Monday, 31 July 2017

Middle of a memory....a Route 66 painting

Blue Swallow Motel, Tucumcari, New Mexico+Miniature art+Route 66+Nicola McLean
'Middle of a memory' - acrylic on canvas 2.4 x 3 inches (6 x 8cm)

So back at the end of June I was planning to paint the Blue Swallow Motel on a pretty large canvas which I'd primed with acrylic spray paint to get the background ready.

Then I went off to Ireland for a week and did some other stuff which you can read about in my last post (none for ages then two in one week!)

Anyway, when I got back from Ireland after creating a couple more animal-related things, I got the urge to write rather than paint which I've also explained in my last post so that's what I've been doing. 

Blue Swallow Motel, Tucumcari, New Mexico+Miniature art+Route 66+Nicola McLean

It's funny, isn't it, we all go through those periods of our mojo being missing in action for whatever reason and just finding excuse after excuse (whether real or invented) not to put brush to canvas. I guess it's the normal cycle of things but this time I did wonder if I would just stop bothering altogether and, if so, what would I use my art shed for if not to paint. Anyway, it seems that my inner artist had different ideas and after giving me a hall pass for a couple of weeks to write some more of my never ending novel, I got such an overwhelming urge to paint last weekend that I had to go and do just that. 

I still wanted to paint the Blue Swallow Motel but I found a photo from a slightly different angle and decided to have a go at painting it in miniature before going big.

Anyway, when I got back I got the urge to write which I've also explained in my last post so that's what I've been doing.  It's funny, isn't it, we all go through those periods of missing our mojo and just, for whatever reason, not being bothered to paint and this time I did wonder if I would just stop bothering altogether. But, my inner artist had different ideas and last Saturday I got such an overwhelming urge to paint that I had to go and do just that.
Reference photo taken by S

As you can see from the reference photo, I used grid lines for this painting, which I don't normally do but then I don't normally paint architecture and cars and the grid lines help get the perspective and proportions right (at least in theory!)

Anyway, when I got back I got the urge to write which I've also explained in my last post so that's what I've been doing.  It's funny, isn't it, we all go through those periods of missing our mojo and just, for whatever reason, not being bothered to paint and this time I did wonder if I would just stop bothering altogether. But, my inner artist had different ideas and last Saturday I got such an overwhelming urge to paint that I had to go and do just that.

Sign writing is something I don't have a lot of practice in either but I'm guessing if I want to keep on painting this series of Route 66 paintings then it's something I'll be getting a lot more practice in as it's the signs and road markings that make the journey so iconic and such a wonderful step back into the history of America during the era when all the towns along the highway were thriving. 

As all these paintings are titled after songs from our Road Trip playlist, I decided that 'Middle of a memory' would be appropriate for this one as we arrived in Tucumcari for the night after passing the mid-point of Route 66 in Adrian, Texas earlier that day. 

Route 66+Blue Swallow Motel+Tucumcari+New Mexico+American Road Trip+Art+Nicola McLean

You know how I like my size context photos so here's one to show you just how tiny this painting actually is. Painting those signs really was fiddly and reminded me again just how bad my eyesight is getting - I think I need stronger reading glasses after painting this!

Route 66+Blue Swallow Motel+Tucumcari+New Mexico+American Road Trip+Art+Nicola McLean
In case you were wondering exactly what size this is!

In other news, the annual Society of Caithness Artists exhibition starts tonight for a fortnight. I've submitted art for the last three years to this annual event and only ever sold one small piece so, honestly, this year I wasn't going to bother not least because I didn't have any paintings of local landscapes which always seem to be the most popular in previous years (other people's that is!) but then I thought about how I had the other Route 66 paintings just hanging on my walls anyway and figured other than the hanging fee I didn't really have anything to lose by putting them into the exhibition. You never know, maybe someone wants to hang something other than a local scene on their walls. Anyway, nothing ventured and all that. 

Route 66+Blue Swallow Motel+Tucumcari+New Mexico+American Road Trip+Art+Nicola McLean


When I was taking photos of the painting I set it up on the sideboard and it looked quite appropriate beside this wee Route 66 spice cupboard (at least that's what I use it for!) that I bought in T K Maxx years ago thinking it was the closest I'd ever get to the real thing!

