Sunday, 15 May 2016

The birds and the bees...


bluetit+bird art+animal art+miniature art+Nicola McLean
Blue tit in acrylic on canvas 12.5 x 12.5cm (5x5 inches)

While I was working on the painting I posted last week of the two highland cows I decided to take a break from all the many layers of cow hair and do a quick little painting on a mini canvas. There are some lovely reference photos of various little birds, all taken by Gary Jones on Paint My Photo, so thought I'd start with a wee blue tit. 

art by nicola mclean+blue tit+close up+acrylic paint


I fancied I'd rattle out a quick, loose impressionistic painting in a couple of hours (you know, like folk who take part in those 'a painting a day' groups). Wrong. Turns out I'm not that good at 'quick' paintings. I like texture and layers too much, it seems. Perhaps I found it difficult to be loose with my brush strokes because this is such a small painting - the bird is practically life size and, as you know, they're only little so it required tiny brushes and tiny brush strokes. Whatever the reason, it ended up taking me two and a bit days to finish! At least now I know what to expect when I come to do any of the other birds - they won't be done in a day.

art by nicola mclean+blue tit+close up+acrylic paint
To put the size into context

In other news, we finally found out which bee paintings have been shortlisted for the Great British Bee Count project run by Friends of the Earth in collaboration with Artfinder. The top secret celebrity turned out to be Jo Woods (ex wife of Ronnie Woods of Rolling Stone fame) who is now an interior designer and environmentalist, apparently. She was tasked with curating the exhibition which it also turns out is in a tiny room in MyHotel Chelsea. The tininess of the room meant that she could only choose 18 paintings out of over 300. The enormousness (and not enormity apparently - I checked Google as I wasn't sure if enormousness was even a word!) of the task resulted in her final decision being delayed and then delayed a bit more and then delayed a while longer. She finally made her choices and we were told a couple of days ago. Mine was not one of those chosen. Hey Ho.


#GreatBritishBeeCount #FriendsoftheEarth #ArtfinderBees Nicola McLean
Available to purchase from my Artfinder shop

Here are the paintings which where chosen if you'd like to have a look. The rest of us will be blasting social media on 19 May with our bee paintings and the hashtags #GreatBritishBeeCount #ArtfinderBees to help raise awareness of the event. If my bee sells I'll donate a percentage to Friends of the Earth and I think that many of the other artists plan to do the same so although it's disappointing that the exhibition turned out to be so small hopefully it will all still help to raise awareness on the plight of the bees which is what it's all about. 


art by nicola mclean+blue tit+close up+acrylic paint
Available from my website

In other news, if you've been a long time visitor to my blog you might remember Phillip and then Pedro, the pheasants who became familiar figures in our garden and surrounding fields, until they succumbed to either the bullet or the road. Well, there's a new kid in town.

Meet Prong, so called because of the strange protuberance sticking out (like a prong) just above his beak.  

Prong the pheasant

We're not sure if this is a deformity or not but we've never seen any other male pheasants with anything like it.  He isn't yet coming up to us for bird seed like Phillip and Pedro did, but he was marching confidently round our garden the other day and is a regular in the fields at the back of our cottage so hopefully he'll stick around and stay out of the way of the shoots and traffic for a while yet.


One of the wee satellite dish doves!

In other bird related news,  last year a pair of collared doves attempted to make a nest at the back of our satellite dish but abandoned it a few twigs in. They came back this year and went ahead and built one, and very precariously placed it is too as you can see from the photo above! Lucky for us the satellite dish is conveniently just outside our dining room window so we can see their comings and goings and yesterday I'm pretty sure their egg hatched! I caught a tiny peek of a teeny little baby but mostly the mum (or dad as they share duties) seems to be keeping it warm under their bodies. Hopefully we'll get to see more as it grows.

That's all the Wildlife News from Craggis Cottage this week, thanks for popping by!


