“Sally”

This is Sally, another painting in watercolour, gouache and gold leaf, a celebration of our lovely clear lake at Vobster Quay, where I swim once a week. The source material for this painting was an underwater photograph I took on our first swim of 2017. It was 2nd January. When the lake gets a bit warmer I hope to have a few more subjects not in wetsuits, but for the moment there are a hardcore few of us, though even we have mostly resorted to wearing gloves in these temperatures.

Sally at Vobster, in watercolour, gouache and gold leaf
Sally at Vobster, in watercolour, gouache and gold leaf
close-up detail
close-up detail

The highlights of the water at the top are created by scrubbing off some of the paint, but where I wanted very white patches I attacked the painting with a scalpel, to completely remove the paint – there is nothing quite as bright as the bare paper. Of course this made a bit of a mess…

Detail of gold leaf and white highlights in progress
Detail of gold leaf and white highlights in progress

So it then needed smoothing down again with a burnisher. You can’t burnish directly on the painting, but it works very effectively over glassine paper. Here’s my burnisher – it’s made of agate. Originally bought for burnishing gold leaf, but this is not very effective on paper. Pleased to find it is very good at smoothing scratched-up paper instead, this is a very recent discovery so I now expect to be attacking the paper a lot more.

Burnisher and glassine paper
Burnisher and glassine paper

This is a very magnified shot and still the paper is fairly sound looking again. The gold leaf was applied fragment-by-fragment, picked up on the tip of a paintbrush and stuck with the merest hint of gum Arabic, diluted with water.

White highlights after burnishing
White highlights after burnishing
Sally at Vobster
Sally at Vobster

6 Comments

  1. Bbbrrrrr, quite bonkers she says from the depths of her settee 😁

    1. Haha! like all swimmers say: ‘It’s lovely once you’re in’ …for a while anyway!

  2. Love these paintings! Thanks for the details on your process.

    1. Thank you πŸ™‚

  3. thank you. love the sparkly water…and I have a distinct bias for anyone called Sally!

    1. LOL! thanks πŸ™‚

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