The Pigs of High Ham

Continuing my documentation of our local magical creatures, I bring you The Pigs of High Ham.

The sketches and explanations for these appeared three posts back in How Pigs Fly. Here is the finished painting, and I have broken away from the one colour at last! (The last 3 large paintings were entirely in Prussian Blue)

The Pigs of High Ham, painting in watercolour by Nancy Farmer
The Pigs of High Ham, painting in watercolour by Nancy Farmer
The Pigs of High Ham - detail 1
The Pigs of High Ham – detail 1
The Pigs of High Ham - detail 2
The Pigs of High Ham – detail 2
The Pigs of High Ham - detail 3
The Pigs of High Ham – detail 3

Having said that this painting is in colour, it isn’t in all that many colours. With the exception of the tiny bit of blue sky, I only used two more colours than the previous blue paintings. Here’s my palette:

Paint palette - colours
Paint palette – colours#

Here we have yellow, magenta and Prussian blue mixed up as thin washes of colour. Several colours for each one because it is much quicker if you pre mix a pale wash, a slightly darker one, and a darker one still. Then the painting was done by adding washes of the three colours, layer by layer until the picture was built up to what you see.

These three colours are very close to the three primary colours. The Prussian blue is rather darker and bluer than cyan, which would be the true primary blue colour, but it is perfect for adding weight because it is vary dark if used heavily. It’s not a very bright colour though, so I did break this three colour rule and use more of a true primary blue (cyan) for the tiny patch of sky.

Even the grey is not grey: these three colours can be mixed in a perfect balance so that the mixture is grey. For the pigs I didn’t mix the paint before putting it on the paper but for the sky I did – below is my pallet, in the process of mixing until I get an almost perfect grey, but the nice thing about using this mixture is that the pigments separate ever so slightly around the edges as the wash of paint dries, so that you see a hint of colour just appearing.

Paint palette - mixing grey
Paint palette – mixing grey

And those were the Pigs of High Ham. Though I am also tempted to call them The Storm Pigs.


  1. The pigs are perfect, Nancy. And thanks for sharing technique with us, good for me as a student artist 😉

    1. Thank you Wendy! The painting technique is really an extension of the way I paint the ‘blue underpainting’ – just the two other primary colours added in, mostly on top because getting in the dark and lights is good first before the colour:

  2. Mgon ♥

    Wow. It came out fantastic 😀

    1. Thanks Mgon! photos a bit less sharp than I would like, but still gives a fairly good impression….

  3. I love those pigs (and I am sure there must be some of them somewhere in the world!). Thanks for sharing your technique. It is always fascinating to see other artists at work.

  4. Lovely work and the techie stuff is brilliant. I am such a geek.

  5. […] blog posts on this painting, and you can also see a few technical details of how it is painted in this post on my […]

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