Category Archives: Acrylics

Lion Painting Demo

My lion painting demo shows how I used fluid acrylic and colored inks on canvas to create the painting, Preoccupied Pair. I started this painting in December and added the finishing touches a few days ago. Miraculously, I remembered to video nearly all the painting sessions so I could create this lion painting demo from start to finish!

Preoccupied Pair is based on my watercolor field sketch from Botswana (below). The watercolor shows a mating pair of lions walking through grasses. You’ll notice the 2 pieces are quite different, because I rarely recreate a field sketch as a studio painting. In the studio painting I felt the lions needed to be larger and closer to each other, and I wanted to eliminate most of the background vegetation and the termite mound.

Mating Lions watercolor by Alison Nicholls
Mating Lions, field watercolor 11×14″

They are 2 very different pieces of art, but each reflects my intentions and the different ways I work in the field and in the studio. Both pieces are for sale with a 25% donation to African conservation organizations.

Do you have a preference for 1 piece or the other?
Alison

See my watercolor field sketches.
See my studio acrylics.

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 species of endangered birds.

And now I’m off to work on my next piece for the Silent Skies Mural – some White-backed Vultures.
Thanks for watching!
Alison
www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

Giraffe Bulls Browsing by Alison Nicholls

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 in the narrow gap between tall shrubs, and a cow and her calf gazing off into the distance.

A donation will be made from the sale of these paintings to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. The original paintings are currently on view at the Rye Arts Center in Rye, New York, until April 21. You can also see them on my website here.

Read more about the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.
The Rye Arts Center is located at 51 Milton Road, Rye, NY 10580.

Take care
Alison
www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

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 on April 17 at 11am. If you live in the area, please come and see the exhibit. If not, you can see all my artworks in the exhibition here.

Alison Nicholls Alison NichollsReception1 Reception1

Enjoy the exhibition!
Alison
www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

Leopard - Patience by Alison Nicholls

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 and stages of the painting. It is difficult to video my work as it progresses, because I paint flat on a table. This means I have to place my video on a very high shelf and try to remember not to block the view when I am painting. Not ideal, but I’m gradually improving my video techniques, so watch for more soon.
If you took part in my survey – Thank You! You can see all the results here.
If you haven’t completed the survey yet, you can do so here.
Enjoy!
Alison

travel africa

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 in their print magazine too. Thank you and enjoy the article!
Alison

Meet the artist: Alison Nicholls

Birds & Beasts at the Rye Arts Center 2018

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.

Birds & Beasts at the Rye Arts Center 2018

Giving an exhibition a title can be remarkably difficult. You want to get it right – to indicate what the exhibit is about – but leave a little mystery that will make people want to attend. Its especially difficult to come up with a title when you are are sharing an exhibit with another artist. So (despite my husband’s objections to the word ‘Beasts’) I am pretty pleased with this title and feel it nicely represents my art of large African mammals (some of which are of course, beastly!) and Sean’s art consisting mostly of birds who dwell near or on Long Island Sound.

Drinking Impala by Alison Nicholls

Drinking Impala by Alison Nicholls

Of course, I wonder how much the title means to anyone else. After all, artists often squirm over titling each individual piece of artwork, only to find that viewers don’t really care what the title is. I hate to admit it, but I don’t have a clue about the titles of most of the art in my own home (those pieces not painted by me), so I wonder if all the angst is really worthwhile. Anyway…even if the title is irrelevant, I do hope you will come and join us for one of the many events associated with this exhibit – the Reception, the Artists Talk or the 2 Sketching Sessions with live animals provided by Animal Embassy, including (I am most excited about this) the wonderfully named Quilliam, the African crested porcupine!

Quilliam the African crested porcupine with Chris Evers of Animal Embassy

Quilliam the African crested porcupine with Chris Evers of Animal Embassy

Read more about the art of Sean Murtha
Read more about the Rye Arts Center
Read more about Animal Embassy

I hope to see you at the exhibition for a wild time!
Alison
www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

Alison-Nicholls-Art-Survey

Take Part in my Art Survey!

Here’s your chance to tell me what you think by taking part in my
Art Survey!

Alison-Nicholls-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 follow my art here or elsewhere, take part in my Art Survey

I’ll look forward to seeing your answers!
Until next time…
Alison
www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

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 the fire, when a huge clan of spotted hyenas ran down a track through the middle of Savute campsite at night. And on one occasion realized to my consternation that a particularly brazen hyena was sitting in the shadows behind my camp chair, waiting for us to go to bed so he could see if we had left any edible scraps in our campsite.
 
 

Spotted Hyena - Night Scent by Alison Nicholls

Several of my recent African field sketches include spotted hyenas, but these were sketched during the day, so I wanted to try painting a nocturne (night scene) of a spotted hyena foraging. My first thought was how I would cope without all the vibrant colors I usually use? Well, it turned out to be easy, because I mixed all the greys and browns in the painting from combinations of 3 lovely colors – Naples yellow, Anthraquinone blue and Quinacridone burnt orange. Its amazing what you can do with only 3 colors, used in different proportions, and many of my studio paintings make use of such a limited palette.
 
The hyena in this painting is using its amazing sense of smell to test the air and locate food. You can see her strong neck which is necessary to anchor the huge muscles which give the hyena such a powerful bite. Their fictional reputation may be as cowardly scavengers but this is not at all accurate. Spotted hyenas are successful predators in their own right, are essential to the health of their environment, are a fascinating species, and are one of my favorites to watch and sketch.
 
Spotted Hyena – Night Scent is an original framed acrylic on canvas, 20×16″, priced at US$1800. Please whoop if you’d like further details!
You can see this painting, and others, on my website – www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com.
 
Alison Nicholls
www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

January 2018 Art Challenge

I started 2018 with an Art Challenge and here is a preview of my challenge so far.

Art Challenge 2018

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 tough to overlay 28-31 color washes without complete chaos being the result. So I started a kind of wheel effect, rolling the washes across and down the page.

I wondered when was the best time to choose the color for the day – at the end of the day (when I’m tired) or the next morning (looking back on the day before). I still haven’t really decided which works best yet.

It seemed like such a simple challenge. Who would have thought that painting one color a day on a piece of canvas would give rise to so many questions?!

Paint on!
Alison
www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

2018 palette by Alison Nicholls

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 vibrant primaries; some are darker tones; but when you look at the week, or the month, or the year, the canvas tells an exquisite story.

2018 palette by Alison Nicholls

2018 palette by Alison Nicholls

So this year I will be mixing 1 wash of color every day, to reflect how I felt that day. I’ll paint it on a piece of canvas and add a new wash every day. Each week I’ll start a new canvas. (Tip, this will be far easier in fluid acrylic than in watercolor, because you can add multiple washes of color without fear of ‘picking up’ the washes below.) I may even try a monthly canvas, just to see how far I can push this.
Let me know if you will be joining me!

Paint on!
Alison
www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

Gigantic Giraffes!

Today is World Giraffe Day.
So, in honor of these towering tree-nibblers, here are a variety of giraffes in art.

Browsing Giraffe Field Sketch by Alison Nicholls ©2015

Browsing Giraffe Field Sketch, 11×14″ by Alison Nicholls ©2015. Limited edition available.

2 giraffes, painted in blue, look out over the bush, by Alison Nicholls

Giraffes, 6×4″ watercolor. Original Sold.

Stages of a giraffe sketch by Alison Nicholls

How to sketch a giraffe. Photo by Nigel Nicholls.

We all know what a giraffe looks like, right?
Well I challenge you to sketch the giraffe above.
Now, tell me, aren’t giraffes put together in a strange way? Its amazing that they can stand up, let alone walk or run anywhere. Or drink.
As with so many large mammals, their numbers have been dropping far too fast in recent decades due to habitat loss & the bushmeat trade among other things.
So, I’m donating 25% from the sale of my remaining Browsing Giraffe limited editions (see above) to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF). One of the limited editions has been donated to Longnecks for Longnecks a fundraiser for GCF in Orlando, Florida on Thursday. So join them for an evening out in support of gentle giants!
Alison
www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com
White-backed vultures acrylic painting by Alison Nicholls, 8x8"

Fascinating Vultures!

Yes, I really do believe that vultures are fascinating! I imagine you either agree with me, or you are pulling some kind of disgusted face. So let me explain. I’m a fan of vultures and love to sketch them (I haven’t created many studio paintings of them, but am hoping to remedy this over the next few years). Their amazing eyesight allows them to spot a carcass from vast distances and they follow other vultures if they start to descend. If they land in trees, maybe they’ve seen a predator near the carcass and need to be cautious. If they swoop to the ground with feet splayed like grappling hooks and land close to the carcass, there are likely to be no predators present. They have an immediately recognizable silhouette, even though there is great variety among vulture species.

White-backed vultures acrylic painting by Alison Nicholls, 8x8"

White-backed Vultures, 8×8″ acrylic by Alison Nicholls ©2017

You might think vultures are common across Africa, but this is no longer the case. Some species, like White-backed Vultures (Gyps africanus) are listed on the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered. Their numbers are declining due to electrocution and collisions with power lines; habitat loss; trade in vulture parts; loss of large ungulate populations which are their main food source; and inadvertent or intentional poisoning. (Poison is sometimes applied to livestock or wildlife carcasses by people in rural areas as a means of killing predators, but this can result in the death of dozens of vultures at a time, as well as the death of any other mammal, bird, reptile or insect which feeds on the carcass.)
One morning in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, we set out for a drive and found the carcass of a young wildebeest. It was completely untouched and had obviously died of natural causes during the night. White-backed vultures, a couple of Rüppell’s vultures and some maribou storks had found the carcass and were collecting around it. Later that same day we passed the spot again and found a completely clean, intact skeleton. I wish I had taken a photo, but I’m afraid I didn’t.

White-backed Vultures drawing by Alison Nicholls ©2017

Studio drawing for White-backed Vultures by Alison Nicholls ©2017

Vultures have an amazing ability to digest rotting flesh without getting sick. Imagine the great wildebeest migration without any vultures to clean up the remains of the many animals who die along the way. There are occasions when dozens of animals die crossing the Mara river – crushed by the weight of animals around them. Crocodiles and other predators would eat their fill, but they alone can’t handle the number of carcasses. Bodies would pile up on the banks and in the river, poisoning the water as it travels out of the national park towards Lake Victoria and the Nile, where thousands of people live along the shores.
So next time you pull a face at the idea of vultures, remember that they, like every other living creature, perform an amazing and necessary function.
A little respect for the fascinating vulture, please!
Take care
Alison
www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com
Alison Nicholls - Art Inspired By Africa

An Artist’s Fear

Many artists find blank canvas or white paper intimidating, because they want the very first mark they make to be perfect. I understand this, but for me, its the final stages that are more intimidating – the last few brush-strokes which can make or break a painting. When I think I’ve nearly finished,  I put the painting away and don’t look at it for a few days. Then I bring it back into the studio to make a decision. I look at it in a mirror, because seeing it in reverse often highlights problems. I stand it on an easel with a temporary mat covering the edges because this gives me an idea of how it will look when framed. I sit back, feet up on my table trying to make a decision.

Alison Nicholls - Art Inspired By Africa

I aim to err on the side of slightly unfinished rather than overworked, so  many paintings pass this final stage without any additions. I just add my signature, and spend the rest of the day feeling very virtuous. But on the occasions when I think more detail or another wash might be required, I feel a sense of trepidation. I mix my paint, take a deep breath, then I change my mind and revert back to the feet-on-the-table, not-quite-sure-yet stage. If I decide, once again, that more painting is required, I grab my brushes and try to get started before the fear of ruining the painting grabs hold of me instead. Almost immediately I know if my additions are going to be OK – and if my day is going to end well or very badly!
Which do you fear most – the big bad empty canvas, or the frightening final touches?

Alison
www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com

Elephants in Brown by Alison Nicholls

Endangered Species Day Donations

Today is Endangered Species Day.  This is not a day we should need on our calendars, but unfortunately it comes around every year, with more and more species falling into the ‘endangered’ bracket.

Restful Field Sketch © Alison Nicholls

Restful Field Sketch – 8×10″ original watercolor on paper, unframed, US$200. A donation of US$70 will be made to Cheetah Conservation Botswana from this sale.

 

We hear about the plight of charismatic species like lions, cheetahs and painted dogs, but habitat loss, the bushmeat trade, the pet trade and human-wildlife conflict are pushing a huge percentage of our Earth’s species towards ‘endangered’ status. It is downright depressing.

Lioness and Cubs Field Sketch by Alison Nicholls ©2016

Lioness & Cubs Field Sketch – 11×14″ original watercolor on paper, unframed, US$300. A donation of US$105 will be made to African People & Wildlife in Tanzania from this sale.

So what can we do?
A lot.

Dog Pack Field Sketch © Alison Nicholls 2015

Painted Dogs in the Morning Field Sketch – 11×14″ original watercolor on paper, unframed, US$300. A donation of US$105 will be made to Painted Dog Research Trust in Zimbabwe from this sale.

Get involved, particularly in your own local area. Make sure your local politicians know how important the environment is to you. Stand against destructive development projects and stand up for sustainable long-term solutions. Protect invaluable wetlands, forests, plains and wild places, not just because they are beautiful and provide necessary habitat for numerous species, but because they provide us with recreation and employment opportunities, and because they are essential to our own well-being.

Elephants in Brown Field Sketch by Alison Nicholls ©2016

Elephants in Brown Field Sketch – 11×14″ original watercolor on paper, unframed, US$300. A donation of US$105 will be made to African People & Wildlife in Tanzania from this sale.

It is not eliteist to stand up for our stunning planet and its inhabitants. It is absolutely necessary.

Cheetah Trio Field Sketch © Alison Nicholls

Cheetah Trio Field Sketch – 11×14″ limited edition reproduction, printed on watercolor paper, unframed, 25 copies only, US$120 each. A donation of US$36 will be made to Cheetah Conservation Botswana from this sale.

And if donating to African conservation organizations is important to you, you can take a look at some of my work and know that for today, and throughout the weekend, I will be making large donations from any sale. I will also be offering free shipping within the continental US and half-price shipping elsewhere in the world.
Lets make Endangered Species Day unnecessary.
Thank you.
Alison

Alison Nicholls
alison@artinspiredbyafrica.com

Artists Susan Fox, Karryl and Alison Nicholls with an emerald tree boa

An Exhibition In Images: Children Sketching Animals!

Part III of an exhibition in images features Children Sketching Animals. Chris Evers from Animal Embassy brought scorpions, an African bullfrog, a monk parakeet, an emerald tree boa and a rabbit. 25 local children arrived to sketch and sculpt with tuition from artists Alison Nicholls, Karryl, David Rankin, Susan Fox and Sean Murtha. All in a gallery packed with the artists’ wildlife art from Mongolia, Africa, India, Central and North America.

What could possibly go wrong?!

Children sketching animals at the Flinn Gallery

An emerald tree boa fascinates a young visitor…

Chris Evers from Animal Embassy

Chris Evers from Animal Embassy explains the rules…

 

David Rankin demonstrates how to sketch a scorpian

David Rankin demonstrates how to sketch a scorpion…

Sean Murtha watches over children and a monk parakeet

Sean Murtha helps children sketching a monk parakeet…

Monk parakeet poses perfectly

The monk parakeet poses perfectly…

Susan Fox explains how to sketch a bullfrog

Susan Fox explains how to sketch a bullfrog…

Alison Nicholls helps children sketch a tree boa

Alison Nicholls helps children sketch a tree boa…

Karryl helps children sculpt a rabbit

Karryl helps children sculpt a rabbit…

Sketching and sculpting in the gallery

Sketching and sculpting in the gallery…

Emerald tree boa with art by Carel Brest van Kempen

At the end we get to have a little fun…emerald tree boa with art by Carel Brest van Kempen…

Artists Susan Fox, Karryl and Alison Nicholls with an emerald tree boa

Susan Fox, Karryl & Alison Nicholls hold the beautiful emerald tree boa…

It turned out that nothing went wrong at all. The sketching and sculpting session was a great hit and (as far as we know) the snake, scorpions, frog, rabbit and bird all exited the gallery with Chris from Animal Embassy!

