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Can you believe it's almost December?

Welcome to this month's newsletter as we speed our way towards Christmas and the end of 2017. It is hard for me to believe that the festive season is almost upon us and I hope you enjoy reading my November edition. This edition includes a very special fundraiser giveaway, all the latest news and updates, behind the scenes insights and a monthly collection of 'Monday musings...'. Keep reading to find out more!

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Latest News

Thank you Chester for such a warm welcome at this year's Chester Arts Fair. For those of you that were unable to make it, here are a few images that I would like to share with you from Cheshire's premier arts event.

If you have never been to Chester Racecourse, it is a fantastic venue and I feel honoured to have exhibited alongside such talented, independent artists. It was a great experience and I really enjoyed showcasing my artwork south of the border for the very first time. Art Fairs are always fun but I am really looking forward to returning to my studio space and painting, it feels like it has been far too long!

Are you interested in art fairs? If so, you can read my top ten art fair hacks here.

From Conception to Creation

'Summer Views', an in-depth look:

'Summer Views', is the featured artwork of my fundraiser giveaway and I wanted to share my inspiration and some behind the scenes images with you. Because of its unique location, I feel very fortunate to be based in Edinburgh. Gifted with historical architecture, geological wonders and nearby sandy beaches, Edinburgh is also nestled at the foot of the Pentland Hills. When I can't escape to the Highlands, the Pentlands are a welcome oasis from the frenzy of modern living and these colourful, rolling hills inspired me to paint 'Summer Views'.

When I re-capture a scene with paint, I want to bring to life the emotions and sensations a place invokes. As you've probably noticed, a photograph or 2D representation doesn't fully capture the essence of experiencing the beauty of nature in person. So, when I'm painting, I need to go beyond a photo and re-create the emotional content and sensory experiences.

Below is a photograph of Glencorse Reservoir and a photograph of 'Summer Views' as it progressed. I felt really happy out in the hills when I took this photo and when I was painting a little smiley face appeared in the bottom left-hand corner. Can you see it?

I was particularly inspired by the intense warmth of the day and the contrast of the pinkish purples of the thistles against the rich blue of the reservoir's water. In this painting I really wanted to capture the heat, energy and vibrant beauty found in the Pentland Hills during high summer. Because I wanted to convey the heat of this particular day, I warmed up the greens by making them yellower and added hot, summery colours to the squares.

Glencorse Reservoir and the surrounding hills literally buzz with life during the summer months and sunny days, like the one pictured in the shot above, host a lovely auditory blend of bumble bees, grasshoppers and bird song. If you park at Flotterstone carpark, you will be spoilt for choice, as there are many walks in and around the Pentland Hills to choose from. The path seen in the photo above leads to Balerno, and, if you follow this walking route from Flotterstone you are rewarded with a pub at both ends!

To purchase 'Summer Views', 22" x 22", acrylic on canvas, you can contact me here.

It is also available in three sizes as a giclée print from my online shop here. All prints come wrapped in acid free tissue paper and are protected by a cardboard postal tube.

Monthly Musings...

Keep reading for my monthly collection of 'Monday musings...'

Sanna, Ardnamurchan

'Trouvaille' - French in origin, means a lucky find! I found this love heart in a sun scorched rockpool at the very beautiful Sanna beach this summer. Have you had any trouvailles recently?

Portuairk, Ardnamurchan

'Specular reflection' is the reflection of waves, such as light, off smooth surfaces like mirrors or a calm body of water. Reflection off rough surfaces, such as rock, leads to a type of reflection known as diffuse reflection. Don't you think this rock pool in Portuairk illustrates this beautifully?

Buachaille Etive Mor, Glencoe

'Engentado' - The mountains of Glencoe are a good place to go if you are feeling "engentado". A Spanish, untranslatable word, engentado is defined as literally feeling "peopled out", and having the desire for some alone time to get away from the world and recharge yourself. Do you have a favourite place to go when you are feeling "engentado", or is it a closely guarded secret?

Loch nan Uamh, near Arisaig

'Loch nan Uamh' - "Uamh" or "uaimh", pronounced "oo-av", means cave. This beautiful sea loch near Arisaig is of significant historical interest and its shore sites the Princes Cairn; a small monument marking the spot where Bonnie Prince Charlie (aka Charles Edward Stuart and 'The Young Pretender') departed for France, never to set foot in Scotland again.

Before fleeing to exile, Loch nan Uamh was where the rebellious, young prince first entered the country to embark upon the ill-fated Jacobite uprising of 1745. In May 1746, just a few months before waving a final farewell to Bonnie Prince Charlie, 'the lake of caves' also witnessed the Skirmish of Loch nan Uamh, a bloody, naval battle between the Royal Navy and the French privateers. Isn't it crazy to think that this scene of tranquility was a doorway to so much rebellion and violence?

Autumn leaves, photoperiodism

'Photoperiodism' - Check out my photo showing one of the many lovely examples of this, which I enjoyed during a woodland walk last month. Photoperiodism is the response an organism has to the seasonal changes of the day's length. This physiological reaction can occur in both plants and animals. During autumn time, the leaves and some needles of trees change colour because the amounts of pigments alter. This is due to "senescence", the biological aging process, which, in plants, is induced by photoperiodism. Chlorophyll is responsible for green pigments and carotenoids are responsible for the bright yellow through to red hues. Some trees' leaves also contain anthocyanins, which are responsible for red, purple and blue colours. It's a complex process but don't you agree that it's also a very beautiful one?

Fundraiser giveaway!

Win a hand signed, giclée print of 'Summer Views' by giving a #helpinghand towards making a little boy's Christmas dream come true. The print is beautifully presented in an acid free mount and is ready for framing, making it the perfect Christmas gift!

Printed on archival quality, fine art paper with light-fast pigmented inks, ‘Summer Views’, retails at £80. The image size of the print is 40cm square and the overall size (including the mount) is 56cm x 58.5cm.

Cameron Millar is ten years old and was born without his right hand. He is raising money to fund a state of the art 3D printed electric hand and Cameron is well on his way to reaching his £10,000 target. If he can raise the full amount before 14th December 2017, Cameron will be able to receive his new hand in time for Christmas. All donations to this worthwhile cause are warmly received and every £1 raised will help Cameron get one step closer to achieving his target. I really hope we can make it in time for Christmas!

If you would like to be in with a chance of winning an artist signed, mounted print of 'Summer Views', just follow these two simple steps:

1. Firstly, make any small donation to Cameron's fundraising page by clicking here.

2. Secondly, email #helpinghand to here.

Read my privacy policy here.

Please help make a little boy very happy at Christmas and share this fundraiser giveaway with your friends and family on social media. Remember, every pound counts and will be a #helpinghand in making an Edinburgh boy’s dreams come true. Don't forget to like my Facebook page and/or follow me on Instagram and Twitter if you are joining me for the first time! :)

This competition will close at 6pm on 12/12/17. The lucky winner will be selected at random and emailed within 48hrs of the competition closing time. Please share this giveaway with your friends and family. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all the very BEST OF LUCK!

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