Sunday, 27 March 2016

The centre of the universe...

springer spaniel+surreal art+planet earth+cosmic+universe+Nicola McLean
The centre of the universe - acrylic on canvas 50 x 76cm

A while back, I was looking at some photos S had taken of Skye running through the water with her ball in her mouth and it sparked the idea of her running through the stars instead with the world in her mouth, in keeping with my current surreal cosmic skies obsession. 

springer spaniel+surreal art+planet earth+cosmic+universe+Nicola McLean

Then of course, we had the whole heartbreak of re-homing her (she's loving life in the big smoke by the way - running every morning, plenty of big long ball chasing walks in one of many parks in the afternoons and meeting lots more humans she can enchant with her waggly bum and puppy dog eyes). Anyway, I wasn't sure if I would go ahead with the painting but then I decided I still really liked the idea and perhaps it would be cathartic. It was. I loved painting her and hopefully I've captured her joie de vivre on canvas. 

springer spaniel+surreal art+planet earth+Nicola McLean

I wasn't sure what to call it and a couple of days ago I was driving along thinking about it when an Eagles song came on my ipod which happened to have the line 'centre of the universe' - that seemed perfect to me - it's no surprise that animals pretty much are the centre of my universe and it also worked with the old notion that planet earth was the centre of the universe.

springer spaniel+surreal art+planet earth+cosmic+universe+Nicola McLean

It's one of the biggest canvasses I've painted on so far at 50cm x 76cm (30 x 20 inches) and I thoroughly enjoyed working bigger for a change (although I've got a gazillion canvasses in various sizes of tiny so I'll still be painting miniature as well for some time to come!)

A wee 'put the size into context' photo

In other news, Artfinder are working in conjunction with Friends of the Earth on a project to raise awareness of the plight of the bee called the Great British Bee Count from 19 May to 30 June. They have invited artists to submit paintings of bees and then an as yet unnamed celebrity will select some of them to be exhibited in London later in the year. I've just started my painting and lots have already been submitted but there's still time if anyone wants to take part, just click on the link to find out more. 

springer spaniel+surreal art+planet earth+cosmic+universe+Nicola McLean

Thanks as always for popping by and I'll look forward to catching up with what's new in the art blogging community at Paint Party Friday

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Spirit Animals - the Frog

frog+frogspawn+surreal art+spirit animal+planets+cosmos+Nicola McLean+NicseARTh
Frog spirit animal - 18cm x 26cm acrylic on watercolour paper

Well, it's been a week or two since I last blogged. I spent a lovely week back in Ireland catching up with some of my old friends and my family. It's always nice to go home and see folk and getting a chance to wander round actual shops is pretty good too (there really aren't any decent high street stores where I live!)

Anyway, this is the third in my Spirit Animal series. I've been letting the animals decide what order they get painted in by simply paying attention to 'signs' whether that's an animal popping into my head during a meditation (which the frog did) or by seeing the animals everywhere either in real life or on TV or online.  The next one I'm going to paint after this I've been seeing all over the place recently both in real life and online so I guess it's demanding that I take notice of its presence!

frog+frogspawn+surreal art+spirit animal+planets+cosmos+Nicola McLean+NicseARTh
I used acrylic fine art spray paint and these
Derwent Graphik liner acrylic paint pens 

In Native American tradition the frog is often seen as a 'rain maker' perhaps because they are generally associated with the water element and, much like you would often see them when the earth has been cleansed by heavy rains, so they represent purification and cleansing - getting rid of old ways or patterns that no longer serve you or even just clearing old opinions or beliefs and gaining a fresh perspective on things, for example. 

I wanted to keep the cosmic theme and so I wondered what if, instead of tadpoles, some of the frog spawn contained tiny planets instead!

As frogs are also a symbol of fertility (or abundance) and rebirth or transformation so the reference photo I used (from my favourite photo reference site Paint My Photo) taken by Pixelbloke, seemed perfect with the huge abundance of frog spawn representing the cycle of life.

This took me longer than I'd anticipated - there was a lot of frog spawn!

I'm starting a much larger painting next before I do another spirit animal painting and I'm really looking forward to doing this one which is going to be another combination of animal art, night skies and surrealism but on a much bigger scale! 

Thanks, as always, for popping by and I'll look forward to a good old arty catch up at Paint Party Friday later in the week. 


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