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!
Mini swimmers – work in progress – the first layers of watercolour
I like swimming on Wednesday at Vobster, though I hardly ever get to go. There is much mucking about in the water. Here is something I am working on from some photos I took on a Wesnesday recently. It started off with me liking something about the arrangement of the two figures in this one photo, though as an actual photo it’s not one of the best.
The sketch is actually three sketches, scanned and and arranged till I think they work together. Getting the underlying drawing right is absolutely the most important thing with most of what I do so there has been much thinking and faffing already. Don’t hold your breath with this one… I have other work I should be doing now….
It’s not often people ask me for artwork they are going to wear for the rest of their lives, so I am delighted to show you this little lady which I designed for Emma Cummings. It was a piece of work which I did last year. The brief was that she liked a line drawing, but also a watercolour-type loose colouring, so I combined the two, refining the line drawing and leaving the colour as a more random effect. Here’s the final effect, which may or may not have more colour added later. Besides, she seems an appropriate colour for an outdoor swimmer this time of year anyway! (even though, as we know well, we actually go bright pink, not blue…)
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
Close-up by camera (not scanner). The scanner shows up the detail of the paint very well, but not the gold leaf
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.
Study for a painting that I think I might do – the expression taken from a photograph I took a couple of months ago, when yes, indeed, the marine lake temperature had dropped to 2.5 degrees. The expression says it all, but it really only makes it worse, putting off that moment of immersion. Best not to think, ignore the mind!
The water outside is getting colder. Not to cold to swim – that would be ridiculous – but maybe nearly too cold to get a proper amount of exercise in; maybe the swimming I do as muscles get cold is a bit rubbish too. So on Monday I visited the fishtank. Simply having fun swimming around lakes has done nothing for my speed, apparently. This picture is what I felt like attempting to do a kilometre in 19 minutes. Last winter I could do this in 18 minutes. The first time, I managed it, the second time a little slow, the third time… was only a half kilometre and it nearly killed me. But today I was back in the fishtank, and I can report a small increase in speed and a significant decrease in the feeling like it’s going to kill me score. But the water is far too hot in there.
I would add that I am not trying to get faster: I have given that up some time ago. But I don’t like to get slower either. I would also like to add that of course I shall be swimming outside as well, but it’s a different sort of activity in the winter: less exercise, more survival, more cake. And there will be pictures.