Category Archives: Metal leaf

Teeny Weeny Swimmers

I am painting teeny weeny swimmers!
These are more 4 inch square ‘Mini Swimmers’. The mini swimmers all started when Glastonbury Galleries put on an ‘Anonymous Art’ show two years ago, where they asked lots of artists to create 4 inch square artworks, and sold them all framed the same size and unsigned. I did paintings in watercolour and gold leaf. These ones are not the actual paintings I’m putting in this year’s exhibition, I’ve done something slightly different… though you will all probably guess which mine are in any case I expect.
These paintings will be for sale in the end, but there is a lot of work to do before they are finished…. I know you like a bit of work in progress.
Oh, and I even have a few paintings of chaps as well, but not many as the un-wetsuited ones I know mostly swim at Clevedon and that’s rubbish for underwater photography!

Finished painting - photo 3

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

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

Winter Sun - watercolour and metal leaf by Nancy Farmer

Winter Sun

As the lake temperature plummets, it seems appropriate that I am adding this painting to the blog. This is one I finished a couple of months ago, back when a brisk swim in 3 degrees was a distant thing, but this is Row Clarke getting out of Clevedon Marine Lake last January, and it was indeed that cold, but gloriously sunny.

Everything that is not water is painted in watercolour (ironically) in a mix of pigments that looks like black but in fact is a transparent magenta, yellow and blue, which is more interesting for being not quite black and having subtle shades in it, and nicer to paint with. And all the water is done in a mix of aluminium, gold and palladium leaf. The first photo is taken with very flat lighting that shows the painting at its best overall, but a couple of images below this are snaps I took in different lighting, which show the effect of the metal leaf and the way the picture changes when half of it is metallic and half not.

Winter Sun - watercolour and metal leaf by Nancy Farmer

Winter Sun – Row emerging from Clevedon Marine Lake – watercolour and metal leaf by Nancy Farmer

Water done in metal leaf

Water done in metal leaf

Metal leaf - same picture, different lighting

Metal leaf – same picture, different lighting

source photo for Winter Sun

source photo for Winter Sun

Wednesday Swimmers

The Wednesday Swimmers

The finished painting.

The finished painting.

This is Sally, Wendy and Cecily (left to right), who often swim on a Wednesday morning at Vobster. I particularly like swimming with them when I get a chance: there is much mucking about, diving, somersaulting, comedy renditions of synchro swimming. Occasionally there is swimming too. It’s all very good material for art: Sally takes fabulous photos, I take snaps by the simple method of pointing the camera in the general direction of the subject while repeatedly pressing the shutter for as long as I can hold my breath, but they are exactly what I need for paintings afterwards.

This is watercolour with gold and palladium leaf, quite big: about 19 x 22 inches. I took photos of the work in progress and posted them as I did each stage on my facebook profile, a slightly unnerving experience as at the start I had a large number of comments that said ‘leave it as it is’ …no pressure not to mess it up then! Here is the full sequence.

I have prints of this painting in my Etsy shop: www.waterdrawnart.etsy.com, and at time of writing this painting is also for sale, though I’ve also earmarked it for an exhibition in Clevedon in October (more on that later…).

The photos

The photos

Sketches

Sketches

Pencil outlines and underpainting in Prussian blue

Pencil outlines and underpainting in Prussian blue

...Prussian Blue....

…Prussian Blue….

...more Prussian Blue...

…more Prussian Blue…

...you know what colour this is by now!

…you know what colour this is by now!

Lots of thin layers of very translucent yellow with a hint of red/magenta

Lots of thin layers of very translucent yellow with a hint of red/magenta

A little more colour, and the highlights put back in

A little more colour, and the highlights put back in by lifting off a little of the colour wash where light catches the skin and for the sunbeams through the water.

The finished painting.

The finished painting. This is a scan and a more faithful representation of the colours than the previous photos.

Detail of tiny fragments of gold leaf

Detail of tiny fragments of gold leaf

Close-up

Close-up

Details...

Details…

Finally, gold and palladium leaf fragments, lots of them.

The metal leaf fragments, catching the light.

Lisa - swimmer painting in watercolour by Nancy Farmer - detail

Lisa

Painting in watercolour, with bubbles in palladium and aluminium leaf. Another painting from a photo in the incomparable waters of Vobster Quay.

Lisa - swimmer painting in watercolour by Nancy Farmer

Lisa – swimmer painting in watercolour by Nancy Farmer

This painting is for sale at the time of posting this, and there will be prints available shortly.

 

The Angel of Grasmere

The Angel of Grasmere

The Angel of Grasmere

The Angel of Grasmere

This painting was from a photo I took of my friend Jackie in Grasmere in Cumbria, late last summer. Unlike the blue water of Vobster, where I’ve taken many many underwater photos, Grasmere has peaty brown-coloured water, but it was still quite clear, so that the sunlight that filtered through was golden, and the reflection of Jackie’s arms on the underside of the water spread out like two huge wings.

The painting is in watercolour on paper, with a lot of gold leaf on the ‘wings’. It’s about 29 x 12 inches and at the time of writing this it’s currently still available for sale.
I also have prints in my Etsy shop: http://www.waterdrawnart.etsy.com

Lucy

I usually swim with Lucy at Clevedon Marine Lake. A fantastic and free facility but the lake is topped up by the muddy brackish waters of the Bristol Channel on the highest of tides, and if you can see as far as your feet through the water it is a remarkable and rare event.

Lucy asked me to paint a painting of her swimming, so we went off to Vobster with my camera, and I took lots of snaps and this painting is the result. We were just about lucky with the weather – the sun deigned to shine between the November clouds for a few minutes, but the water is lovely and clear anyway, so it’s always good for photos.

This is painted in watercolour with fragments of aluminium leaf for the bubbles.

Lucy at Vobster

Lucy at Vobster

Close-up detail of painting