About Me

'A Murder of Crows' - painting in gouache
‘A Murder of Crows’ – painting in gouache

Introduction:

My art is a confection of fantasy and reality, my compositions peopled with characters drawn from my observation of the everyday and the mundane, but coloured by my love of stories and fairytales. Amongst these characters you may find the attractive but suspiciously masked guests at ‘The Guilty Party’, enjoying an aperitif while they size up their fellow revellers. Then there are the generously proportioned and mellowing flower fairies, at the comfortingly mature ‘seed-pod’ stage in their lives. Borrowed from Mythology, Medusa is here, too: a femme fatale, perhaps, but also an ordinary girl given to bad hair days. In all these images, there is an element of fantasy, but also many references to everyday situations, and it is in this balance that I hope both to surprise and amuse you.

'Party Animals' - etching
‘Party Animals’ – etching

Background:

I studied jewellery design at Glasgow School of Art from 1989 to 1992, then at the Victoria and Albert museum I completed a masters Degree in Metalwork conservation from 1992 to 1995. Following this, I worked first as a Metals Conservator at the V&A, cleaning and conserving some of the historic objects there, then as a model maker and designer making master-patterns for jewellery out of carved wax, and then as a goldsmith, making jewellery out of platinum and gold.

This training and career has no-doubt strengthened my love of detail and meticulous work, as well as demanding a certain technical facility for drawing and fostering a certain interest in materials science and the longevity (or otherwise) of artists materials and techniques. However, as a painter I am largely self-taught: in about 1999 I took up painting as first a pastime, a passion and finally a full-time career, and being at this point without a teacher I had to discover for myself what could be done with the media of my choice.

I now work and live in Somerset and have put on several solo exhibitions in Somerset, Suffolk, London and Nottingham, as well as taking part in several group exhibitions and local art societies.

'Wine, Women and Cats' - etching
‘Wine, Women and Cats’ – etching

Media:

My paintings are completed in Gouache – a water-based painting medium similar to watercolour. Perhaps because I am self-taught, my treatment of gouache does not seem to me to be typical of the use of this medium, which I often see used rather heavily on the paper. Instead, I have developed various techniques for building up layers of paint, first with underpainting to create depth, then overlaying it with colour, and at certain points washing a lot of the paint off again in a way that leaves a translucent multi-layered stain on the surface of the paper that glows with more brilliance than any amount of thick paint would. I chose my pigments carefully for this, using only those which will both strongly stain the paper and which are most resistant to fading.

Having never quite left my jeweller’s roots behind, I occasionally add precious metal leaf to my paintings and drawings. This has been particularly effective when used with the monochrome of pencil drawings, but I am starting to add it to the paintings as well.

And last, but not least, I’ve also taken to making etching prints. This is a medium to which I find my rather illustrative style is very well suited, and it has the great advantage that I can offer original works of art at a fraction of the cost of that of my paintings, as well as using a refreshingly different range of techniques to my painted work. It also appeals to my technical mind, happy to be once more working with chemicals and pieces of metal, if only as a part of the whole process.

'Vis-à-vis' - painting in gouache and gold leaf
‘Vis-à-vis’ – painting in gouache and gold leaf
'Fairy Cakes II' - painting in gouache
‘Fairy Cakes II’ – painting in gouache

 

43 Comments

  1. Very glad to have found your blog x

    1. Thank you Lily 🙂 x

  2. Like. Lots. I’m chuffed pink to have found your blog. Yum.

    1. Thank you, you’re too kind! 🙂 When I have a little more time I shall go back and take a look at more of yours too…

  3. Is the original illustration with the bird masks for sale? or is there prints?

    1. Hi, do you mean this one: http://nancyfarmer.net/im_murder-of-crows.html ? Yes it is, but I am abut to take it to London next week where it will be for sale in an exhibition. If it doesn’t sell there it will be back home again in a couple of weeks or so. That link I gave you goes to a page on my website where you can also buy prints. If you’d like more info please email me at mail@nancyfarmer.net – That page has all the sale details. I can’t post prices here only because I may change something in the future and that could get confusing to have the wrong price displayed, but do email me if you’d like to know more. Thanks for your interest!

  4. lovelly blog, fun to follow. Just love ‘wine, women and cats’

    1. thank you, Sharon! 🙂

  5. I like your art!

    1. Thank you! I like yours too 🙂

  6. Your so clever with gouache! I love Fairy Cakes II! Gorgeous!

    1. Thank you 🙂 I have a thing about cakes… as a concept they are almost iconic, though they do not feature nearly as much as wine!

  7. Wow. I love your blog, your so talented!

    1. thank you savross!

