Hi, I'm Nicola McLean. I'm an Irish artist living in the very far north of Scotland, surrounded by wildlife and wild weather. As a result, I live mainly in wellies and waterproof clothing and on the wettest of days I dream of an alternate life somewhere hot where I drift around like a sunshine hippy in floaty dresses and flip flops while painting en plein air.
However, because Scottish weather isn't particularly conducive to floaty dresses, flip flops or, indeed, painting en plein air, I have a wonderful little art shed which my talented husband built from upcycled and recycled materials (including old wooden pallets and washing machine windows!), where I can stay warm and dry, and, when I'm not volunteering at my local animal shelter, I'll generally be found out there wearing paint covered overalls and singing loudly to whatever's on my iPod while working on my latest painting.
Although I studied art at school many moons ago, I'm essentially a self-taught artist and am continually learning and evolving in my artwork. Possibly because I'm what the art world refers to as an 'outsider' artist not having learned my craft at art school, I don't feel pressure to work in any particular style or medium and as a result, I simply paint exactly what I want the way I want. Therefore, my style of art switches between realism and impressionism by way of surrealism using whatever technique gives me the results I like. I've tried various mediums including acrylics, Indian ink, watercolour and gouache but these days I mostly use acrylic as it allows me to get the texture and vibrancy that I love.
I've found as I've grown as an artist so too has my inspiration. I don't want to pigeon hole myself as being an artist of just one particular subject matter because inspiration comes from so many directions - certainly animals and the natural world play a big part in my paintings but I can just as easily see a slice of lemon in my tea or my colourful wellies in a shallow river filled with stones and feel the spark of an idea for a new painting. and so if I had to define what inspires me to paint then I'd say that my inspiration is just life in all its wonder - animals, nature and ordinary, everyday objects which I re-imagine on canvas with a vibrant palette and a vivid imagination.
I am grateful to everyone who has invested in my art so far and am delighted that my paintings are hanging in private collections all over the UK as well as in America, Canada, Australia, China and Europe. I've also been lucky enough to win a couple of awards for my paintings over the last few years which is why I describe myself as an award winning artist (okay, it's not the Turner prize but if I don't blow my own trumpet no one else will do it for me!)
I've recently made a little video introducing myself (it will be the first and last time I get in front of the camera, I imagine!) purely because I plan to make a lot more time lapse videos of my paintings in progress, as being the proud owner of a new GoPro camera I have no excuse not to! So, I thought it might be nice to say hello in video form as a way of sealing that intention!
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