Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Nature's Fireworks...a landscape painting

Aurora Borealis+vibrant artwork+impasto+acrylic+NicseARTh
'Nature's Fireworks' - acrylic on box canvas 40 x 30cm 

Happy New Year. I hope everyone had their own version of a perfect festive season. As always, ours was quiet and I ate too much. On New Year's Eve we stayed home as we always do but we missed the fireworks being broadcast live from London, Edinburgh and wherever else because we were lucky enough to be experiencing nature's own fireworks right above our cottage! 

Here I am looking terribly glamorous with fleecy pyjamas, beanie hat and glass of spiced rum and coke in the driveway enjoying the light show!

The northern lights theme continues with my artwork this week as I finally finished a larger painting I've been working on for a few weeks now.

Aurora Borealis+vibrant artwork+impasto+acrylic+NicseARTh

I started this when we got back from Iceland inspired by some of the photos that S took while we were there but the days have been so dreary and dull that by the time I'm finally ready to start painting I only get an hour or two before the light fades so things have just been taking a lot longer. Roll on spring!

acrylic spray paints+impasto acrylic+landscape art+vibrant+NicseARTh

The sky was the easy part of this one as it was all mostly done with acrylic spray paints. I wanted to keep it quite loose and impressionistic so I just added a little definition to it with ordinary acrylics. 

acrylic spray paints+impasto acrylic+landscape art+vibrant+NicseARTh

Although, when I say this was the easy part, can I just quantify that with the confession that this is actually the second canvas I've painted this on. The first one I had the sky how I wanted it with spray paint but then I decided to try to make it much more defined, hated the result and ended up spraying over it. 

aurora borealis+northern lights+iceland+vibrant art+NicseARTh

Then I managed to smudge the paint when it was still wet which, with spray paint, can't be smoothed over without leaving a tell tale dent in the paint. I ended up attacking the wet spray paint with a palette knife, scraping it all off in a fit of pique, and surprised myself by seeing an idea for a very different landscape emerge. It's currently a work in progress so let's see how it pans out. Here's a sneaky peek of part of it:

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A sneaky peek of part of the salvaged canvas!

This is the photo that inspired the painting. The yellow/orange glow was caused by the moon as it was going down behind the mountains.

Once I figured out that I should stop messing around with the sky, it was the mountain that caused me to emit more than a few expletives. In the photo it is pretty much in silhouette against the bright sky but I'm not really a fan of silhouettes as I think they can look a little flat and one dimensional. 

So, I did what I always do. I added paint and I scraped paint off. I added some more paint and I scraped some more paint off. Eventually the scraping produced exactly the effect I was looking for and I carefully added a little more paint with a palette knife to get the look of snow in the craggy parts of the mountains. 

Nature's Fireworks

Anyway, I got there eventually and, sure, isn't the joy of painting keeping going until the vision on the canvas matches the vision in your mind?! 

So, this is the first finished painting of 2016 and I intend to procrastinate less and paint more in 2016 so hopefully it will be the first of many. I promise they won't all be of the northern lights but I suspect I've still got a few more to get out of my system!

I'll be linking up with Paint Party Friday and look forward to catching up with everyone after the holidays. 


  1. breathtaking piece Nic!! I don't think I could ever tire of seeing your northern lights paintings and can only imagine seeing those lights in person. Love your glam look:):) Hubby and I also stayed that way -quietly at home and comfy to bring in the New Year. I'm sure your WIP is going to be super too-looking forward to seeing its completion. Happy New year!

  2. its a beauty! Happy New Year!!!

  3. I absolutely love the way you reproduce the feeling of 'big sky' the huge expanse of the solar landscape trapped on a canvas. Caithness certainly does have big skies and it is obvious that they reflect in your work. the trip to iceland looked amazing, no wonder you were inspired. Beautiful start to the new year, best wishes to you for a fun, creative year.

  4. It is a stunning painting Nic! I had thought it was small until I came to your blog. How big is it? You are so lucky having seen such spectacular sights as this! :0)

  5. Fantastic work as always, Happy PPF, hugs, Valerie

  6. So beautiful! The painting is gorgeous..and this iceland trip must have been amazing!
    Happy New Year!

  7. You captured the essence of the northern lights. Great!

  8. beautiful!! definitely worth all your troubles and expletives!! Happy PPF!

  9. Just keep going with your northern lights Nic, these paintings are so full of the most beautiful colours and I can just keep staring at them. What kind of spray paints do you use? I really love the bright colours. I also like the contrast between the textured mountain and the soft bright sky. Great work! And that photo... wow! Are that the real lights you saw in the sky? It's amazing! Wishing you lots more of these beauties in the new year, and lots of joy creating them!

  10. Ooohhh I so want to seethe northern lights. We've had several false alarms here in New Jersey--the news saying to look outside--but nothing happened. Hopefully someday. Your photos and art are the next best thing! I'm new around the blog world. Happy to say that I am a new follower. Dea

  11. I always knew we could be friends but that spice rum and coke solidified it!! My drink of choice is dark or spiced rum! This is gorgeous and I love all the wonderful texture married through it! Such a beauty you have created with beautiful colour...seems like there was a lot of inspiration in Iceland! I so enjoyed your trip photos!! Thanks for sharing and Happy New year to you!

    Hugs Giggles

  12. I hope you haven't finished with the Northern Lights series Nic, because they are fabulous. I love all of the colours and textures. Just beautiful.
    No wonder you were inspired by natures display both in Iceland and at home... they are amazing and how lucky that you saw them to welcome in your New Year.
    Spiced rum and coke... why didn't I think of that instead of a wee dram!
    Happy PPF to you

  13. Wow- those northern lights are amazing. As our your paintings with them too. What a perfect theme for this time of year!

  14. That sounds like the perfect Christmas break, nice and quiet, and good food. And how lovely to get such a special show from nature to ring in the New Year. Much better than fireworks.
    Your painting looks gorgeous, I love the snow capped mountain range. Mountains always make me happy. And forest. And snow. To procrastinate less and paint more are also big on my list for this year - along with some trips to the mountains.


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


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