  8. Ooh. I do like your art.

  9. Thanks for following me and alerting me to your work. Brilliant – I’m looking forward to discovering more! And you are from Somerset too – which area?

    1. Hi Kate, I’m in Moorlynch (or Moorlinch if you prefer) – kind of half-way between Bridgwater and Glastonbury off the A39. You’re in the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen, I see – we probably know people in common – maybe Ann Fagan is a member – I go to the same etching class with her, at Bron Bradshaw’s studio… Anyway, bet we know some of the same people somewhere!

      1. No, I don’t know Ann! I’m the other side of Wells near Shepton, so not far away! I also have work at Somerset Crafts in Westhay. Maybe we’ll meet one day. x

        1. I’m sure we will… small world and all that. Will look forward to it!

  10. I just started blogging and found yours. Reading some of the comments I realise we are kind of close too as I live in Weston-Super-Mare.

    1. Indeed! I am just down the road (ish). I’ll be interested to see your blog, will have a peek later, have people staying just now!

  11. Thanks Nancy. Your is a lot bigger than mine : ) So I will take time looking through it.

  12. Your work is quite remarkable,I will be following you!

    1. Thank you Ki 🙂

  13. Hello from a fellow Nancy! I found your blog through John Pinder’s blog – an I love it! Your work is wonderful so I think I will have to follow you right now… without sounding like a stalker, of course. :o)

    1. Hello Nancy! Thank you, and I have just been looking at your blog too. Lovely photos and landscapes there 🙂 Nice to meet you!

  14. […] killer is the beautiful and bold imaginary fairy by the name of Ricina, a clever creation by Nancy Farmer, an artist residing in the United […]

    1. Thank you! Have posted the article around 🙂

  15. accidentally found your pictures wondering about gold leaf for a picture i’m working on. I like them very much! masks and beasts and us and gold. Gold behind gives a kind of infinitely stretching full stop… don’t you think? I especially like your figure group compositions… I think they have some smashing conversational depth (!?). Thanks!

    1. Thank you! Yes, a bit of real gold leaf has an amazing effect, go for it!
      (…I like ‘conversational depth’!:) )

  16. I was interested to look at your blog. I know Gav from our schooldays at George Abbot.

    1. Hi Jonathan, thanks. George Abbot… that’s going back. I went there about 3 or so years back to help set up a retrospective exhibition for Paul Barter after he died (art teacher and then head of faculty there, don’t know if you knew him)… and the place has shrunk! It’s the same buildings but they seem tiny compared to how I remember them! All very odd and changed…

  17. Nice work. I see echoes of Hieronymus Bosch in some of your work — it’s great!

    1. Thank you again! Yes, I think the difference is that Hieronymous Bosch was actually serious!

  18. Wow! You’re very talented! I’ve just come from “Cat’s at the Bar” and am now following you! I look forward to perusing your posts! 🙂

    1. Thank you! 🙂

  19. Hello, found your blog through Swimming Ullswater. I hear you’re a wild cold water swimmer (like me) – always great to find more enthusiasts like us! Really look forward to seeing the swimming-themed exhibition you are planning. If you need a model for any of your swim-paintings let me know! Good luck anyway and I love your paintings. Best wishes, Iona.

    1. Hello Iona, have you been talking to my mother at all, who also has a blog on WordPress?! don’t recall saying I was doing a swimming pictures exhibition, though you are quite correct I am – in October. And yes I am – more cold than wild in the swimming department as we have just the one lovely clear quarry lake hereabouts, not spoilt for choice! Usually I make the swimming pictures up from memory, but if you’re ever down this way in Somerset come out for a swim…!

      1. No but I saw her comment on another blog which mentioned your upcoming exhibition and your swimming. Not sure if/when I’ll make it down to Somerset but we’ve had swimming-visitors here from Devon and Cornwall who have all invited us down, so maybe a swim-tour of the South of England would be a great adventure. What is the name of your mum’s blog?

        1. Ah, thought something like that, yes she showed me the other blog. Mum’s blog is here: https://annefarmer.wordpress.com/
          …and if you dodn’t see them, here are my swimming pics – they’re on my other blog: https://catoftheday.wordpress.com/category/events/swimming/
          you have better places to swim, but it’s still nice down here for a visit 😉

          1. Golly I LOVE these swimming pictures, especially Recovery Position and Swimming through December. They really capture what it’s like! Shall study these and will forward to an artist friend of mine too. I’ve just done a post on my blog called Fifty Swims of Grey! I’m so glad I found your blog(s). Love them.

            1. Thank you! and yes, I saw your fifty swims of grey – stunning photos. I did a single drawing called 50 shades of grey – it really was! We’ve been a bit luckier with the weather, though I can’t swim outside as often as you I think – the drive is too far for anywhere not a pondy river!

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