quite surreal but it'll make sense to me!

Anyway, this is where I'm at with it so far and I've had some fun with the toothbrush spattering paint to create the milky way! Sorry the photos aren't the best - it's quite a shiny surface and difficult to capture on camera 

In other news, today is World Elephant Day so here's a wee flash back to a painting I did a few years ago of an elephant. I re-jigged her eye slightly recently as there was something I wasn't happy with so I guess technically it's a recent painting now that I've done that. (What do you mean no?!)

'Forget me not' - impasto acrylic 25 x 50cm
(£200 with 50% donated to World Elephant Day
if purchased directly from me)

That's all my news this week, I'm just so happy to be painting and driving again! I'm linking with Paint Party Friday and will see you all there. 

Friday, 7 August 2015

Big smoke on the water - a tiny cityscape...

contemporary painting+abstract realism+cityscape+mini art+Nicola McLean Artist
'Big smoke on the water'
- acrylic impasto on 2x2 inch canvas in 5x5 inch box frame

I've just returned from a very lovely week back in Northern Ireland visiting my parents and catching up with old friends. The weather was pretty much exactly the same as I left behind in Scotland - wet and windy but it appears that while I was away I missed the Scottish summer - they had one sunny warm tee shirt wearing day in my absence!!

contemporary painting+abstract realism+cityscape+mini art+Nicola McLean Artist

Anyway, I spent the time being spoiled as always by my wonderful parents who at 80 and 81 still have a more active social calendar than I do! 

contemporary painting+abstract realism+cityscape+mini art+Nicola McLean Artist

I took advantage of the fact that I had an extra 7kgs of unused baggage allowance to do some clothes shopping and I lazed around reading my kindle and finding myself once again sucked in to the dramas of the soap operas that my parents watch. The best part is that I really rested my arm (while trying out some physio exercises I found on You Tube so it wouldn't get too stiff) and I'm very happy to say that I can feel a noticeable improvement so I think it is definitely on the mend - hopefully by the time I go back to my part time job next Tuesday I'll be able to drive there myself in Florence (our new Fiat 500).

contemporary painting+abstract realism+cityscape+mini art+Nicola McLean Artist

This is the second of the abstract cityscapes I painted with my non-dominant hand before I went back to Ireland. It was featured in the Artfinder Newsletter a few days ago which is always a lovely thing to happen and I'm very happy to report that the first one that I posted last week sold on Artfinder and is off to join two of my other paintings in its new home in Sweden!

contemporary painting+abstract realism+cityscape+mini art+Nicola McLean Artist

I do plan to do some more of these little abstract cityscapes but hopefully I'll be able to do them with my left hand.

contemporary painting+abstract realism+cityscape+mini art+Nicola McLean Artist

I'm also really excited to try the gorgeous new box of Derwent Graphik Liner pens that arrived just before I went on holiday. I've watched some videos on You Tube on the different ways you can use them and I can't wait to try!

Derwent Graphik Liners - so many new colourful painting opportunities!
 Here are a few of the photos from our wee night out - mobile phone cameras are never as fab as you think they are, especially in a dimly lit pub after a couple of drinks!!

Anyway, that's all my news. I'm very much looking forward to seeing if my wrist is going to play ball and let me get back to painting - I've got four half finished landscapes sitting staring at me!

contemporary painting+abstract realism+cityscape+mini art+Nicola McLean Artist

I'll be linking up with Paint Party Friday as always and will look forward to catching up with everyone else there. 


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