Friday, 27 January 2017

Flight risk...

I finished my first painting of 2017. Well, I actually finished it two weeks ago but didn’t get round to writing a blog post about it until now.  This is the one I started in November so it took a reaaaalllly long time but just because I was only painting for a couple of hours a week.

Flight risk+Feather+river rocks+acrylic painting+contemporary still life art+Nicola McLean
'Flight Risk' - acrylic on canvas 30cm x 40cm 

I have very mixed emotions at the moment as this is my last full week in my temporary job in the Animal Shelter with Wednesday next week being my last paid day. I go back to Ireland for a week’s holiday on Friday and when I get back to Scotland I’ll be back to just volunteering on a Wednesday morning and working two days a week in my other part-time job.  While I’m very happy to have four and a half days a week free for painting again, I’m really going to be sad to be back to only seeing the animals at the shelter once a week. I really loved working there and am open to the universe if it wants to somehow create a permanent part-time job there for me! That would be a pretty perfect way to make a living – art and animals!

contemporary colourful art+still life+acrylic painting+river rocks+feather+Nicola McLean

Anyway, the idea for this painting was sparked during another of our walks on the beach. The three beaches we walk on all have rivers running from the hills down to the ocean and it’s always fascinating to me how the landscape changes depending on the tides and the weather. Some days the river is quite low and the rocks are visible on the shoreline as was the case on this particular day when I saw the bird’s feather lying there and thought it would make an interesting composition for another river rock painting.

Flight risk+Feather+river rocks+acrylic painting+contemporary still life art+Nicola McLean

You know how young children tend to ask a lot questions - why is the sky blue, why is the sun hot? Well, my inner child does the same and when I saw the feather it made me wonder if it makes it more difficult for a bird to fly straight and strong if they have feathers missing which in turn gave me the painting's title 'flight risk'. By the way, according to this, birds do depend on a full set of flight feathers for maximum efficiency when migrating long distances so, yes, losing feathers could indeed pose a flight risk (and yes, I know that the usual definition of flight risk is a person thought likely to leave the country before a court trial but I do like a play on words!)

contemporary colourful still life art+river rocks+vibrant acrylic art+Nicola McLean

So, that's all my news, I do have another photo reference lined up for my next painting which also includes river rocks. I can see a pattern forming here where I develop an obsession for a particular subject and paint it to death - starry skies, anyone?! This time, I included a couple of marbles sitting beside the river rocks in my composition, as I've been wanting to paint marbles for ages although initially I had planned to do them as planets in a starry sky but as that obsession is on the wane a little in favour of colourful rocks, I plonked them beside the river instead! Talking of marbles, if you haven't already seen them then check out my friend and fellow artist, Sandra Busby's marble paintings. She is the queen of marble artwork - her marbles are amazeballs! I only hope mine turn out half as good!

My next project

After that, I'm looking forward to getting stuck into some Route 66 paintings - S took some fantastic photos of great scenes along our road trip and I'm itching to have a go at painting some of them once I get all that painting time on my hands again in February.

Until then, thanks for popping by and if you do have Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, please follow me there as I'm better at updating those than my blog these days.


  1. Oooh - such a gorgeous painting Nick. I am so sorry that your animal job is coming to and end. I really, really hope that the universe sees fit to get you a full time job there.
    Have a safe trip to Ireland and I am eager to see your next painting:-)
    Off to go have a look at Sandra's marbles now :-) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  2. ACK !! So sorry about the errant 'k' on your name.... I must have had a finger/brain glitch !!!! xx

  3. Love, love, love the rocks and feathers painting - fabulous! Happy PPF, hugs, Valerie

  4. Sandra Busby was the first person to comment on my blog, years ago - marbleous lass.

    Love your distinctive art, Nick. Besides being such a terrific painting there's quite a bit of narrative there with the delicious touch of the little feather. Incidentally, if an a multi-engine aircraft with propellers has to switch off an engine, they turn the blades sideways to lessen 'drag', known as feathering the engine!

    What a shame about the job! I told you of our two puppies: a border collie named Blodwyn and a great-grandson named Topgun (aka Logan - 2.5 yrs) ... well, they were caught eating their Nanny's dinner, off the same plate. Later they were both sharing the dog's dinner. Logan is now back in Australia, but Skypes Blodwyn each day.

    In Welsh, where a river meets the sea is known as 'Aber', so where the river Gwaun meets the sea the town is called Abergwaun "Mouth of the River Gwaun")... or 'Fishguard' in English.

  5. I hope you get a permanent part time job with the sanctuary, meanwhile I look forward to all the paintings you will be able to get painted.

  6. This painting is just beautiful...the soft colors of a rainbow.

    I am hopeful that you are offered a permanent, part-time job with the shelter. I am sure the animals miss someone with your kindness and love for them~

    Happy PPF


  7. Your art is so beautiful, Nic! Love this latest artwork! Looking forward to seeing your marble piece.

    Here's hoping a paid position at the animal shelter becomes available for you. I would miss seeing the animals too.

    Enjoy your holiday in Ireland. :)

  8. stunning art Nicole. I absolutely LOVE the little feather in your first painting. Sorry to hear they couldn't keep you on payroll at the shelter but I suspect that will change again:) Have a wonderful holiday in Ireland!!

  9. Gorgeous art, hope that perfect job is just around the corner!

  10. I love the colours in your new painting and the way the rocks seem to reflect light. I had to laugh reading about your "obsession" for a particular subject. I have the same! It's good that you will have more time for painting, but it's a pity that job can't become a permanent one. As far as I "know" you it's the perfect job for you. But who knows what'll happen. Thumbs up!

  11. Nick you art is mesmerizing. Your color choices move the eye through the depth of your art. I am sending positive energy so that your dream of working with the animals comes your way.

  12. Beautiful painting and interesting title too!

  13. Well as you know, I just LOVE this one! And the two together sit wonderfully... I definitely see a series coming! Meanwhile I can not wait to see your marbles! And thank you so much for mentioning mine! Right now I am working my way across a large marble painting, which is going to take some time to complete... Slowly slowly... Anyway, my fingers are tightly crossed that something comes up in the shelter for you at some point. It has taken me a while to get catch up with your posts as I have been building my new blog, so I only just realised you had posted this! Meanwhile just make the most of the extra painting time. Btw, don't you just love John Simlett? His has so many stories!! :0)

  14. PS... Just noticed the new Blog Title! Love it!

  15. Wonderful painting, I love how it is so colourful, but that he colours still are somewhat muted. I've been wanting to go to the river and draw the pebbles there for ages! While we haven't any beaches here, let alone an ocean, there is a river going through my town, and I'm always fascinated by how it changes. The lake at its source has a dam, so the water level can vary significantly. Last Friday, when I walked along the river, it was low, slow, clear and with most part completely frozen over and yesterday evening, after a day of heavy rain, the level was twice as high, and the water brown and opague, flowing and swirling fast, carrying with it big chunks of ice.
    I hope there'll be a permanent job opening there for you, you never know. But in the meantime, enjoy your extra painting time! I'd love to have four days of creating a week!

  16. Ooh, forgot to mention... You might want to change the link on your side bar as it still links to my old blog :)

  17. Such beautiful artwork, Nicola. Awwww. It's so refreshing and filled with a special kind of peace. I love that! :)

    My new blog address is Please make sure to update your newsfeed.


  18. I love your rocks and your creativity! You always amaze me with your talent. I know that you've already taken on another 3 months at the shelter so that's good. I don't know how I know that. Instagram?


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


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