Wildlife Art: Field to Studio is at the Flinn Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut, and features field work and studio work from 7 Signature members of the Society of Animal Artists. Each artist works in a different region of the world: Alison Nicholls (Africa); David Rankin (India); Karryl (Rocky Mountains); Carel Brest van Kempen (Central America); Kelly Singleton (Alaska); Sean Murtha (Long Island Sound) and Susan Fox (Mongolia). The exhibit is on display until May 4, 2016. Wildlife Art: Field to Studio is curated by Lillian Lum, Claudia Schipper & Alice Sherwood.

Please come and join me for a guided tour of the exhibition!
Alison

www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com
A donation is made to African conservation from every sale.

Wildlife Art: Field to Studio at the Flinn gallery, Greenwich, CT, with artist Alison Nicholls

An Exhibition in Images: Opening Reception

Part II of an exhibition in images features the Opening Reception. The exhibition is Wildlife Art: Field to Studio at the Flinn Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut, which features field work and studio work from 7 Signature members of the Society of Animal Artists. Each artist works in a different region of the world: Alison Nicholls (Africa); David Rankin (India); Karryl (Rocky Mountains); Carel Brest van Kempen (Central America); Kelly Singleton (Alaska); Sean Murtha (Long Island Sound) and Susan Fox (Mongolia). The exhibit is on display until May 4, 2016.

Wildlife Art: Field to Studio at the Flinn gallery, Greenwich, CT, with artist Alison Nicholls

The fun begins… (l to r) Susan Fox, David Rankin, Karryl, Sean Murtha, Alison Nicholls

Wildlife Art: Field to Studio at the Flinn gallery, Greenwich, CT, with artist Alison Nicholls

Pre-opening photo shoot…

Wildlife Art: Field to Studio at the Flinn gallery, Greenwich, CT

Guests start to arrive…

Wildlife Art: Field to Studio at the Flinn gallery, Greenwich, CT, with artist Alison Nicholls

Alison Nicholls with Ambassador & Mrs Ntwaagae of Botswana…

Wildlife Art: Field to Studio at the Flinn gallery, Greenwich, CT

More guests arrive…

Wildlife Art: Field to Studio at the Flinn gallery, Greenwich, CT, with artist Alison Nicholls

Another pre-opening shot, in front of work by Carel Brest van Kempen…

Wildlife Art: Field to Studio at the Flinn gallery, Greenwich, CT, with artist Alison Nicholls

A few words by one of the curators, Lillian Lum…

Wildlife Art: Field to Studio at the Flinn gallery, Greenwich, CT

The guests listen to the brief presentation…

Wildlife Art: Field to Studio at the Flinn gallery, Greenwich, CT

Stripes are in… (artwork by David Rankin)

Wildlife Art: Field to Studio at the Flinn gallery, Greenwich, CT

Seeing the exhibit…

Wildlife Art: Field to Studio at the Flinn gallery, Greenwich, CT

Sculptor Karryl explain her work to a young visitor…

Wildlife Art: Field to Studio at the Flinn gallery, Greenwich, CT

Pinnacle, sculpture by Karryl, presides over the reception…

Over 260 visitors attended the opening reception and the evening was a resounding success. But this was just the start of a busy weekend of events. Next time I will show you images from the Children Sketching Animals!

Wildlife Art: Field to Studio is curated by Lillian Lum, Claudia Schipper & Alice Sherwood. It is on display until May 4 at the Flinn Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Please come and join me for a guided tour of the exhibition!
Alison

www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com
A donation is made to African conservation from every sale.

Wildlife art exhibition setup at the Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT.

