Monday, 29 May 2017

Fetch...a contemporary still life


contemporary still life art+river rocks+tennis ball+fetch+Nicola McLean artist
'Fetch' - acrylic on canvas 20 x 20cm

I mentioned in my last post a couple of weeks ago that I've been invited to exhibit with a newly opening local gallery and wanted to create some new work to submit that would go along with my other river rock paintings.

contemporary still life art+river rocks+tennis ball+fetch+Nicola McLean artist


This is one that I'd taken the reference photo for a while back, one day when the dogs were chasing their ball on the beach - until they lost interest approximately 1 minute and 37 seconds in and ran off to sniff seaweed instead so that I ended up carrying the ball the rest of the walk. I set it down at the river rocks thinking it would make a good composition as all the previous painting in this series have had one random object in them - my wellies, a feather & marbles.

contemporary still life art+river rocks+tennis ball+fetch+Nicola McLean artist


I had coincidentally ordered a new tube of lemon yellow paint around the same time as I was painting this and hadn't realised that it was actually fluorescent as I wouldn't have ordered it.  However, it turned out to be quite serendipitous as it was exactly the right colour for the tennis ball! The computer screen doesn't show it to the full effect but it really is very bright!


contemporary still life art+river rocks+tennis ball+fetch+Nicola McLean artist


As soon as I finished this one last week, I started a slightly larger one which I'd also already taken the reference photo for and I spent the last week trying not to bake in my art shed (which turns into an oven at the first sign of the sun) as we experienced a few very, very lovely days. I managed to get that one finished yesterday and thankfully because acrylic dries so quickly, I got it varnished and bubble wrapped up with the rest of the paintings and off to the gallery for it opening on 1 June. 

A little size perspective

If you'd like to see that painting and find out what inspired it, then please sign up to receive notifications of my new blog posts or just check back in a day or two as I plan to play blog post catch up and write another post all about it!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Sink...a surreal space painting

So events have conspired to keep me from starting number three in the 'Moments on the Mother Road' series, but in a good way.

Surreal art+universal plug+cosmos+sink+Nicola McLean
'Sink' - acrylic on canvas 40 x 50cm

Paintings completed since my last post: One

This painting harks back to my 'space junk' series of random objects in space. I painted the background to this one way last summer using acrylic modelling paste to get lots of texture and then spray paints for the night sky in which I painted a black hole. Then it just sat there in my art shed until last week when it seemed to jump out at me (not literally, that would be weird) and stare at me accusingly for my neglectful behaviour towards it. And so, I felt compelled to finish it after all.

Surreal art+universal plug+cosmos+sink+Nicola McLean

I already knew what I was going to paint on it. I already had the reference photo printed out and waiting in my stuffed full reference photo folder. Back when we redecorated our bathroom last year and bought a new plug for the sink, I thought about how an item is referred to as 'universal' when one size fits all and so when I saw the phrase 'universal plug' this is the image that popped into my head.

Surreal art+universal plug+cosmos+sink+Nicola McLean

Bricks and Mortar Galleries: One

In a rather exciting turn of events, I received an email last week from a couple who have just bought an old historic building which used to be a mission hall and had more recently been used as a studio by the artist whose house they also bought which happens to be right beside the track down to the beach I often walk the dogs on, in Melvich, the next village from ours. 

They are in the middle of renovating the building and turning it into an art gallery and had been doing some research on local artists. I was one of the artists they contacted to see if I would be interested in having them represent me up here. 

I went to meet with them on Friday and they showed me round the mission hall and told me what their plans are. They hope to tie in with the increase in tourism thanks to the North Coast 500 and will initially open from June through to the end of September. 

Surreal art+universal plug+cosmos+sink+Nicola McLean

Now the North Coast 500 is something I am honestly not keen on and which I had a little Instagram rant about recently due to the annoyingly inaccurate comparison to Route 66 and the increase in motorbikes zooming past our cottage at ridiculous speeds on the narrow country roads which are in really bad condition and aren't being maintained. 

Still, whether I like it or not the North Coast 500 is a fact of life up here now so I'd be stupid to cut my nose off to spite my face and while I don't for one second imagine that any of the boy racers doing the route as quickly as they can without stopping or even slowing down to enjoy the beauty of the place, will ever be buying one of my paintings, that doesn't mean that those tourists who do come here to enjoy the slower pace of life won't be interested in stopping to while away some time in a local art gallery and perhaps decide to take a small piece of colourful art home as a memento.


surreal art+surrealism+sink+plug hole+universal plug+nicola mclean

Anyway they plan to represent four or five local artists and the work on sale there will be exclusive to that gallery with the opening taking place on 1 June. With that in mind, I've set the Route 66 series aside for now as I'd like to complete a couple more of my 'signs of life' river rocks paintings and submit those to the gallery.

surreal art+surrealism+sink+plug hole+universal plug+nicola mclean


Time lapse videos: One

So, not wanting my Christmas present from S of the GoPro camera to have been a one trick pony, I decided to give it another outing in the art shed.  I discovered that if I use the video setting rather than the time lapse setting it takes up far less room on the memory card and it's easier to edit together at the end to make a time lapse video. I quite like just doing time lapse clips of just little snippets of a painting rather than filming the whole thing (which I found rather invasive to be honest) so here's a wee snippet of 'Sink'.




New work surface: one

My art shed was a year old in April and the work surface which had been painted with wood paint in cream was looking very paint spattered and grubby so I decided to cover it with some colourful sticky vinyl to spruce it up and make it wipe clean. I'm very happy with how it looks although I ran out with just a little bit to go so have had to order another roll to finish it off!



Sunny days: three followed immediately by the haar 
(sea mist that is the bane of summer in Caithness)

I went out to my art shed last Monday and the dogs sat themselves on the decked porch so I sat down with them for a minute.  Four hours later I was still there when I discovered it was actually really warm (relatively speaking for Scotland!) and then the postie delivered my magazine subscription so I took that as a sign that I should just sit in the sun and read all afternoon. I didn't feel guilty because we get so few sunny days that I knew I had to make the most of it!



That's all my news for now. Thanks, as always for taking the time to pop by.

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