17 comments:

  1. wow lots of news ,,,,,good news and bird news!!! the painting is beautiful,,such a lovely bird,,

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  2. He is acute little bloke.
    Merle........

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  3. yes, I always wonder how on earth people can make a painting a day, and this for a month or a year long. I would love to run my finger over that canvas, the texture looks yummy. Such a shame that they only had so little exhibition space for the Bee paintings. And I must say I very much prefer your painting above all the ones that she has chosen. That woman has a weird taste ... Yours has it all: beautifully painted and very symbolic for the threat to the species and the earth. I'm sure it'll sell fast!

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  4. adorable little bird. I'm with you...I don't understand how to make a painting a day. I have trouble with doing a sketch a day for the occasional challenge that pops up. I took a look at the winning pieces for the bee paintings. not as impressed as I am with yours! ah well.

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  5. darling bird painting Nic- he is just the cutest!! How disappointing to have so many FABULOUS entries and then have so many turned away:( I hope they change all that for the next time. That is some vibrant and a bit intimidating looking pheasant. Love the doves and lucky you to have them nesting so close. We may have nesting catbirds nearby but need to find the nest yet without disturbing them. And then i need to keep a good eye out on my dog!

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  6. I'm loving all of your wildlife news! We have lots of Blue Tits nesting around our house... In Pipe holes, vents and rafters! But we love them! So your painting is quite apt right now and completely gorgeous!!! :0)

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  7. I completely fail to see how your bee was not chosen!!

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  8. Lots of news this week! Sorry your new painting didn't make it. I really liked it's imaginative design. I had a look at the ones that made it. I really liked the collage they seemed to choose a diverse selection. I am very pleased to see a new pheasant on the block..I hope he keeps safe...pheasants don't seem to have a lot of sense for their own
    safety!

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  9. Sorry to here that your painting was not chosen, I loved it very much. Love the new blue tit one, very well made. They are the most frequent visitors here on my balcony. Nice photos of the grouse and doves, too. Happy PPF, hugs, Valerie

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  10. What an adorable little bird! I always enjoyed watching the blue and great tits hopping around in the tree outside my window, but of course they're all gone now. I'm always fascinated with your tiny canvasses, I'm quite struggling with painting or drawing on a smaller scale but I'm trying to learn to scale down in my sketchbooks. What a shame about that exhibition but I hope all of the bee paintings will help raise awareness and money!

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  11. I think your bird is so adorable! And I love your bee painting too. It's too bad it wasn't chosen but I think it's fabulous. I love it and it has a great message. :)

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  12. Wow, that bee is so realistic and the painting gorgeous. Your dear little bird, like all of your animals reflect your love and respect for the animal kingdom. Happy PPF

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  13. OK,,,, sooo,,,, really??? Your bee was not chosen over some of the bees that were? I think she is art blind. LOL I love the bee and the bird. I am with you about painting a picture a day. Your art is unique, genuine, and full of life. Have a great weekend.

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  14. What a precious little bird! I love the layers and textures to create all the little feathers and features! I like your bee, too bad it did not make it in the show. The dove is beautiful and your pheasant looks like an American turkey. What an interesting bird. Thank you for sharing so much. Great post. Happy PPF and have a wonderful week. Rasz

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  15. Oh, my. How beautiful--these just fill my eyes, which is the greatest compliment I can give! I adore the detail you put into your paintings!

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  16. Stunning little birdy, love your layers! I'm quite shocked your bee wasn't chosen. It's by far the best...such an incredible piece. Maybe yours was too professional...Love your world of bird stories! Thanks for sharing. After I wrote my comment I decided to read the comments...not surprising we all feel the same!! I feel your bee represents so well...vibrant and full of life! I would enter in another exhibit...it's amazing! Great post!! Also glad I'm not the only slow artist!

    Hugs Giggles

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  17. Love the bird and bees paintings. Good photos too. Sweet dove.

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

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