Monday, 22 February 2016

The spirit of disco...a surreal painting

disco ball+surrealism+cosmos+glitter ball+mirror ball+Nicola McLean
'The spirit of disco' - acrylic on box canvas 30cm x 40cm

So, if you've been a regular reader of my blog you'll know I've been having fun with a series of surreal paintings that I've come to think of as my 'space junk' series - random objects floating in the cosmos. It started with the little boat and now any random item that crosses my path or somehow comes into my consciousness is fair game. We have some Christmas tree baubles which look like miniature disco balls and they sparked the idea for this one.

disco ball+surrealism+cosmos+glitter ball+mirror ball+Nicola McLean

Although I thought a disco ball would be fun to have hanging in the sky, I may have underestimated just how difficult it would be to paint. All those individual little mirrored tiles in row after row but not all evenly spaced. All those rows creating ellipses as they make their way round the ball gave me so many headaches as I tried to work out did they curve upwards or downwards or both and then they seemed to turn into some kind of optical illusion in front of my eyes. 

disco ball+surrealism+cosmos+glitter ball+mirror ball+Nicola McLean

Let's just say, I spent a looong time trying to ensure the rows correctly followed the curve of the ball so if you spot any errors at this point please keep it to yourself! I'd think it was finished and start to photograph it but then notice a little tile here or there that wasn't quite right so I'd work on it again - I spent most of Sunday doing that and then finally this afternoon I declared it finished before I lost my marbles!

disco ball+surrealism+cosmos+glitter ball+mirror ball+Nicola McLean

In other news, you may have heard of AirBnB - where you can travel the world and stay in people's spare rooms or empty apartments - I had heard of it but honestly didn't know that much about it.  Well, there is a Kickstarter project which may be of interest to my fellow artists.  It's called ArtBnB and the jist is that they would work with AirBnB hosts and artists to provide art for the walls of the hosts (prints rather than original art) so that the artist potentially has a whole new platform for exhibiting and selling their work. If someone sees your art on the wall of an AirBnB home they can scan it with a mobile phone app, find out about you, the artist, and actually go on to purchase either a print or original artwork via the app. 

To put the size into context as it's a little bigger than usual!

Because it's a Kickstarter project, they have to meet the target of pledges before the project can get off the ground so if it's something you think would be useful to you as an artist you might like to pledge (there are special rates for artists) and find a whole new audience for your artwork. I've pledged although I don't normally sell prints of my work as I thought it sounded like an interesting idea so I'll see whether it happens and take it from there. 

disco ball+surrealism+cosmos+glitter ball+mirror ball+Nicola McLean

Also this week I was contacted by a school student via my website asking for information on my rhino painting, Vanishing.  Turns out she's writing a research essay on the surplus and scarity of awareness on Rhino Poaching and wanted to reference my painting! It's quite a lovely surprise to be mentioned in a school paper and it just shows just how useful the internet really is for helping artists get their work out there in the most unexpected of ways!

disco ball+surrealism+cosmos+glitter ball+mirror ball+Nicola McLean

That's all my news, I'm going back to Ireland for a week on Sunday which I'm looking forward to very much as I'll get to catch up with family and friends. I'll still be around to visit Paint Party Friday this week and will look forward to catching up with my PPF friends then.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Cosmic Tides...a mini landscape

surreal art+contemporary seascape+impasto+Scottish Art+Nicola McLean+NicseARTh
'Cosmic Tides' - acrylic on canvas 10cm x 10cm

So, over the last week I've been working on four different paintings at the same time. This one, which I finished, and three others - a spirit animal, a spirited animal and a sort of spirit in the sky!! Hopefully that has intrigued you and you'll pop back to see them when they're finished.

surreal art+contemporary seascape+impasto+Scottish Art+Nicola McLean+NicseARTh

This little painting was inspired by a photo I took one day last week of Strathy Beach at high tide but although I tried to paint it just as it was albeit with a more colourful palette, it seems that the little surreal sprite I've unleashed recently wouldn't stay in his box and I ended up making this a little bit cosmic instead! I don't mind because I'm really enjoying this surreal journey my art is taking at the moment. 

