Friday, 21 April 2017


*Disclaimer - This is a bit of long post as I have two months of stuff to waffle on about - I've created handy headings so skip any parts that make you yawn.

You'd be forgiven for thinking the title of this post refers to me as yet again it's been nearly two months since I last wrote. I haven't been lost, merely waylaid.

So, what's happened in the last couple of months?

Paintings completed - Three

I finally finished the third in the 'signs of life' series of still life paintings that continues my current obsession with river rocks and water reflections.  

This is 'Lost' (as in lost your marbles, geddit?!) 

Lost+marbles+river rocks+contemporary still life+acrylic painting+Nicola McLean
'Lost' - 30 x 30 cm - acrylic on canvas

River rocks+colourful art+contemporary still life+marbles+Nicola McLean

This is 'Peaceful'  - inspired by a photo S took of the Peace Bridge in my hometown of Derry/Londonderry (so good they names it twice - just to keep everyone happy!)

River Foyle+Derry+Londonderry+Peace Bridge+Miniature acrylic painting+Nicola McLean
'Peaceful' - 10 x 10cm - acrylic on canvas - SOLD

It's only little

This is 'On the road again' the first in a series called 'Moments on the Mother Road' inspired by our road trip across America last year on Route 66 - whaddya mean am I still banging on about that - yes, it was the best trip we ever had and I plan to get a lot more mileage out of it (2448 to be exact!)

Route66+Roadtrip+acrylic painting+American landscape+California+Amboy+Nicola McLean
'On the road again' - acrylic on canvas 30 x 24cm

Route66+Roadtrip+acrylic painting+American landscape+California+Amboy+Nicola McLean

Time Lapse videos completed - Two 

(but what an epic pain in the art the first one turned out to be)

If you read my last post at the start of March you'll know that I'd been having technical problems with the camera, getting the memory card to last long enough to get in a few hours painting at a time and then the many hours it took to spew all the individual photos onto the computer for S to work his magic and compress them all together into the actual time lapse.  Anyway, I ended up buying a new mobile phone so I could keep my old one purely to run the GoPro app from whilst plugged into a charger and the GoPro was simultaneously plugged into another charger so that I was able to continue painting without fear of running out of power half way through.

Things I learnt about making a time lapse video- several

I may have to rethink filming every single painting because it really did stall the flow as it became such a pain to make sure it was all running okay before I even thought of putting paint to canvas. 

It made me very self conscious of how I paint. I tend to go over and over certain parts instead of working in a nice orderly fashion. I may paint a river rock one colour and then decide I don't like it and repaint it a different colour - several times. I became much more aware of that as I knew it was being filmed but then, it's not like I'm running a workshop, I'm just showing how I paint and I guess if it's all over the place then that's just how my mind works! Mind you, I actually bored myself watching this particular video back so either I need to cut it down a bit more or speed it up a bit more, I'm not sure yet.

I still want to film my work in progress but maybe just little snippets here and there rather than the entire thing every time. We'll see.  With that in mind, here's a wee short clip of the start of painting the iconic Route 66 shield road sign in 'On the road again'.

I've also learnt a bit more about how to actually edit the video in the GoPro Studio thanks to S and I've discovered that if I just use the video mode instead of the time lapse mode it takes up far less room on the memory card and is easier to edit together at the end.

London Exhibitions - None

A while back I entered a competition run by Fine Art Seen and was delighted to discover that I'd been shortlisted and invited with all the other shortlisted artists to exhibit in London this spring/summer when the winner would be chosen. 

Well, I got an email from Fine Art Seen a few weeks ago to advise that they had decided, with a heavy heart, to wrap up their business as they'd found that although they'd helped a lot of artists to sell their work, they just weren't getting big enough volumes of customers to make it worth continuing with their business (they covered the cost of postage which is quite unusual for an online gallery and would surely have eaten into their profits).  Funny enough, I sold my first painting through them just a few weeks ago as well and it went all the way to China.  

So, not only will I never know if I might have won the 'Illusion of Water' competition, there will now be no exhibition in London. Sad face. 

European cities visited - one (Berlin)

At the end of March went to Berlin for five days. I booked it as a surprise for S for our anniversary last November.  It was fantastic.  What a great city. Really big but really easy to get around as the public transport system is super efficient. And, it just so happens to be the vegan capital of Europe - so many restaurants.  It was a delicious novelty to be able to choose from entire menus and, indeed, to actually be spoilt for choice to the point that we had to go back to one of the restaurants twice because they had too much I wanted to try! We did walk eight or so miles every day so I didn't feel so guilty about eating so much and we got to see lovely parts of the city that we wouldn't have seen otherwise had we stuck to restaurants in the more touristy part of the city. We were also really lucky with the weather as it was blue skies and sunshine for all but one day. 

Brandenburg Gate

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Part of the Berlin Wall at Potsdamer Platz

Berlin from a hot air balloon

Berlin Bunker Museum

Neptune Fountain

Victory Column

Checkpoint Charlie

The history of the city is fascinating, obviously sad as so much of it relates to World War II as well as the cold war era and the Berlin Wall but its fantastic how they used the ruins of the war and the wall to create beautiful memorials and museums to the memory of all those who died during those periods in history.

It was quite poignant that we were there as the British government triggered Article 50 - It'll be interesting to see how that affects our ability to travel freely (and without visas) to mainland Europe in the coming years. 

Well, if you've made it through all that, congratulations. I do have more news but I think that's more than enough for one post. I should really have split the paintings into three posts to stretch it out a bit but what's the point - might as well get it all caught up now in case it's another two months before I blog again. 

By the way, I use Instagram and Facebook pretty much daily so please do follow me there, if you'd like, so we can keep in touch more often!


  1. Great to see you and your art again. Glad you enjoyed your trip to Berlin. Happy PPF, hugs, Valerie

  2. What wonderful art! I especially loved the Route 66 piece. Your trip looked amazing!

  3. Oh, just love the colours in 'Lost'. And those marbles nestled in among the stones - beautiful.

  4. The colours and light of your river rocks are delightful! I love rocks.

  5. WoW - great pictures of Berlin and I am glad you enjoyed the food :-) I love the fountain :-) Such a pity about the art gallery opportunity. Never mind - I am sure there is something even better waiting for your work just around the corner.
    I adore the pebbles paintings - such vibrant colours. They make me happy :-D

  6. Really nice to see you back. Love the art and all the photos. I did watch your video too. Hope you come see what I have been doing as well.

  7. well, it was worth the wait, these paintings are fantastic! Especially the first and last one. Wow! The colours you use are so gorgeous. What a shame about that gallery. Covering the cost of postage will surely have eaten into their profits. That is just soooo expensive. But you'll find other opportunities, I'm sure! Berlin looks and sounds interesting, I'd sure love visiting there ...

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  9. Wow, that is a lot to catch up on!! I'm finding the time lapse camera easier and easier but I haven't made a video for some time now... I'm hoping to fill over this weekend. That Route 66 painting is fantastic! Love the mountains!

  10. Stunning photos...what a pleasure to be able to see this visit through your eyes!! Truly wonderful artwork as well!! Sounds like a life well lived!! There are many European foods that could be considered vegan, as many ate that way out of necessity. No doubt is was all scrumptious!! Thanks for the tour...sorry the exhibit closed on you!! They must have been heartbroken too!

    Hugs Giggles


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