Thursday, 27 April 2017

Dissolve...a painting of city lights in bokeh

Chicago+City lights+Route 66+Blurred lights+Bokeh+contemporary cityscape+Nicola McLean
'Dissolve' - acrylic on canvas 12.5 x 12.5cm

Two blog posts in a week....what's going on??

Well, it seems I am not only getting my painting mojo back with the lighter, longer days of spring but I've also apparently rediscovered my will to blog. So, let's see, what's new?

Completed paintings - one

This is the second in the 'Moments on the Mother Road' series that I started last week with 'On the road again'. 

For this one, I've gone back to the beginning of the route to Chicago and I may try to keep the paintings in order as we head from east to west or I may just go with my gut and whatever I feel inspired to paint at the time.

Chicago+City lights+Route 66+Blurred lights+Bokeh+contemporary cityscape+Nicola McLean


This is based on a photo I took on our first night in Chicago of an actual Chicago Fire truck (I'm a big fan of the show so it was quite a novelty to see the trucks in the city - just a pity Severide wasn't in any of them!)  I love bokeh in photography and I liked the idea of painting it so I deliberately took this photo out of focus so I could try to paint it when I got back. I had a lot of fun painting this as it is quite abstract but hopefully you can see what it should be and it makes you want to squint your eyes to try to pull it into focus. It's definitely a painting that looks better from a distance!

I'm really enjoying this series because I get to relive the trip with every brush stroke.

Chicago+City lights+Route 66+Blurred lights+Bokeh+contemporary cityscape+Nicola McLean


The title 'Dissolve' was inspired by one of the songs that became our road trip sound track and also led us to discover a band that we'd never heard of before but who I love so much I've downloaded all their albums to date!

The band is Zac Brown Band and the song is 'Free' and if you listen to the words it really perfectly summed up that trip for us.  

The line that inspired the title of the painting is: 

'we drive until the city lights dissolve into a country sky, just me and you'. 



Magazine interviews  - one

I was contacted by GreatArt recently as they were interviewing winners of various competitions they had run in the last few years to find out what we've done since and to see what advice we had for other artists when it comes to entering competitions.  

The interview is going to be printed in their online magazine as well as in their printed version which is on sale in their London flag ship store.  They are also putting up posters of each of the winners' interviews in their store so that's quite exciting. You can read the full interview here, if you like. 




New online shops - one

I've discovered a great online shop to sell art from which other artists might be interested in. Like a lot of artists, I sell on various online galleries but I really wanted a way to sell direct from my website without it costing me a fortune for the privilege of an e-commerce function. I think I've found it with Tictail.  

mini canvas+acrylic painting+bokeh+city lights+Chicago+Route 66+Nicola McLean


The way it works is that you create a custom shop and they also include you in their marketplace which has lots of different kinds of shops selling everything you can think of. If someone buys something from you via their marketplace then they take 10% commission but if someone buys something direct from your custom shop then Tictail don't take any commission at all! All you pay is the Paypal or Stipe fee. Just make sure when you use the correct link as there are different links depending on whether it's their marketplace or your custom shop. The best part is that I've been able to create a page on my website which links straight to my Tictail shop so folk don't have to jump through hoops if they want to buy my art - now they can do it straight from my website after all! 

blurred lights+bokeh+Route 66+Chicago+acrylic painting+Nicola McLean

Number of part-time jobs - Back down to one

Way back in January I mentioned I was sad because the part-time job I'd been doing at the animal shelter, since October last year, was coming to an end. Then they extended it another three months and it was due to end on 5 May. In the meantime I was told that the day care service where I worked as an administrator two days a week for Alzheimer Scotland was being taken over by the NHS. This didn't fill me with joy because all we ever hear on the news is how the NHS has no money and how hospitals and medical services are being shut down all over the country. Anyway, it was all very uncertain and although my job was guaranteed initially there was no guarantee that a few months down the line they wouldn't change the conditions or send me to work in some other NHS department. 

Chicago+City lights+Route 66+Blurred lights+Bokeh+contemporary cityscape+Nicola McLean

So, I was talking to S about it and he said that if the animal shelter extended my contract again I should take it as a sign and quit the admin job and just work at the animal shelter. I mentioned that to the manager at the animal shelter and said I'd be happy to do more hours if it was my only job. Of course it wasn't up to her but she spoke to the head office and guess what?! I was offered another six months at four mornings a week plus holiday cover! 

Chicago+City lights+Route 66+Blurred lights+Bokeh+contemporary cityscape+Nicola McLean

So, today was my last ever day working as an administrator and now I'm back to having just one part-time job (with animals - what could be better!!)and being able to spend much more time painting again.  I am well aware that in six months time there might be no more extensions and I could very well find myself without any job at all but, you know what, I honestly believe it'll work out whatever way it's meant to so, for now, I'm just going to enjoy a life of art and animals. 

Chicago+City lights+Route 66+Blurred lights+Bokeh+contemporary cityscape+Nicola McLean

That's all my news for this week. Thanks to anyone who still bothers to visit - I know I've been both a rubbish blogger and blog-visitor for the last while but I plan to work on that now that I've got more time again!

18 comments:

  1. Love this new painting, Nic. Enjoying your recent blog posts as well.

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  2. The colours against the black are so effective. Love it! Happy PPF!

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  3. Beautiful. I especially like the subtle reflections below. I bet the animals are glad you are back also. Happy PPF

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  4. Love the new painting! And I read your interview too. Fabulous! I'm really glad you are blogging again... I have almost felt like I'm the only one doing it these days!

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  5. Wonderful art and good to see you again. Happy PPF, Hugs, Valerie

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  6. So good to have you back at PPF. Your abstract of the fire truck is beautiful. It's a bit different from your detailed work I am used to like the colorful header banner. Congratulations on the Great Art interview. And congratulations on the work situation.

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  7. What a wonderful painting of the fire truck in Chicago. I have been in USA for 17 years and you have seen more of it than me. Well I really hate driving so until I get a private plane the road trips are out.
    Happy PPF

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  8. I will always come to visit. Congratulations on the article, thanks for the info on Tactile and oh happy days on the job. BTW I love this piece of art.

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  9. How fun to relive your road trip through your paintings! Love the coloured lights in this. Seeing those markers next to the painting makes me wonder whether you used them on there? Can't imagine how though .... Thanks for the tip about Tictail. Sounds very interesting and I'll surely look into it. Congrats on your interview (very interesting!) and on your new contract! The animals will be happy :-)

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  10. Congratulations on your interview...how cool is that! Sounds like you made a great choice for yourself on the job front!! Your piece is so lovely....I enjoyed viewing it on my bigger screen too...I'm sure this will be a brilliant series!! I meant to read your post the other day and got called away...going there now! Good to see you back to your creative self!!

    Hugs Giggles

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  11. Fabulous interview!! It was authentic, inspirational, and supportive to all artists!! Great job!! I loved it!! I hope others get the joy out of it that I did!!

    Hugs Giggles

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  12. Such lovely colors! It must be nice to work with animals.

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  13. this is great! you did great work with those paint markers. no matter what I do with thrm, they just dont work for me, i hate them lol

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  14. Glad to read about all your updates. :) Wonderful artwork as always. Thanks for sharing the site. I just reopened Etsy and found out they'll be closing shops who don't update to their new paying system.

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  15. Thank you so much for your lovely comment on my blog Nicola! I am following you on Instagram (I'm more often there than anywhere else - although lately, I haven't posted much). Your art is beautiful and I am SO with you on protecting animals. I just saw a post this morning about trophy hunters who killed another beautiful giraffe and I just want to scream. (WHY the hell is trophy hunting a "THING"?!?) I just don't get the thrill of shooting such beautiful creatures. Glad we found each other across the wires. ;) Happy week Nicola! xo

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  16. I wish I had your trust in that things will work out as they ought. Having a job that doesn't suit you is just so energy draining... Your painting is beautiful, what a wonderful way to relive your trip again! I always love playing with colourful bokeh light at night too. I only discovered those Derwent pens a few weeks ago in the local art shop, and I only have one so far. They're great to draw with. Looking forward to seeing more blog posts from you again. Maybe one day, I'll manage to get some life into my blog, and art, again too...

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  17. Really cool interpretation of the lights! So vivid and full of energy. Congratulations on your interview and new shop!

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

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