Friday, 27 January 2017

Flight risk...

I finished my first painting of 2017. Well, I actually finished it two weeks ago but didn’t get round to writing a blog post about it until now.  This is the one I started in November so it took a reaaaalllly long time but just because I was only painting for a couple of hours a week.

Flight risk+Feather+river rocks+acrylic painting+contemporary still life art+Nicola McLean
'Flight Risk' - acrylic on canvas 30cm x 40cm 

I have very mixed emotions at the moment as this is my last full week in my temporary job in the Animal Shelter with Wednesday next week being my last paid day. I go back to Ireland for a week’s holiday on Friday and when I get back to Scotland I’ll be back to just volunteering on a Wednesday morning and working two days a week in my other part-time job.  While I’m very happy to have four and a half days a week free for painting again, I’m really going to be sad to be back to only seeing the animals at the shelter once a week. I really loved working there and am open to the universe if it wants to somehow create a permanent part-time job there for me! That would be a pretty perfect way to make a living – art and animals!

contemporary colourful art+still life+acrylic painting+river rocks+feather+Nicola McLean

Anyway, the idea for this painting was sparked during another of our walks on the beach. The three beaches we walk on all have rivers running from the hills down to the ocean and it’s always fascinating to me how the landscape changes depending on the tides and the weather. Some days the river is quite low and the rocks are visible on the shoreline as was the case on this particular day when I saw the bird’s feather lying there and thought it would make an interesting composition for another river rock painting.

Flight risk+Feather+river rocks+acrylic painting+contemporary still life art+Nicola McLean

You know how young children tend to ask a lot questions - why is the sky blue, why is the sun hot? Well, my inner child does the same and when I saw the feather it made me wonder if it makes it more difficult for a bird to fly straight and strong if they have feathers missing which in turn gave me the painting's title 'flight risk'. By the way, according to this, birds do depend on a full set of flight feathers for maximum efficiency when migrating long distances so, yes, losing feathers could indeed pose a flight risk (and yes, I know that the usual definition of flight risk is a person thought likely to leave the country before a court trial but I do like a play on words!)

contemporary colourful still life art+river rocks+vibrant acrylic art+Nicola McLean

So, that's all my news, I do have another photo reference lined up for my next painting which also includes river rocks. I can see a pattern forming here where I develop an obsession for a particular subject and paint it to death - starry skies, anyone?! This time, I included a couple of marbles sitting beside the river rocks in my composition, as I've been wanting to paint marbles for ages although initially I had planned to do them as planets in a starry sky but as that obsession is on the wane a little in favour of colourful rocks, I plonked them beside the river instead! Talking of marbles, if you haven't already seen them then check out my friend and fellow artist, Sandra Busby's marble paintings. She is the queen of marble artwork - her marbles are amazeballs! I only hope mine turn out half as good!

My next project

After that, I'm looking forward to getting stuck into some Route 66 paintings - S took some fantastic photos of great scenes along our road trip and I'm itching to have a go at painting some of them once I get all that painting time on my hands again in February.

Until then, thanks for popping by and if you do have Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, please follow me there as I'm better at updating those than my blog these days.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Ruff dawgs and rough cuts...

Happy New Year (at what point is it too late to say that?!) 

One of my artistic intentions this year is to focus more on making videos of my paintings in progress to post on You Tube. I've made a few time lapse videos over the last couple of years but they were few and far between and so I asked S for a new time lapse camera for Christmas. He went one better than the type I had in mind and bought me a new GoPro Camera which I can keep out in my art shed solely for the purpose of making time lapse videos! It can be controlled via an app on my mobile phone so even I should be able to work it! I can't wait to try it out! In the meantime, I got brave and decided to go in front of the camera to make a wee introductory video - this will be the first and probably last time I ever film myself! 

So, I still don't have any new paintings to show you although I am so close to finishing the one I started back in November that I've been slowly working on once a week since then (as I'm still working two part time jobs as per my last post). It's the painting beside me in the video. 

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil - just in the wrong order!

However, I did do something creative towards the end of last year but I just couldn't post about it until  now because it was for a Secret Santa present. I'm sure I've mentioned before that I'm part of a collaboration of vegan artists called The Art of Compassion? Well, the founder of the group, Leigh, asked if any of us would like to take part in a Secret Santa swap. Those who participated each answered a questionnaire about what sort of art we'd like to receive, our favourite colours and what sort of vegan goodies we'd like to try and then we were assigned someone to create a gift for. 

Hear no evil

I decided to do something based on the rescue dogs that Morgan, my recipient, has but because she is also an animal artist, it seemed a bit redundant to paint portraits of them when she would be perfectly able to do that herself. Instead I decided to have another go at creating a couple of wee polymer clay models of them, similar to the one I did back here. Just as I was starting to make them she adopted a third dog so I adapted my idea a little to have them represent 'Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil'.

See no evil 

I only had the photos posted on Facebook to work from so had to hope that I got the fur markings of the two brown and white dogs right as I couldn't see them from every angle! As they're a rather rough and ready I decided to call them Ruff Dawgs!

Speak no evil

Anyway, I had fun making these and thankfully, Morgan absolutely loved them! Also thankfully, they arrived in time for Christmas as, despite me posting them on 17 November to allow plenty of time for them to get to Chicago, USA, the Post Office put an extra zero in the post code and so, the parcel travelled to Perth, Australia because for some reason no one bothered to check the actual address label! Thankfully the sorting office in Australia realised and sent it on to America so it got there on 16 December!

As always, as soon as Brodie saw a camera she assumed it was for her
and gave me her best angle!

There was also a delay with the courier bringing my gift from my Secret Santa, Leigh, from Spain and it didn't get to me until New Year's Eve but it was well worth the wait -  look what I received! How beautiful is this mandala painting - I LOVE it!

My beautiful mandala painting by Leigh Sanders

As you can see from the photo, I also received two big bars of Spanish vegan chocolate, two hand made soaps and a lovely lip balm - I was spoiled!

Anyway, that's all my new for now - thank you for anyone who still bothers to visit my blog - I know I've not really been about for much of the last few months but hopefully, I'll be back in the painting swing of things very soon - and I'll even have video evidence!


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