Secret Garden By JP McLaughlin

JP McLaughlin is amongst my favorite artists and has in the past featured heavily amongst my inspirations alongside two others from Scotland. Far from being a traditional Scottish artist, he is a well known and respected global artist with a distinct and easily recognizable style.

Secret garden by JP McLaughlin

Secret garden by JP McLaughlin

The latest of his work titled Secret Garden is a prime example of his more commercially oriented work. The beautifully styled and instantly recognized Red Coat series is an ongoing feature of his work. Secret Garden has the hallmarks of serenity that has become synonymous of these paintings.

A stormy, cloudy sky is broken up with the immediately visible woman in the red coat, in this case, modeled by Debbie Campbell a prolific performer and fundraiser in her own right (as well as the owner of this particular painting). There is a sense of chaos and calm, a contrasting idea that somehow works as we look at her contemplative stance and without seeing her face we know on sight that she is deep in thought, what she is contemplating is open to interpretation.

The casual air of the woman in the Red Coat belies the darkness of the surroundings giving it a softness and a sense that she is relaxed in her contemplation, leaning casually against a wall, she is the epitome of casual elegance and grace in the tumultuous surroundings, a sort of stark reminder that the individual that stands out is the one who speaks softly but carries a big stick, or in this case, wears a brazen shade of red .

The Secret Garden is a nod to the grounds of Hansel Village and gives a touch of the personal to the piece that adds a new depth to the story overall.

The beauty of this piece (aside from the woman in the Red Coat) is the simplicity of the message as per my own interpretation, it speaks to softness in the dark and contemplation in the whirling chaos of the mind. As a piece from the Red Coat series of images, this captures the eye and the mind in a way that makes you want to know her story and as I have seen first hand, opens a discussion on her motives. Cleverly structured JP McLaughlin has offered the art world another conversation starter.

To learn more about JP McLaughlin or to purchase artwork see:

JP McLaughlin Website

JP McLaughlin Facebook

Shining Boy BB Cream

Shining boy is a brand I found by sheer chance and it falls into that category of quirky and outwith my norm for male grooming but this does not detract from the company in any shape or form. While many say that makeup is universal there is still a degree of stigma attached to men buying makeup that they are working to take away with their quirky concepts.

shining boy makeup.jpg

For those taking their first steps into the world of makeup as a boy/man or just looking for something that will be quick, simple and easy to use then a BB cream is generally a good starting point. With the Shining boy BB cream, its targeted specifically at men and boys with a view to making clean skin a quicker process and creates a gateway to experimentation with the wider range of their cosmetics (in particular the eye shadow palettes).

The silver tone of the packaging and overall feel is standard and would not look out of place in a gym bag as it resembles a moisturiser or a post shave balm. The actual product has all the hallmarks of a premium BB cream (BB standing for Beauty balm) in that it offers an all encompassing product with skincare, concealer and light coverage that will in essence give the skin a fresh, rested look. Available in two shades of light and wheatish (medium/tan). Like many BB creams it is still advisable to use a powder to set although it is relatively long wearing depending on your own skin type and texture. The ingredients overall do have all the qualities I would expect and the added bonus of being waterproof making it an ideal addition to a summer regime.

The rest of the shining boy range is more about fun and experimentation with vibrant colour palettes and a more whimsical sense of playfulness but it is the BB cream that does stand out in the range from a grooming perspective as its designed to be easy to use and stands as a reminder that grooming (in the social media age) is an important factor for the well dressed gent or artistically minded soul who wants to be seen in the best possible light.

To learn more about the company see:

Shining Boy Website

Shining Boy Instagram

Shining Boy Facebook

*A quick google search on the Shining Boy brand is enlightening and offers an interesting perspective on the range but in all honesty it doesn’t detract from the company for me it just allows a little insight into the company and the nearest competitors in terms of look and ingredients (not to mention pricing)