This is Sally at Vobster, where the water is clear especially in the winter, which this was. For this painting I used a photograph that I took on our first swim there of 2017, on 2nd of January. Some of us hardy swimmers do without wetsuits all year round, though we are occasionally seen with gloves and socks when it gets proper cold.
This is painted in watercolour and gouache, with many fragments of gold leaf added, one by one, for light and bubbles in the water.
The white highlights on the surface of the water I wanted really bright, and to achieve this I attacked the surface of the paper with a scalpel – nothing is quite as bright as white paper, certainly not white paint. So I scratched up the surface – some scratches are very tiny but for others the paper was a mess by the time I had finished, however I have found that you can smooth it down again by burnishing with a burnisher over glassine paper. I have these items for the purpose of burnishing gold leaf, but I find it diesn’t really make much difference burnishing gold on paper – the paper is too soft, or the gold size is, however it works a treat on scuffed-up paper. The photos below show the paper at its worst (I did tidy a few scraps off before burnishing), and the burnisher and piece of glassine, and the finished result.