An Exhibition in Images: Setup

This is the story of an exhibition…in images. The exhibition is Wildlife Art: Field to Studio at the Flinn Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut, which features field work and studio work from 7 Signature members of the Society of Animal Artists. Each artist works in a different region of the world: Alison Nicholls (Africa); David Rankin (India); Karryl (Rocky Mountains); Carel Brest van Kempen (Central America); Kelly Singleton (Alaska); Sean Murtha (Long Island Sound) and Susan Fox (Mongolia). The exhibit is on display until May 4, 2016, and on April 24 at 2pm there will be an Artists Talk by Sean Murtha and Alison Nicholls. Come and join us to see the exhibition for yourself!

Wildlife art exhibition setup at the Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT.

The exhibition setup…

Wildlife art exhibition setup at the Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT.

I set up the field box for sculptor, Karryl.

Wildlife art exhibition setup at the Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT.

The exhibition begins to take shape…

Wildlife art exhibition setup at the Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT.

Curators hang Sean Murtha’s work…

Wildlife art exhibition setup at the Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT.

Artists Kelly Singleton & Alison Nicholls…

Wildlife art exhibition setup at the Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT.

Pinnacle by Karryl…

Wildlife art exhibition setup at the Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT.

Nearing completion…

Wildlife art exhibition setup at the Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT.

The impressive exhibition title wall…

Wildlife art exhibition setup at the Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT.

Ready for the opening reception…

Next time I will show you images from the Opening Reception!

Wildlife Art: Field to Studio is curated by Lillian Lum, Claudia Schipper & Alice Sherwood. It is on display until May 4 at the Flinn Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut. On April 24 at 2pm I will be giving an Artists Talk, along with Sean Murtha. I will also be at the Gallery to meet visitors on the following days and times:
Tuesday April 19, 11am – 2pm.
Thursday April 21, 5pm – 7pm.
Saturday April 23, 12pm – 2pm.
Monday April 25, 2pm – 4pm.
Wednesday April 27, 11am – 1pm.
Thursday April 28, 5pm – 7pm.

Please come and join me for a guided tour of the exhibition!
Alison

www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com
A donation is made to African conservation from every sale.

Zebras In Mopane, acrylic by Alison Nicholls

Wildlife Art in the Flinn Gallery

Soon my paintings, including Zebra in Mopane, will be hanging in the Flinn Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut. We have some great events scheduled around this exciting exhibition, so come and see the wildlife of Africa, Mongolia, Alaska, India, the Rocky Mountains, Central America and the Long Island Sound from the unique perspectives of a diverse group of artists.

Zebras In Mopane, acrylic by Alison Nicholls

Zebras In Mopane, acrylic by Alison Nicholls


Here are the details you need to know!

Thur March 31, Flinn Gallery
Opening Reception: 6-8pm.
Sat April 2, Flinn Gallery
Children Sketching Animals: 11am-12pm. Sold Out.
Artists Talk: Susan Fox (Mongolia), David Rankin (India) & Karryl (Rockies), 2-3pm.

Mon April 4,
Explorers Club
Artists Talk: Alison Nicholls, Susan Fox, David Rankin, Sean Murtha & Karryl, 6pm.
The Explorers Club, 46 East 70th Street, New York City. Registration Required.

Sun April 24
, Flinn Gallery
Artists Talk: Alison Nicholls & Sean Murtha, 2-3pm.

The exhibition runs from March 24 – May 4, 2016. The Flinn Gallery is located at 101 West Putnam Ave, Greenwich, CT 06830. Wildlife Art: Field to Studio is curated by Lillian Lum, Alice Sherwood & Claudia Schipper.

Come and join me at one of our exciting exhibit events!
Alison
www.ArtInspiredByAfrica.com

Strides by Alison Nicholls

Spot my New Cheetah Painting!

I’d like to show you my new cheetah painting, Strides, but I can’t – not yet!
It will be revealed in late March when it hangs in the Flinn Gallery in Greenwich, CT, as part of the exhibition Wildlife Art: Field to Studio.

Strides-sneak-peak-ANicholls

See the full painting in March in the Flinn Gallery, Greenwich, CT.

In the meantime, enjoy the preview!

Flinn Gallery
Greenwich Library, 101 West Putnam Ave, Greenwich, CT 06830
5 of the participating artists – Alison Nicholls, Sean Murtha, Susan Fox, David Rankin & Karryl – will be present for the opening weekend and the following events:
Opening Reception: March 31, 6-8pm
Children Sketching Wildlife: April 2, 11am-12noon (registration required, details tba)
Artists’ Talk: April 2, 2-3pm.

The Explorers Club Lecture, New York City.
April 4, 6pm. Registration is required.

Playtime, painted dogs, by Alison Nicholls

Painted Dog Playtime by Alison Nicholls

Playtime is based on my recent sketches and memories of painted dogs in Botswana playing around a tall clump of buffalo grass. So where is the grass, I hear you asking? Well the composition did originally contain the grass, but I removed it because I felt that the obvious playful energy of the 2 dogs was the real essence of the painting. You can see from their raised tails, raised ears and general body language that they are ready to run and chase each other, they are just waiting to see who will make the first move.

Playtime, painted dogs, by Alison Nicholls

Playtime, painted dogs, acrylic 24×30″ by Alison Nicholls

The playful nature of painted dogs (African wild dogs) is just one of the reasons they are so wonderful to watch. They exude a real joy in being part of a pack, having close companions, and in celebrating their successful hunts. My choice of colors – magenta and cyan – reflect the joyful, energetic nature of the piece and the layered washes of color create distance between the 2 dogs (so I was able to remove the grass from the composition!).

Playtime was very loosely based on some of my recent field sketches, including this piece, created in Zimbabwe when I spent time with Dr Greg Rasmussen of the Painted Dog Research Trust in Mana Pools.

Playtime Field Sketch, watercolor by Alison Nicholls

Playtime Field Sketch, watercolor by Alison Nicholls

Playtime and several more of my new paintings & sketches will be on display in Wildlife Art: Field to Studio, an exhibition at the Flinn Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut. The exhibit features work by 7 artists, several of whom are personal friends of mine, and all of whom are Signature members of the Society of Animal Artists. We work in a wide variety of media –  watercolor, acrylic, oil, digital media & sculpture; in a variety of styles – contemporary, whimsical & realistic; and we undertake our field work in different parts of the world – Africa, Mongolia, Alaska, the Rocky Mountains, India, Central America & the Long Island Sound. It promises to be an exciting exhibition and at least 5 of the artists will be present for the opening reception and weekend programs for children and adults. My fellow artists and exhibitors are Susan Fox, Sean Murtha, David Rankin, Karryl, Kelly Singleton and Carel Brest van Kempen. The exhibition was curated by Lillian Lum, Alice Sherwood and Claudia Schipper.

Please join me for the Opening Reception or one of the programs associated with the exhibition.

Flinn Gallery Events
Opening Reception: March 31, 6-8pm
Children Sketching Wildlife: April 2 (details tba)
Artists Talks: April 2, 2-3pm.

The Explorers Club Lecture, New York City.
April 4, 6pm. Registration is required.

Until next time…!
Alison
www.ArtInspiredByAfrica.com

Roses photo by Alison Nicholls

Part 2: Fashionable Color Palettes – Artistic Smart Move or Sellout? An Artist’s Opinion.

Color is a very, very important part of my art and my color choices are carefully considered. I often use color to indicate a time of day – reds and oranges for the heat of midday; blues and purples for dusk. I also use combinations of colors to suggest a mood – limiting my palette of colors to create a tranquil feel for a painting.

New Limited Edition Giclées by Alison Nicholls

Paintings by Alison Nicholls

Given the way I think carefully about my use of color, you might expect me to be completely averse to artists using seasonal color palettes, like Pantone’s Fashion Color Report, but in fact, I’m not.

