Monday, 24 February 2014

The Merry Dancers and the Frame solution...

Photo taken by S - the Northern Lights last night.

I finally saw the Northern Lights last night! S has become what is known in photography circles as a 'light chaser' so he has umpteen apps on his phone which alert him if there is any aurora activity (some are more accurate then others as I discovered after one too many nights of standing in the cold going through the following emotions - excitement at the thought of seeing one of nature's most amazing sights, wonder at the millions of stars in the sky and how insignificant we really are, frustration as clouds begin to roll in just in the northern part of the sky blocking any possible sighting, boredom when the lights don't instantly appear and can can their way across the night sky). However, all thoughts of sacking it and going home would be followed with images of that old Kit Kat advert where the guy stands for hours to photograph the pandas and as soon as he turns his back to eat his Kit Kat they rollerskate all around their enclosure before disappearing again when he turns back round) 

It got to the point where I just didn't believe those alerts any more and so S would go off on his own with all his fancy camera equipment and I'd stay home cosy and warm sure that it would be yet another wild goose chase. Then one night, I got a call from an exhilarated S telling me to come out now, they were there and they were amazing. I raced to the car, raced to the beach (all of 3 minutes drive away from the house) but by the time I got there the last little glow of green was fading from the sky and despite staying out for another two hours in case they came back, the most I saw of the northern lights that night was when S showed me the time lapse video he made later on. Grrr.

So, when his phone apps were telling him it was going to be a doozie last night, I admit all I felt was annoyance at a cosy night in ruined because I knew that I'd be really pissed off if I didn't go out with S and the Merry Dancers were there in all their green and pink finery flinging themselves all over the Highland skies.

Photo taken by S: The Merry Dancers

Suffice to say, after two hours of standing staring up at the sky going through the usual emotions (as detailed above) with only the faintest of glows to be seen,  I had just about reached my boredom threshold when suddenly they started to move and dance, a shimmering curtain of green light filling up the northern skies. It was so beautiful.  I'd seen them before in Norway but not as strong as this and I was definitely very glad that I went out last night. That's not to say that I'll be turning into a 'light chaser' like S any time soon - I think there's a different kind of buzz to capturing that perfect aurora shot on your camera than there is to just standing there for hours wondering at what point will you lose all feeling in your feet while simultaneously developing a crick in your neck. But still, it's another thing to tick off the old bucket list!

Here's a wee time lapse video he made (the lights in the foreground are when a couple with torches came past on the way down to the shore to see the Northern Lights!)

In art related news, thank you to everyone who offered advice and suggestions about framing art in my last post.

Frame and mount from The Frame Company

I've got a few options depending on what the piece is intended for and how much it is likely to sell for - I mean I'm not about to pay £40 to frame a piece that will only sell for £50 - now that would be daft.

S has been planning to start making frames so that is one option. He's been making all sorts of things from old pallets recently - a gorgeous island for our kitchen, a bird nesting box, a planter for outside our front door - so I've no doubt he could make me some great frames as well.

If it's a particularly special piece, for example if I'm lucky enough to have my orang-utan short listed for the Wildlife Artist of the Year competition then I'll definitely push the boat out and get it professionally framed.

The seal painting framed.
In the meantime however, I think I may have struck gold with a company I discovered via Amazon, called the Frame Company. I took a chance and ordered a frame from them for the seal painting and I'm really pleased with it. It's a decent size (18 x 12 inches and comes with an ivory mount for an A4 size painting 11.75 x 8.25 inches) and it wasn't too expensive in the grand scheme of things (£21.60 plus £5.95 shipping). 

It arrived today by courier and it was really carefully packaged in bubble wrap and shredded paper inside a large cardboard box - which will be perfect for me to re-use if I send it down to the Association of Animal Artist's Exhibition in Frodsham in April. I've ordered some framing tape to give it that finished professional look and then it's good to go.  

I'll definitely order more from them as they do a vast range of sizes and can custom make the mount to your own requirements as well.


  1. I love the photo and video of the northern lights. I would love to see them for myself one day. Love the frame you got for the seal painting. It's simple, yet very tasteful.

  2. Wow - You lucky thing!!! I have NEVER seen the Northern Lights! Great video and spectacular photo too!
    And the frame is perfect. I like that it picks out the colour in the rocks... But surely unframed you wouldn't sell this for only £40.00! That's not enough or anywhere near for the time it must have taken you :0)

  3. AWESOME photos and thank you for showing the video too :-D
    The Seal painting looks wonderful - I reckon I would have had it double mounted though with some of the dark grey for the second mount :-)

    IKE xx

  4. Oooh !! I just looked on a map to find out where Caithness was !!! You couldn't get much further North than that eh ??!!!!! Gosh - it must be cold there ? xxx

  5. Oh - and your Oran painting has just GOT to be a winner... it's awesome !!! xxxx

  6. great photos of the Northern Lights and the video, so cool to see this marvelous sight. The frame looks perfect for your fab painting and can see why you are pleased with it, thats a great price. Annette x

  7. how special to see the Northern Lights-truly an amazing thing to behold Nic! So glad you found a framing solution. Now you can sell away :)

  8. The frame enhances your beautiful painting of the seal perfectly. The standard of your work deserves framing like that, which looks (and is!) expensive, though last year we paid £70 each to re-frame two paintings we bought many years ago - they were damaged during house-moving.
    I can't believe that you would charge only £40 for your wonderful paintings. I know the market is difficult but your exquisite work is worth much more. I do hope that your Orang-Utan is a prize-winner in Frodsham, and then you will be recognised for the marvellous artist you are and could command higher prices.
    (Sorry for all those praiseful adjectives … just the way I feel!)

  9. I hope I get to see the northern lights once in my life. :) It looks spectacular. And I love your seal painting. Such heartwarming expression. :) I have my fingers crossed for you in the competition. Your talent is amazing and you deserve to win. :)

  10. Wow, beautiful photograph and video. Your seal looks stunning in the frame. good luck with wild life competition! and big, big hugs!

  11. Your beautiful seal looks awesome in it's frame. Nice going. Loved that video and the photos.

  12. What a wonderful video of the Northern Lights. Thankyou for sharing. Your seal looks really nice! Good fortune with any competition you enter, Nicola!

  13. £50 !!! you are underselling yourself!!! The seal looks great in its new frame, I need some new frames so will have a look at the other sizes they have available. Beautiful photos, I first saw the lights from a plane travelling from Glasgow to Toronto many years ago and was amazed at their beauty.

  14. Wow, those northern lights look amazing! I've never seen it...... Worth the wait! Glad you found a solution for your framing-problem. Your seal looks wonderful in it!


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


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