Thursday, 8 September 2016

The illusion of water - Fine Art Seen competition entry

Fine Art Seen - the illusion of water+still life+river rocks+pebbles+vibrant contemporary art+welly boots+wellies+Nicola McLean
'Stones in the river' - acrylic on canvas 30cm x 30cm

Camera phones are great, aren't they? I mean, I have an actual camera that's really pretty good but I tend to use it for photographing my paintings to put online, I rarely take it out with me when we go for walks because the camera on my phone is pretty good too and perfect for when inspiration strikes and you just want to snap a quick impression of a scene. 

When I’m on the beach with the dogs, I’ll snap away on my phone if I see anything that inspires me usually because of the colours or the reflection of light – mostly the sky or the sea but sometimes I’m lucky enough to see an otter or seal although then I usually just end up with a blurred smear that’s supposed to be the otter or seal as they disappear quicker than I can press the button.

still life+river rocks+pebbles+vibrant contemporary art+welly boots+wellies+Nicola McLean

A few weeks ago, I was wandering along by the Halladale river that flows down to the North Atlantic on Strathy beach and happened to be wearing a rather funky pair of wellies my sister had given me. I was looking down and was quite taken both with my wellies and the colourful stones on which I was standing. So I snapped a quick photo.

Originally my feet were at the bottom of the photo as I was looking down as I took it but I liked it better the other way round for the painting. 

stones in the river+photo reference+Nicola McLean

Fast forward a couple of months and I received an email about an art competition being run by Fine Art Seen, one of the online galleries that I’m a member of, with the theme ‘the illusion of water’. I remembered the photo and decided to have a go at painting it because the water I’d been standing in that day was so shallow that it was really only the reflections on the ripples that would indicate there was any water there at all – which seemed pretty appropriate for the theme.

still life+river rocks+pebbles+vibrant contemporary art+welly boots+wellies+Nicola McLean

Unfortunately, as seems to be the way nowadays with online competitions, the method by which they decide the top 50 paintings is to have an open vote for the public to choose which paintings they like best. I’m not a fan of art competitions being judged in this way because I feel that it turns the whole thing into a popularity contest which sort of ignores the actual quality of the art work in favour of how many friends the artist has which is crap for me because I don’t have that many friends! Maybe if I had a gazillion followers on Facebook/Instagram/Wherever I might like this idea more but, honestly, I'd rather the art was just judged on its own merits.

river rocks+colourful still life art+contemporary art+Nicola McLean+the illusion of water

However, much as I genuinely hate the online lobbying that this sort of competition voting necessitates, the first prize is £1000 worth of art supplies and winning that trumps my distaste of asking begging folks to take a couple of minutes out of their busy day to vote for me  so, here goes - PLEASE VOTE FOR ME(this is why I could never be a politician - all that campaigning for votes makes every inch of my introverted self cringe!) But, seriously, I’d really, really appreciate it. 

If I get enough votes to make it through to the top 50 they then have actual judges to decide on the winner and runners up - that may go in my favour or it may not but at least they'll judge the artwork and not the popularity of the artist! 

river rocks+pebbles in the river+reflection of water+still life art+contemporary art+Nicola McLean

Selected works will also be on exhibition in London in 2017. Fine Art Seen will donate a percentage of any commission earned on the sale of artwork during the exhibition, to UNICEF whose mission is to eliminate malnutrition by 2030 and who work to improve sanitation and hygiene of water sources in Africa. 

work in progress+artist at work+art studio+river rock painting+still life+Nicola McLean

Thanks so much if you do vote for my painting. By the way, the title is also the title of a song by Carrie Newcomer which I came across on YouTube when looking for song lyrics that mentioned stones and rivers! I'd never heard it before but it's really rather nice!


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