Commission: Helen Betley’s Windermere swim, with a lot of gold leaf

Finished painting - photo 3

Thought you might like to see a painting I finished before Christmas. Last year, Helen Betley swam the length of Windermere… butterfly! Her husband asked if I could paint a painting of the swim. I don’t generally do landscape paintings, (as actual paintings, rather than digital drawings) but I do do a lot of figure drawings, and gold leaf, so I suggested this combination as a bold composition, rather than a straight painting of someone swimming. All the leaf is gold, the different colours are different alloys of gold, and it’s all applied piece by piece, with a paintbrush as it’s too delicate to pick up. The rest is pencil and a watercolour wash, and the little folly is really there on the shore of Windermere, but I added the inscription in my drawing, as a detail to commemorate the swim.

All the photographs are of the same painting – the gold leaf changes so much with different light you may think there is more than one version.

Finished painting - photo 1
Finished painting – photo 1
Finished painting - photo 2
Finished painting – photo 2
One of the photos I worked from
One of the photos I worked from
Photo elements re-arranged
Photo elements re-arranged
Sketch for painting
Sketch for painting
Detail of painting - Helen with hat details
Detail of painting – Helen with hat details
Detail of painting - Helen
Detail of painting – Helen
Detail of painting - The folly with swim details
Detail of painting – The Folly, with swim details
Finished painting - photo 3
Finished painting – photo 3
Finished painting - photo 3
Finished painting – photo 4

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