Sunday, 15 December 2013

Of Strumpets, Demons and Crows - The Work of Nancy Farmer

Combining fantasy and satire with a wicked dash of erotica, Nancy Farmer brews a heady mix. Humour is always near to hand poking fun at the dark edge that runs like a spine from which her art hangs. The erotic content is irresistible but played down with a generous helping of the wry and just a slight touch of whimsy.

What I especially like about Nancy's art is the way she sets a story neatly into each picture. What you see is often in need of revisiting. There is a narrative which invites you to study her work with close scrutiny for there is always something first unseen that reveals itself later.

Nancy Farmer - photo of the artist

The word I used earlier, wicked, is very much the one that best sums-up Nancy Farmer's art.  
There is a rich vein of wickedness running through her work that deserves that appellation. Dark at times, sexy as sin but always aware of the ludicrous, the daft and the plain funny. You need a bit of sauce in life to relieve the drab monotony that often plagues us and Nancy's work does that. Her wit is razor sharp and delivered without the use of words but depicted in the body language and facial expressions of her characters. The painting below, 'The Frog Gimp,' shows precisely what I mean. The King rages, his hands gripped into fists, the Queen holds her hands to her face in horror; the Princess (in a neat range of green stockings with the suspender slipping into view) puts a finger to her lips as she engages the viewer involving them in her game; the Grand Vizier throws his hands up in shook whilst the nobleman looks slightly disconcerted.


The Frog Gimp

"A Slight Misunderstanding" shows a group of men who, one presumes, have thought they ordered a stripper, got their details wrong, and are faced with a whip bearing dominatrix wearing an erect phallus. Their collective error is obvious by their faces all of which look both mortified and terrified. 'Bend over boys and beg.' It is saucy, naughty and playful but without any dubious undertones.

painting: erotic humour by Nancy Farmer

Much of what Nancy does seems the stuff of postcards, greetings cards and calendars and this much is true for she does enter those markets. But there is more to her work than that. I tend to think of her as a modern day, younger, slightly darker version of the ever brilliant Beryl Cook. A greater compliment I cannot conceive. For me, though, the one thing I always like, always enjoy the most is the sketches of any artist. It shows, a glimpse only perhaps, how they structure their work, how they compose it and all seen in grainy black and white.Maybe it is my long love of the comic book medium that draws me to this but I find it particularly interesting.

Illustration for Murky Depths: 'Growing Roses on Europa'

Nancy was born in Guildford, Surrey in 1970. Yep, that thirty-something looking lovely is, in fact, forty-three. And before you, all shout "GET OUTTA HERE!" I swear it is true. Here is more detail on the lass now living on a farm in Somerset...


"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."


.For further detail simply follow the link - http://www.nancyfarmer.net/
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Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers and tickles his fancy with a feathered stick.

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