Tag Archives: aluminium leaf

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

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

Mini Swimmer 5 in gouache and aluminium leaf

Mini Paintings for Sale

I’ve put all of the available mini swimmer paintings up for sale n my Etsy shop – this is my new shop for all swimming-related things:  www.waterdrawnart.etsy.com

Three have gone to an exhibition, two have been sold, the rest are all there for you to browse should you wish. Here are a few I haven’t posted on this blog yet. Most of them are 4 inches square – a size that I found challenging before I painted all these: I’ve had a bit of practice now. The last ones three are about 5.5 inches square. And most of them have shimmery bits of metal leaf on them – gold, palladium or aluminium, which gives the ‘bubbles’ an extra dimension.

Mini Swimmer 5 in gouache and aluminium leaf

Mini Swimmer 5 in gouache and aluminium leaf

Mini Swimmer 25 in gouache

Mini Swimmer 25 in gouache

Mini Swimmer 22 in gouache

Mini Swimmer 22 in gouache

Mini Swimmer 17 in gouache and gold leaf

Mini Swimmer 17 in gouache and gold leaf

Mini Swimmer 16 in gouache and gold leaf

Mini Swimmer 16 in gouache and gold leaf

Mini Swimmer 9 in gouache and gold leaf

Mini Swimmer 9 in gouache and gold leaf

Mini Swimmer 27 in gouache and gold leaf

Mini Swimmer 27 in gouache and gold leaf

Mini Paintings

Finished pics to come soon…

I have been working on A LOT some small paintings at once – for me – considering I usually have only one painting at a time on the go. This is partly because I am painting small scale for a particular exhibition, and partly because I thought it would be an opportunity to experiment a bit more – swimmers in actual paint is a new thing for me, and the addition of metal leaf is something I have been trying to find a place for in my recent paintings as well, so it was a chance to try out several variations and see where it went without being too intimidated by a massive investment of time if I messed it all up.

The size is about 4 inches square. The media are gouache, watercolour, metal leaf in gold, palladium and aluminium, and occasionally attacking the paintwork with a scalpel, which is always fun.

So here are a few work-in-progress photos. Better photos of each painting (or at least the ones I like best) to come later. This is a size that I find slightly challenging but I’ve had so much fun with this lot I may do another few. Perhaps some above water. And I think I probably learned some stuff. So, with few explanations, sorry, here are the photos:

Two point five degrees

Two Point Five Degrees

Two point five degrees

Two point five degrees: gouache, watercolour, aluminium, gold and palladium leaf, mica powder

Not as flattering as my last paintings of swimmers, but I was trying to convey the feeling of the water, bright and icy. The photograph that I used for reference in this painting was taken on a day when the water was indeed 2.5°C. I’ve left the painting a little unfinished compared to what I would usually do – the patchiness of her pink skin, the remains of white paint around the edges that was actually a mask of white paint protecting the figure while I added the grey, all added to the feeling of rawness, so I left it like that.

The piece is particularly difficult to photograph: what shows up as dark grey on a scanner is actually aluminium leaf (and a few shreds of gold and palladium leaf), and it catches the light. The grey paint also has mica powder added to it which gives it a lustre. Photographed at an angle – below – you can see the shine off the aluminium. I’ve also inexpertly taken a film clip of the light catching it.

Having once been a goldsmith, I have to admit to a certain metals snobbery. Though aluminium was briefly – about the time of Napoleon – the latest big thing, it now seems something like sacrilege to use gold and aluminium leaf together. And it handles differently – it’s much thicker, so that you can actually pick it up with fingers, but it needs more stickiness to attach it to the paper. Gold sticks with the tiniest hint of stickiness, and brushes away where it’s not wanted. Aluminium tends to shred and pull off in pieces where it was supposed to be stuck. Which is how I came to be filling in the gaps with gold leaf, though I quite like this effect. But I could still get to like the aluminium leaf, it is very much shinier than palladium or white gold, and white gold would eventually tarnish, and it doesn’t cost a fortune to use this much.

Another close-up

Another close-up

photo taken at an angle to catch the light

photo taken at an angle to catch the light

Two point five degrees - close-up

Two point five degrees – close-up