Hampstead Swimming Pond
My latest large scale painting is now finished, it's been a stop start time during lockdown but a constant has been able to go to the studio and paint. Having a large project such as a big painting gave me a real focus. Whilst demanding a lot of attention and many hours, which in lockdown is a great antidote, the routine has helped structure my days. This painting is the 2nd one following a theme of Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds and you can view it on your wall at home, see the end of this blog post.
I went to the Ladies Swimming Pond back in 2018 with a friend, it was a really hot summer and we were off to a private view where I was exhibiting nearby. It was our first time in a lake or pond and it was a little intimidating, not being able to see the bottom or have any sides to cling to. See the first Swimming Pond Painting
What impressed me was the calm, quiet happiness that everyone seemed to be exuding, gently swimming around and chatting to each other whilst the sun shone down on the water.
Hampstead Swimming Pond
For me lockdown has been a peaceful time, without the bustle and stress of day to day and the need of being together with groups of people. When we visited Hampstead Heath Ladies pond it was both busy but also quiet and peaceful seemed to be a lovely subject to paint.
I started painting Hampstead Pond at the beginning of January in a very cold studio, the studio is insulated but it needs to be warm first and I had under-estimated how cold it could get overnight so some days it was just too cold to stand and paint all day.
View Hampstead Swimming Pond Painting in more detail
The big group paintings that are emerging at the moment are my way of re-connecting and making sense of a world that now seems very separate. Bringing figures together either at a table or in outdoor situations seems to be important, simple things of conversations over wine or sitting with others can now be created in paint. The questions I ask when I am designing a new painting is what is the feeling? How will my figures interact in their space and what are they doing. This usually provides a strong framework to base a painting on.
The sketch here shows my initial thoughts for Hampstead Pond. It is done in paint on paper, sketchy but outlines the initial idea I had for the piece.
After sketching out my idea I then try to keep my mind open. This allows any new ideas coming in to flourish, at that point I am better prepared to adapt, change, move and revise areas before I start. There is a lot of imagination and investigation that goes on before paint is applied.
When everything starts to flow with paint the painting moves on initially quite quickly, but there is a lot of canvas to cover and the effort and hours put in are much greater than with smaller pieces. Just getting to a point where there is no more white can take a couple of weeks.
Painting light filled, summer scenes in the depth of winter was both comforting and strange, which I think is how I would sum up this year of lockdown. Also to be painting a swimming scene resonated with me as I took to sea swimming in the coldest month of February. The hit of cold water is amazing and quite addictive and immersion into the water has been my main form of “excitement” in what can be a very same day same situation scenario.
Hampstead Swimming Pond, Acrylic on Canvas, 100cm x 160cm - Free UK Delivery
Want to see how Hampstead Pond could look on your wall?
- This painting can be viewed at home using the Artplacer App then search for Jane Denman Artist and follow the instructions