Being an artist means different thing to different people, but generally I think most people would agree that art has no formula and that every artist decides on their own path, the path that is right for them. Some artists change continuously, constantly experimenting with new colors, new styles and new media. They take their inspiration wherever they find it. Others (and I admit to being one of them), move more slowly, sticking to a distinct media and hoping to improve in my own niche. But even an artist like me, who seems to carefully control her use of color, is influenced by outside forces more than you might imagine…

The 1st time  I realized I had unknowingly been influenced  in this way was in Moremi Game Reserve where I spent a couple of hours sketching a herd of impala, standing stationary for minutes in uncomfortable positions, afraid to move an inch in case they saw me. I ended up with a nice little pencil sketch, came back to camp and decided to use a deep red-brown watercolor to complete it. When I’d finished, a friend commented on this being an unusual color choice for me, and I agreed. Only several minutes later did it occur to us that this was the exact color of the huge flowers of the sausage tree above our heads!

Roses photo by Alison Nicholls

Roses photo by Alison Nicholls

This week I had another example. I started a painting using a dusky pink- brown and was considering where to go with the next wash of color. I headed downstairs to make a cup of tea and decided that a vase of roses on the fireplace should really be thrown out. The roses never opened or dropped their petals, they just seemed to have dried, but they were still beautiful, so I decided to keep them in my studio for a while, thinking that the muted colors would make a lovely color scheme for a painting. As I walked into my studio with the vase of flowers I realized my current painting was already the exact shade of pinky brown as the roses!

My point is that you will almost inevitably be influenced, consciously or unconsciously, by everything around you. I may not decide to paint my next painting in Peach Echo or Serenity just because they are part of Pantone’s Spring 2016 Color Report but if these colors start appearing in clothing and all over the internet in all kinds of products, I may unwittingly find them sneaking into my art. But maybe that is because these are fairly natural color choices for me anyway. Should the fall colors include lots of metallic grays and greens, it is unlikely that you’ll be seeing these in my Art Inspired By Africa!

Alison
www.ArtInspiredByAfrica.com

New Limited Edition Giclées by Alison Nicholls

Fashionable Color Palettes – Artistic Smart Move or Sellout?

A while ago a good friend of mine pointed out that most of my paintings in a certain color palette were sold. At the end of each year I look at my sales and try to determine trends, including general color schemes, but I have never made a point of checking out the current season’s ‘fashionable’ colors and using them in my art. Instead, I have used color to indicate the time of day, or mood. But, like most people, I do have my own favorites, colors that I turn to again and again in my art. So my friend’s comment got me thinking – would checking out and using some of the seasonal color palettes help me get out of a color rut, when I’m tempted to turn yet again to my favorite colors? Would it increase my sales? And do I want to go down that road?

New Limited Edition Giclées by Alison Nicholls

New Limited Edition Giclées by Alison Nicholls

Before I tell you my own opinions (in next week’s post) I’d like to ask you for your opinions. Are seasonal color palettes, like Pantone’s Fashion Color Report, useful tools for a savvy artist, or do they interfere with your unique artistic vision?

Let me know your thoughts and I may feature them in my post next week.
Until then…
Alison
www.ArtInspiredByAfrica.com

Painted Dog (African wild dog) playing, by Alison Nicholls ©2015

This Is Not A Drill – Art and Fire Alarms!

I’ve been working on my latest painted dog piece for over 2 weeks now. And something is definitely wrong. The composition and drawing are good, but I’m finding excuses to leave my studio. Every time I come back in, I try to evaluate the painting with fresh eyes, but in my head, alarm bells are ringing.

Painted Dog (African wild dog) playing, by Alison Nicholls ©2015

Detail of painted dog piece by Alison Nicholls

Its like a fire alarm going off. First, you think its a false alarm, so you can carry on with what you are doing. But it doesn’t stop, so you wonder if its real or just a test. Eventually you realize you will have to leave the building, whether the fire is real or not.

Late yesterday afternoon, I finally paid attention to the alarm bells, decided to abandon this version of the painting, and metaphorically ‘left the building’.

Since then I have experimented with a subtle gray color, and now I have the inspiration and desire to start the piece again, with fire extinguisher in hand!

Until next time…
Alison
www.ArtInspiredbyAfrica.com