Strathy Beach at high tide

In other news, I turned another year older last week. It wasn't the most fabulous of birthdays as both S and I were ill, me with a stomach bug and S with a really bad head cold. Still, on the plus side, I got a fab new printer which I can use with WiFi from my laptop where I upload all my photos so when I finally get into my new art studio (really soon now!) I'll be able to print reference photos off and scan new spirit animal paintings without having to leave my studio to use the computer room upstairs in the cottage instead!

surreal art+contemporary seascape+impasto+Scottish Art+Nicola McLean+NicseARTh

I also decided it was time for a bit of a blog and social media update changing the name from Nic's eARTh to Art by Nicola McLean - sounds a little more grown up, don't you think, and also makes it more obvious that it's about art - the ART tended to get lost in the eARTh on some of my social media sites. I've created a new domain for my website and would love if you would take a wee look and let me know what you think.

surreal art+contemporary seascape+impasto+Scottish Art+Nicola McLean+NicseARTh

This is for sale in my Artfinder shop or directly from me via my website.

Oh, and the most exciting news of all - needing a distraction from the spaniel shaped hole in our lives we booked our holiday for this year - I'll be getting to fulfill a dream I've had since I was 14 years old - we're driving Route 66!! I'm so looking forward to our road trip in September!

That's all my news this week. I'll look forward to finding out what everyone else has been creating over at Paint Party Friday.  Thanks, as always, for taking the time to visit and leave a comment - they make my day!
Oh, and if you were following me on Google+ as NicseARTh, please could you follow me now on this new account - a new gmail address means a new Google+ account - it's all very confusing!
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Sunday, 7 February 2016

The tide is high...a seascape and a bittersweet farewell

Impressionism+impasto acrylic+Seascape+Sand dunes+Milkyway+Contemporary Scottish Art+NicseARTh
'The tide is high' - acrylic on box canvas 40cm x 30cm

This is a painting which came out of my imagination but is loosely based on the sand dunes and beach at Strathy, my favourite of the beaches close to our cottage. 

Impressionism+impasto acrylic+Seascape+Sand dunes+Milkyway+Contemporary Scottish Art+NicseARTh

This was the canvas that I mentioned a few weeks back came about as a result of me accidentally smudging the northern lights painting before it was properly dry and thinking I'd ruined it so scraped the paint back and then saw a new scene in the scrape marks and decided to see if it could be salvaged. At the time I could see a line of fir trees and started working on it with that in mind.  

Impressionism+impasto acrylic+Seascape+Sand dunes+Milkyway+Contemporary Scottish Art+NicseARTh

I did a bit on it and then left it for a few weeks while I worked on other paintings and then this week I decided it was time to either finish it or put it in the bin. I'm happy to report that I finished it. The fir trees weren't working for me though so I turned them into dune grass.

It's very impressionistic, almost abstract, and there's a heap of texture thanks to all the scraping on and scraping off of paint for the dunes and sand. In contrast, the sky is smooth as it was done with the spray paints.

In other news, it's been a very sad time here in Craggis Cottage. We had to make the horrible decision to rehome our springer spaniel after another incident of aggression towards the Westies and on the advice of a vet and dog behaviourist (You might remember dogbite gate back in June). Skye is the perfect 'people' dog but just not so good with other dogs as she gets fearful of them taking what she thinks of as hers, so we had to do what was best for all three dogs even if it sucks for us. Skye needed to be in a home where she would get to be an only dog and have all the balls, treats and human attention to herself.

It's all about the ball for Skye

Thankfully that home is with my sister who adores Skye and who Skye adores in return. It means that she'll still be a part of our family and we know she'll have an amazing life with my sister and her husband

It's been a week now since she went to London and it's been a week of many, many tears and a physical ache in my heart because I miss her so much (Monday saw me literally bawling as I walked with the westies round Strathy beach the inspiration for the painting in this post just because it was the first time without Skye running in and out of the sea. Just as well it was deserted). I miss her following me from room to room and staring up at me with adoration when too many minutes have passed without a cuddle or two. 

Our last selfie in Scotland

Mind you, looking at the photos my sister has sent me this last week and seeing Skye on Facetime with her on Friday, she already looks right at home and as if she has always lived there. I suspect that S and I are missing her a lot more than she is missing us which makes me happy as I had an enormous amount of guilt as well as sadness at having to rehome her.

Skye looking cosy and settled in her new bed in her new home

Anyway, in the week before she went I didn't want to paint because I wanted to spend every minute with her and in the week since she's gone I haven't felt like painting because I've been too sad but thankfully after seeing how happy she is on Facetime on Friday my mojo came back which is just as well as I have three paintings started just waiting for me to get on with them. 

That's all my news and I'll be back to catching up with Paint Party Friday this week so I'll see you there. 

Impressionism+impasto acrylic+Seascape+Sand dunes+Milkyway+Contemporary Scottish Art+NicseARTh


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