Tag Archives: gold leaf on paper

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

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

Reflections I in watercolour, gouache & gold leaf

Reflections I

New painting – 9 x 13 inches, in gouache / watercolour and gold leaf.

I’ve been largely avoiding the issue of reflections on the underside of the water surface for long enough, because they are so complex. This is the first of several where I’ve actually tackled them properly. I’m not trying to get a photographic likeness but aiming for something between that and just a few suggestive splodges of colour.

Reflections I in watercolour, gouache & gold leaf

Reflections I in watercolour, gouache & gold leaf

Close-up detail

Close-up detail

Close-up by camera (not scanner). The scanner shows up the detail of the paint very well, but not the gold leaf

Close-up by camera (not scanner). The scanner shows up the detail of the paint very well, but not the gold leaf

Hilary scan of painting

A painting commission

Commissioned portrait that I painted last week – an underwater swimmer – Hilary – with gold leaf fragments for bubbles. Unlike most of the swimming commissions so far, this is in paint, not a digital creation. The gold leaf doesn’t show up very well on the scanner, so I’ve photographed it as well, which catches the light on the gold better. The size is about 5.5 inches square.

Hilary close-up

Hilary close-up

Hilary scan of painting

Hilary scan of painting

Hilary photo of painting

Hilary photo of painting

Gold leaf, fragment by fragment...

Tiny paintings and tinier gold flakes

Watercolour and gold leaf on paper

Watercolour and gold leaf on paper

Feeling that there were some interesting developments in the last lot, I am continuing with mini paintings of swimmers, mostly incorporating metal leaf (Gold / Palladium or Aluminium). Here’s a quick work in progress… first shred your gold leaf (I used a pointy steel tool to hold the gold leaf down with, and shredded it with the tip of a scalpel.). Next, apply, fragment by tiny fragment, to the painting. Fortunately I have the sort of patience for this kind of thing. This is not the normal way gilding is done… by trial and error I’ve found what works well is picking up a gold fragment on the tip of a damp paint, applying the tiniest dab of dilute Gum Arabic to the paper, and then laying the fragment on the paper and smoothing it down with the damp brush. I’ve also found the easiest way to do this is to work with a brush in each hand. This tends to minimise the number of times that I either loose track of where I have put the glue as I take my eyes off it, or pick up the gold leaf with the gluey brush, not the just damp one. It also speeds up the process quite a bit.

Gold leaf, fragment by fragment...

Gold leaf, fragment by fragment…

Shredded gold leaf!

Shredded gold leaf!

More mini paintings

More mini paintings

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: