"How to Stay Dry" ...on Clevedon Beach - sketch by Nancy Farmer

How to Stay Dry on Clevedon Beach

"How to Stay Dry" ...on Clevedon Beach - sketch by Nancy Farmer

“How to Stay Dry” …on Clevedon Beach – sketch by Nancy Farmer

It was a little breezy down at Clevedon Beach this morning. Not as bad as it had been yesterday: a couple of floating trees, a bent iron bar on the beach and multiple heaps of seaweed up on the road above the sea wall bore witness to the weekend weather, but still, the water had that washing machine look to it. And it was a chill wind.
So as well as my cossie I also brought my sketchbook. I had a cold which came back for an encore, and wanting to discourage it from a second curtain call, I still managed to feel that the journey up the M5 was worth it by drawing everyone else getting in instead. There may have been just a little shrieking…
Of course the company, coffee and cake was worth the journey on its own. Especially the company, and being nice and dry and able to enjoy watching the shrieking!

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Drawing in Action! – photo by Row Clarke

Lake Mural by Nancy Farmer

Nature catching up with Art!

Lake Mural by Nancy Farmer

Lake Mural by Nancy Farmer. Photo Joanna Richardson

This isn’t new artwork I just wanted to post this photo, courtesy of Joanna Richardson. This is a panel I designed for Marlens (the charity which maintains the Marine Lake at Clevedon), one of three printed onto tiles and installed at the lake. Usually it’s not underwater, but on Friday it was a very, very high tide. And below is me on a different day, next to it, just for reference!

Me and the Mural!

Me and the Mural! Photo Mary Stanley-duke  (I think!)

The difference between Girls and Boys

The difference between Girls & Boys

I’m an artist: I’m not obliged to be politically correct, or even accurate, but there is a difference between girls and boys when it comes to cold water swimming. There is one thing that girls are so much better at. Faffing.

People ask me why there aren’t many pictures of men in my paintings, there aren’t actually many of the male persuasion in our group, it is true, but another of the reasons for it is they simply aren’t there. We’ve no sooner arrived at our lake, said hello, caught up on the week, the weather, measured the temperature of the water, discussed the possibility of wearing gloves or not wearing gloves, admired a new bobble hat or two, a bikini, somebody’s homemade cake, repeated the water temperature to newcomers, compared the readings on a couple of auxiliary thermometers, discussed the water temperature with those leaving the vicinity and shared a couple of hilarious stories about pants…. and we look up and find that the boys have just got in and started swimming! There they are, half way to the other side of the lake. And we have so far succeeded in removing our bobble hats and locating our cossies. If we are organized.

So now you know. One thing boys aren’t very good at.

This is  Chris on the steps and Andy, already swimming. Andy was last year’s oldest person to swim the English Channel, solo, and he probably didn’t stop to swap stories about pants even then.

The difference between Girls and Boys

The difference between Girls and Boys

Finished painting - photo 3

Commission: Helen Betley’s Windermere swim, with a lot of gold leaf

Thought you might like to see a painting I finished before Christmas. Last year, Helen Betley swam the length of Windermere… butterfly! Her husband asked if I could paint a painting of the swim. I don’t generally do landscape paintings, (as actual paintings, rather than digital drawings) but I do do a lot of figure drawings, and gold leaf, so I suggested this combination as a bold composition, rather than a straight painting of someone swimming. All the leaf is gold, the different colours are different alloys of gold, and it’s all applied piece by piece, with a paintbrush as it’s too delicate to pick up. The rest is pencil and a watercolour wash, and the little folly is really there on the shore of Windermere, but I added the inscription in my drawing, as a detail to commemorate the swim.

All the photographs are of the same painting – the gold leaf changes so much with different light you may think there is more than one version.

Finished painting - photo 1

Finished painting – photo 1

Finished painting - photo 2

Finished painting – photo 2

One of the photos I worked from

One of the photos I worked from

Photo elements re-arranged

Photo elements re-arranged

Sketch for painting

Sketch for painting

Detail of painting - Helen with hat details

Detail of painting – Helen with hat details

Detail of painting - Helen

Detail of painting – Helen

Detail of painting - The folly with swim details

Detail of painting – The Folly, with swim details

Finished painting - photo 3

Finished painting – photo 3

Finished painting - photo 3

Finished painting – photo 4

Bude Sea Pool in the Summer - Digital drawing by Nancy Farmer

An Unseasonal Bude

I’m not sure how it happened but this picture never made it onto my blog. It’s been on my Facebook page, because I donated it to the Friends of Bude Sea Pool to sell as prints (and also perhaps cards, t-shirts or whatever they want to use it for)… but somehow in the excitement it missed the blog.

If you’d like a print, which are lovely gallery-quality prints like my others, it is available from the Friends of Bude Sea Pool website: https://www.budeseapool.org/shop/ and available from the shop in the Summerleaze Car Park. Prints: £25, £35, £60 for print alone, mounted, or framed respectively.

So if you are longing for a glimpse of summer, this is the print for you!

Bude Sea Pool in the Summer - Digital drawing by Nancy Farmer

Bude Sea Pool in the Summer – Digital drawing by Nancy Farmer

….the text is from this year’s calendar:

“Bude Sea Pool”
With the temperature in the high twenties and no air con in the car, Lucy and I drive down to Bude to visit the Sea Pool there. It’s a year in which we actually seem to be having Summer, and of course it’s too hot, because this is England, we are not used to this sort of weather and we weren’t expecting it.
Now we can watch the antics and faffing of the great British Public, who haven’t had the opportunity to practice their waterside faffing skills since last summer. Some jump straight in it’s so hot. But we are pros at this: there is much talking, there are local swimmers to meet, there is the history of the rescuing of Bude Sea Pool from threatened demolition: it takes us nearly an hour to get into the water. It’s so, so lovely once you’re in!

Polar Bear Plunge! 2019 at Bude Sea Pool

Welcome to the Silly Season

In truth the Silly Season has been going on since about December if you are a cold water swimmer. If you are not, you may well have considered it to be silly to swim outside since September, if not earlier. The actual swimming, however, is not the silly part. Welcome to the season of Winter Events, where wetsuits are often banned, but chicken costumes considered perfectly appropriate attire.
This is the Polar Bear Plunge! 2019, at Bude Sea Pool

Polar Bear Plunge! 2019 at Bude Sea Pool

Polar Bear Plunge! 2019 at Bude Sea Pool

(note: this is all one pic – since they updated the software and I updated the hardware I seem to have a load more pixels to play with, so I thought you might like to see some close-ups since I spent ages putting all this in….)

Close-up detail 1

Close-up detail – the chickens and the tiger

Close-up detail 2

Close-up detail – medals for everyone!

Close-up detail 3

Close-up detail – Lucy, Neptune and the unimpressed dog.

"How to get into a River" - digital drawing by Nancy Farmer

How to get into a River

"How to get into a River" - digital drawing by Nancy Farmer

“How to get into a River” – digital drawing by Nancy Farmer

*sploosh*
“oops… drops off suddenly here!”

…repeat until everyone is merrily splashing about in the river. In January. As you do.
And, before someone points it out: the trick of course is not in the getting in but in the making sure you have done so at a point where you can also get out again, because it would be a shame to miss the cake…

On Sunday the South West Seals swam with the Wiltshire Wild Swimmers at Tellisford Weir. I have somehow omitted the weir so there may be another drawing if I can find the time. Thank you Wiltshire Swimmers, it was a fabulous away day for the SW Seals and you are very welcome for a re-match on our home ground. Speaking personally: a gentle 10 minutes of swimming was followed by about 6 pieces of cake. We may need to get into some serious training for the re-match!
(I should add that they also cooked hot dogs on a fire, I’m just more a cake person and there’s only so much a girl can eat: one of everything was not physically possible…)

Row Clarke is centre stage here: her fabulous Deakin & Blue cossie teamed with an equally fabulous retro flowery swimming cap.