"Stepping into Single Figures" - drawing by Nancy Farmer

Stepping into Single Figures… gingerly

(Brothers Water, Cumbria, 15/10/19)

To be fair, I was stepping far more gingerly than Susan and Francine: they with shoes, me with bare toes. They fairly strode into the Winter.

But it was the first swim of the season in single figures. The first of many since the temperature has plummeted this week. Take care out there my swimming friends: it should never be forgotten that you are doing this for fun!

(Apologies to Lucy for leaving her out of the drawing and yet stealing her hat! I used her photograph for reference, so she wasn’t in it, and I used her hat for artistic purposes, since mine was dark purple)

"Stepping into Single Figures" - drawing by Nancy Farmer

“Stepping into Single Figures” – drawing by Nancy Farmer

2020 calendar by Nancy Farmer

2020 Calendars are here!

2020 calendar by Nancy Farmer - front cover

2020 calendar by Nancy Farmer – front cover

To be honest, I’ve been selling calendars for next year for a couple of months on the quiet, but I don’t like to tell people too early that another year is ending, so they have mostly been bought by inquisitive souls who have asked or searched them out.

The clocks have gone back, the leaves are falling, I reckon I can tell everyone now: 2020 calendars are in my Etsy shop! To avoid disappointment don’t leave it till late December – I never ran out of this year’s calendars because of a printing company error – they printed too many and then somehow persuaded me to buy the surplus… However, that’s not the way it usually goes: I try to judge it so that I have nearly sold them all by the end of the year.

2020 calendar by Nancy Farmer - some of the images

2020 calendar by Nancy Farmer – some of the images

2020 calendar by Nancy Farmer

2020 calendar by Nancy Farmer

Emma's first swim in Derwentwater

“Come on Emma, just bloody well get in!” …said Emma

It was not warm in Derwentwater: not yet ‘Baltic’, but well into ‘quite nippy’. It was past sunset and Emma stood in the inky waters in bare feet on uncomfortable slippy rocks; she also had a dodgy shoulder and she was not in fact – not yet – a cold water swimmer.
She had got this far, she was already half wet and all cold. Getting out at this point was going to look like defeat, but she was going to need some persuasion.
So she gave herself a stern talking to. Strong words were delivered and after some minutes of entertaining expletives, she did as she told herself.
She got in.
…and she loved it. Briefly.
And two days later she did it again, with noticeably less swearing.

Emma's first swim in Derwentwater

Emma’s first swim in Derwentwater – digital drawing by Nancy Farmer

Swimming back to Cawsand

You watch, this lot will just get in and swim…

Swimming back to Cawsand

Swimming back to Cawsand

We had gathered on Cawsand beach and walked to Penlee Point – a lovely group of Kingsand & Cawsand swimmers – and Jim – had welcomed us few Somerset visitors: organized a gathering, a swim, boat cover, cake, pizza in the evening. There had been much faffing on the beach at Cawsand gathering everyone, meeting friends, meeting new people, talk of logistics: clothes, shoes and drybags. We took photos while we waited for everyone to arrive, some had stopped for pub lunch, I had not, having already stopped for cake. We even had a safety briefing – this was not our home waters.

We walked to the Point and picked our way down the cliff: around 15 people descending upon a dainty little micro-beach. There were two people already there, enjoying the peace and quiet. We must have blocked the view as we stood in front of them – there wasn’t anywhere else to stand – and I wondered if they were appalled at the thought that we might all join them in this tiny space.

“I’ve been summoning up the courage to go for a paddle for the last 15 minutes,” said one to the the other “and you watch: this lot will just get in and swim off.”
And we did. We had pre-faffed, and now we had cake and later pizza to swim back for.

Many thanks to everyone for a lovely day – Jim, Sue, Kate, Moi, the boat crew, and other people whose names I should remember but can’t! We hope to see some of you in Somerset sometime.

Budgie smugglers

Budgie smugglers – incorporating a photo of the text on the actual item in question!

I shall be back at Swim Serpentine 2019

Swim Serpentine, 22nd September 2018

Swim Serpentine, 22nd September 2018

I’m very happy to be able to tell you I will once again be in Hyde Park at the Swim Serpentine event, on Saturday 21st September. I am not swimming! I shall be part of the Swim Serpentine Festival. More on that in a bit, this is  just a quick post to tell you I will be there. You will be able to find me amongst the marquees and tents and things, with artwork – paintings, calendars, swimming hats and so on. I expect that the view will be a little different to last year, in that it will not involve a 20 metre high bright pink red and blue floating sculpture made of oil drums. Perfect opportunity for another drawing then… watch this space. In the meantime I thought I’d remind you of that particular scene. It drizzled most of the day, but nobody’s enthusiasm was dampened.

You can still register to swim until 5th September, so if you want to, be quick!
https://www.swimserpentine.co.uk/

Digital Drawing by Nancy Farmer: "A Lake That Was Wetter Than Usual"

A Lake That Was Wetter Than Usual

To get to Clevedon I drive North on the M5, Lucy drives South, which can sometimes give one or other of us the uncanny ability to predict the immanent arrival of Weather. Lucy wonders if she should take her dryrobe. I already have mine on, the sudden biblical shower-burst south of Clevedon having only barely stopped short of raining frogs.
Like the pros we are, we naturally proceed to stand there doing nothing but talking, catching up on the last fortnight until it is well and truly coming down in buckets. We spend some time admiring the transformation of our surroundings from distinct regions of concrete and lake to a single uniform surface of hammered water.
And then we decide to change.
Lucy demonstrates the orthodox use of the Dryrobe, while I go for the more freestyle method of holding on with face and elbows. The Dryrobe is a fine thing in so many ways, but I can never be bothered with the actual zip.
It goes without saying it was lovely once we were in; I shall say it anyway.

Digital Drawing by Nancy Farmer: "A Lake That Was Wetter Than Usual"

Digital Drawing by Nancy Farmer: “A Lake That Was Wetter Than Usual”

'Floating' - painting in watercolour with gold leaf detail

New painting: “Floating”

'Floating' - painting in watercolour with gold leaf detail

‘Floating’ – painting in watercolour with gold leaf detail

I managed to finish an actual bigish painting (20.5 x 14.5 inches), which is a rarity at the moment. This is ‘Floating’ in watercolour with touches of gold leaf. Currently unsold and prints available in my Etsy Shop.
I thought you might like to see some step-by-step photos, so I’ve posted some below…

But first, some close-up details of the painting:

And the step-by-step photos – the colours aren’t consistent (notice the  changes in colour of the brown tape around the edge… which did not in fact change colour…), unfortunately my camera tries to correct the colour depending on what it sees, and there’s also different colour light depending on the time of day, but I hope it will give you a bit of an idea of the processes that went into creating this painting.