Tag Archives: swimmers

Ilminster Arts Centre poster

Prizewinners’ Exhibition at Ilminster Arts Centre 2nd – 19th Jan 2019

Some months back I entered a couple of paintings into Ilminster Arts Centre’s Open Exhibition, and was delighted to win the exhibition first prize. So I’m now also pleased also to be able to tell you that several of my swimmer paintings are back in the Arts Centre now  – they are part of the Prizewinners Exhibition – an exhibition of work from the several artists who won prizes at the Open Exhibition. And it so happens that Ilminster Arts Centre is my favourite place to have an exhibition in anyway – it’s a large airy hall, with a cafe and excellent cake at one end of the gallery. All run by very lovely people, and a lot of them volunteers. Pop in if you are nearby – here are the details:

Prizewinners’ Exhibition: 2nd – 19th January
At: Ilminster Arts Centre at the Meeting House, East Street, Ilminster, Somerset, TA19 0AN
Gallery Open: Mon-Fri 9.30am-4.30pm; Sat 9.30am-2.30pm.
Admission Free.
Please note the exhibition will close at 12noon on Sat 19 January

Ilminster Arts Centre poster

Ilminster Arts Centre poster

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.

It's still colder in Ullswater

Yes, it’s still colder in Ullswater….

You can try pausing to admire the beautiful morning, the misty view as the lake snakes its glimmering way up to Pooley Bridge at the other end, the tranquillity of the scene, the lovely unspoilt Cumbrian fells… sooner or later you are going to have to get  all the way in. And this is Ullswater, where it is always colder.

Drawing inspired by a swim when I was up there the week before last, at Glencoyne Bay with Francine, Rosie and Margaret. There may have been a little bit of squealing, but if there was, there was nobody else around to hear it.

It’s lovely once you’re in!

It's still colder in Ullswater

It’s still colder in Ullswater

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: