Recent Posts

Quintessentially Quelea

Red-billed Quelea are the world’s most populous bird and when you watch this video I took in Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana, you might see why!

In case you are wondering – no, I didn’t try to sketch this!
Alison
www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

Art Tips: ChARTing My Progress

Charting my progress is fun as well as helpful, when I’m floundering a little. I’ve just taken down an exhibition of my work, and I’m left feeling a little uninspired, a little unmotivated. There are too many ideas whizzing around in my head and I’m not getting started on any of them. So I decided […]

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Looking Back…to move Forward

Looking back can show you how much has changed. So here are a few things that have changed about my art over the years. And a few really old paintings too! I used to paint or draw animals from photos, in a far more realistic style. When I painted from life (en plein air), I […]

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What Happens to Failed Paintings?

Artists make mistakes. Its true. Shocking, I know! So what happens to my failed paintings? If you liked the penguins you just saw (which it seems many people did) then here’s a look at the next version, which I’ll be sending to Artists For Conservation to feature in their Silent Skies Mural, showing all 678 […]

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Giraffes – Paintings in Stages by Alison Nicholls

Giraffes are unique in so many ways – which makes them perfect for painting. As you’ll see in this video, I started with simple washes of fluid acrylic on watercolor canvas. When they were dry I looked at the washes from every angle and suddenly the compositions jumped out at me – 2 bulls browsing […]

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Birds & Beasts: See The Paintings

March 22 was the Opening Reception for Birds & Beasts: Near & Far – my current exhibition with artist Sean Murtha, at the Rye Arts Center, Rye NY. We had a good turnout and are holding more events associated with the exhibition, including Sketching Workshops from Live Animals on March 24 and an Artists Talk […]

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Stages of a Leopard Painting by Alison Nicholls

I recently conducted a survey and asked what everyone would like to see more of regarding my art and travels. One request was for more works in progress, and for more about the inspiration behind my paintings, so here’s a brief video about my new leopard painting. It includes the initial inspiration, thumbnail ideas, composition […]

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Travel Africa Features my African Art!

A few months ago I was interviewed by Travel Africa, answering some interesting questions about my trips to Africa and the way I sketch and paint. Today the online article has been released and you can read it here. If you can. please leave a comment as this may prompt them to feature me again […]

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Birds & Beasts: Near & Far

Birds & Beasts: Near & Far – that is the title for my next exhibition, shared with artist Sean Murtha, at the Rye Arts Center, Rye NY, from March 22 – April 21. Giving an exhibition a title can be remarkably difficult. You want to get it right – to indicate what the exhibit is […]

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Spotted Hyena Watercolor

In this spotted hyena watercolor, I made a conscious decision to add more habitat and landscape features, rather then just concentrating on the animals, as I often do. One morning, driving in Kruger National Park in South Africa, we came across this spotted hyena lying right next to the track, with its head resting on […]

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Take Part in my Art Survey!

Here’s your chance to tell me what you think by taking part in my Art Survey! There are just a few short questions. It will take only a tiny amount of your time. And there’s even a question about sharing a mud-bath with a herd of elephants! Admit it – you’re intrigued… So, if you […]

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Spotted Hyena – Night Scent

The whoop of the spotted hyena is one of the most recognizable calls of the African bush. My favorite memories of sitting around the campfire at night include many occasions spent listening to distant hyenas, then being startled by a response from very close by. I have also been only feet away, eating dinner by […]

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January 2018 Art Challenge

I started 2018 with an Art Challenge and here is a preview of my challenge so far. As with any plan, once you get into it you realize things need a little tweaking. I started by thinking I’d paint a whole month of daily colors on 1 piece of canvas, but realized it would be […]

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Oh No – Another Art Dead-End!

In many careers you start by studying, learning from others. Those who came before you have created a foundation of knowledge, gathered over the years, so there are many dead-ends you don’t need to visit or experiments you don’t need to repeat – because the answers have been found and are there for you to […]

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I’m Not An Expert Artist, Can I Still Do An Art Safari?

If I’m not an expert artist, can I still do an Art Safari? This is a common question, because most of us have an underlying fear of not being good enough. But it’s a very easy question to answer. The answer is “Yes, an Art Safari is for you!” Art Safaris are a unique way […]

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2018 Art Challenge

Happy 2018! Want to join me in my 2018 Art Challenge? I like to think of each passing day as a transparent wash of color. As the day ends, that day’s wash is added to a canvas, painted on top of all the washes from previous days. Some days are light, airy pastels; some are […]

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Safari Night at the Explorers Club

Last night I was fortunate to be sharing the stage at The Explorers Club during Safari Night, which was organized by Ann Passer and Alan Feldstein. There was wonderful music, singing and dancing from Cameroon and Tanzania, excellent food from various African countries, and speakers on topics covering the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia; clips […]

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Thanksgiving – Words of Wisdom from the Wild!

Happy Thanksgiving!   How to Survive Thanksgiving – Words of Wisdom from the Wild Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! See you next time. Alison www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

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My Watercolor Palette – Limited but Changing

You might have heard me banging on about how I use a limited palette of colors and how this gives many of my paintings a tranquil feel. But a limited palette shouldn’t mean a stagnant palette, so for my latest sketching trip to Africa, I changed some of the solid half-pan colors in my Windsor […]

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Elephant Watercolors at Shimuwini

Shimuwini is a lovely Bushveld Camp in Kruger National Park, on the edge of the Letaba River. The view is river, rocks and riverbank for 180 degrees, so every time you look somewhere you see an animal or bird you hadn’t noticed before. Egyptian geese noisily make their own part of the riverbank known to […]

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Video: Watercolors from the African Bush

My September visit to South Africa and Botswana was full of sketching opportunities. Check out a couple of them here!   Want to learn some of my sketching techniques? Then consider joining me on an African Art Safari Until next time, take care. Alison www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

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So what is an Art Safari anyway?

Art Safari /a:t , sə’fa:ri/ noun Definition: A trip of a lifetime…filled with fun, learning and lots of laughter¹; truly an amazing experience²; one of the best ‘Africa’ experiences I have ever had³.   A means of filling your sketchbook with memories of Africa’s iconic wildlife; to really look at an animal and see things […]

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Art Eclipse!

Art, Science and Kids – what could possibly go wrong? Yes, there is nothing like combining cardboard, binoculars, colanders and art on the driveway on a hot day in August. Can you tell I am desperately trying to reproduce a segment from Blue Peter? (I’m showing my age and UK background with this reference.) Just […]

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Is it a Field Sketch?

“Sketch – a simply or hastily executed drawing or painting, especially a preliminary one, giving the essential features without the details” (from Dictionary.com) On each visit to Africa I fill several sketchbooks with pencil and watercolor art. I have always referred to these artworks as ‘field sketches’ but as my work evolved I began to […]

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Generic Giraffe & Other Pitfalls

After sketching in the African bush for a number of years, I know the shapes of many of the commonly seen species. Right now, from memory, I can create a quick drawing of a giraffe, elephant, lion, leopard, painted dog, cheetah, kudu, impala, spotted hyena, buffalo, gemsbok, zebra, wildebeest, white rhino, baboon or aardvark (OK, […]

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