Well, that's me up to date with my blog and what I've been up to artistically. I fully intend to be a better blogger from now on (of course the road to hell is said to be paved with good intentions but still, I'll try my best). I'm still working at the animal shelter and have a lot of overtime coming up in the next wee while to cover holidays and whatnot so we'll see how I get on with free painting time.

I may not get a chance to catch up on blog visits this weekend because I'm heading to London on Saturday for a few days to visit my sister (and Skye the springer spaniel!!) and this time it'll be even better because S is coming too.  

If there is anyone left who still visits me here then thank you so much for taking the time and I will endeavor to be a more frequent visitor to both my own blog and everyone else's!

Sunday, 30 July 2017

All sorts of animals...

Well, what do you know, yet again over a month has gone by without me putting in an appearance at my own blog.  It's not that I haven't been creating because I have plenty to show for the last few weeks, it's just that I can't seem to make time to type up a blog post.

Anyway, I've been back home in Ireland for a week which was lovely. I took my acrylic ink pens home with me this time and even better, I even took them out and used them!! I decided to paint up the raven sketch that I'd drawn on my previous visit to Ireland back in February.

This is how it turned out:

raven+spirit animal+power animal+art+Nicola McLean


I also painted a goat.  To be precise, I painted a little goat called Lawson, who'd been born with a heart defect and was rescued by Leanne of Goats of Anarchy, an amazing charity that helps so many little goats with disabilities. Unfortunately, Lawson tragically passed away just after he'd returned home from the hospital having survived the surgery.  

I follow Goats of Anarchy on Instagram and couldn't stop thinking about wee Lawson. So, anyway, I painted his picture and sent the original to Leanne so she could use it to sell prints to raise funds for her charity.  Quite a lot of people contacted me after seeing it on Instagram to say they'd love to buy a print so hopefully, she'll get a lot of interest if she does decide to offer prints for sale.  

This is the painting:

Lawson+goat+Goats of Anarchy+Spirit animal+Nicola McLean
'Lawson'

I'm also going to use it as the goat in my spirit animal card set which, yes, I'm still working on. I know it's been a very long process but I've been doing so many other things in between working on the different animals for the cards and I've got a ways to go yet - I think I've got about 10 animals done but will probably need at least 50!

I've also been adding to the types of dogs I've fashioned out of polymer clay.Firstly, my sister asked me to do a cake topper of Boris the chocolate lab for his person's birthday cake.


polymer clay dog+Chocolate lab+cake topper+Nicola McLean

I also made another figurine of a very special little dog who crossed the rainbow bridge recently. Muffin, Neesie's faithful wee companion sadly passed away and I decided to make a little figurine of her to send to Neesie because I always remembered how she used to sit on Neesie's desk as she was painting so I thought this little clay dog could sit there as a little tribute. I'm pleased to say that Neesie was really delighted with her wee Muffy tribute and wrote a lovely blog post about her as well as sending me a print of her gorgeous Mother and Baby giraffe painting as a thank you. 

polymer clay dog+shitzhu+cake topper+Nicola McLean

So, that's what I've been up to.  If I was in any way organised I would have written four separate posts for these but as I'm so behind and have actually completed another painting which I'm really planning to blog about later in the week, I thought I'd just do a quick round up of what I've been up to for the last month or so.

I was also contacted by a professor from the University of Westminster to ask permission to use my painting 'moonlight shadow' on the welome poster and cover of the programme for a symposium they were holding on 'Tourism and the night'. The painting was very appropriate for the subject matter! This is what they looked like:




Although I haven't been writing in my blog much, I have actually been writing in other ways...I started a novel about five years ago and recently I decided that I was going to finish it come hell or high water! (It's the third novel I've started and not finished  - the first I started writing in 1997 and it's now languishing on a floppy disk somewhere which I couldn't access even if I knew where it was seeing as computers don't even have floppy drives any more!!)

Anyway, with this one, even if it never gets publish I just really want to finish it.  So, I've been re-reading and editing and writing new chapters - I'm at about chapter 30 now so making some progress.  That's been keeping me creative for the last couple of weeks but yesterday I got the urge to paint so I did.  I finished it today and if you'd care to pop back later in the week I'll show you what it was!

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