Author Archives: Nancy Farmer

About Nancy Farmer

Self-employed artist & year-round outdoor swimmer

The Henley Mile

The Henley Mile

Inspired by the swims at the Henley Swim Festival 2019

This is a rare drawing for me – a swimming drawing about a swim that I didn’t do. But I was actually there all the same. For three years in a row now, I’ve had an artwork stand at this marvellous festival of swimming, so it seemed about time I recreated it as a piece of art. The landmark is of course the temple on Temple Island, silently witnessing the events of the day, as it has done for close on 250 years.

There were wave after wave of different swimmers throughout the day, and I have arranged them as if time has been collapsed to a few minutes – the blue wave at the front, who went off first thing in the morning, the reds at the back who swam in the last wave, gold hats sprinkled through them. Gold hats swam four times.

I have left out the last 3 waves – there were two club waves, and there was the very last wave: the duck wave. Maybe none of the swimmers noticed this one, it went off as all the exhibitors were packing up. Maybe only I noticed it, because, unannounced and un-cheered, but not unappreciated, a wave of ducks came down the river, the water finally theirs once more.

Prints are now in my shop: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/WaterDrawnArt

The Henley Mile

The Henley Mile
(digital drawing)

The Henley mile - first sketch

The Henley mile – first sketch

The real training plan!

The Training Plan

This drawing is out of season, sorry, it should have appeared in November!
I am currently compiling next year’s calendar (add yourself to my email list – link in the menu – if you want to be amongst the first to know when it’s ready)… and I found that this one from last year had never got onto my blog. So, I’m adding it now, having just spent some tedious minutes scrolling through a lot of Facebook to find the text I wrote for it…

“The Training Plan”
The temperature is dropping, triathletes have retreated to the indoor pool to keep up their training, but some have notched up the effort and refuse to go indoors, wacking out training routines in rapidly cooling water. Welcome to the winter swimming season, when all normal human behaviour is turned on its head, and people who swim for fun all summer get competitive under conditions that would make professionals shudder.
To be fair, Lucy is competing against herself and nobody else, but with awesome dedication. Under these conditions a training plan typed neatly and laminated and propped up at the end of the pool isn’t going to cut it. The pool is a lake, the water is about 5 degrees and she ain’t faffing!
(at least, no more than is strictly necessary…..)

The Training Plan

The Training Plan

The text used in this drawing was Lucy’s actual training plan, extracted from a photo of her arm!

The real training plan!

The real training plan!

Mini Swimmers

I painted a few more of my occasional ‘Mini Swimmers’ lately, here is a selection of them. Several of these have sold but some are still available under Paintings in the shop. The diving ones were especially quick to sell and I’ve had requests for more, so I will paint more when get the time. If you’d like to be amongst the first to know another time, click on the link in the website menu to add yourself to the emailing list.

Mini Swimmers 2019 –  in watercolour and gold leaf, all 4 inches square:

I shall be at Henley Swim Festival, Sunday 14th July 2019

Henley Swim Festival

Outdoor Swimmer Henley Swim Festival, incorporating the Henley Mile, is next Sunday…

Once more I’ll be looking forward to seeing a few of you! I’ll be there with artwork, hats, cards, camera and sketchbook, because not only will I have things to buy, I’ve also promised Outdoor Swimmer Magazine that I’ll do a drawing of the event afterwards. It always helps to tell someone – it means I’ll actually do it! So if you are there do  come and see me…. and if you can’t find me for a while, my apologies in advance: At some point I shall have to go out and gather photographs and an impression of the swimmers for artwork later on, but I’ll be there all day.

For the full information on the event visit the Henley Swim website. Feeling tempted? it looks like you still have time to register for the event.

Hats are back in!

Just a quick post to say that I have more swimming hats in my Etsy shop again. Sea Monsters, one of the Mermaid designs, and Clevedon Pier. I’d planned to have a new design by now but people kept asking for these, so I got more printed. Something new will be along in a while, I have plans…

Swim Hats by Nancy Farmer

Swim Hats by Nancy Farmer

We hear it’s still cold in Ullswater

We got to Ullswater on Saturday morning, in the wind and rain. Rosie and Francine were already swimming, right out across Glencoyne bay, nearly invisible to the naked eye if they hadn’t had tow-floats as well. They were not, however, invisible to the naked ear, swimming as they were at a steady rate of about 100 words a minute. As they came back they passed by the spot where Glencoyne Beck lets into the lake, its cool waters running straight down from the fells, and though it may be June now we could hear quite clearly: it’s still quite cold in Ullswater.

We hear it’s still cold in Ullswater

Summer’s here: the Tri Season has begun!

Summer’s here: the Tri Season has begun!

(with apologies to triathlon friends and Richard!)

“I thought that was you”, Richard Smith said to me on Thursday afterwards.
…there was careful cold water acclimatization going on, triathletes emerging from their winter hibernation, technical discussions, comparison of wetsuits and swim trackers… “I saw this person in a bikini barge* through with an attitude of “…just going for a swim…” ”
(he did say barge, but I think he meant it in a good way, I did not actually elbow anyone off the ramp)

I’ve seen triathletes swimming: some of them don’t seem to like the water very much, they like to have a fight with it. And they do like wetsuits or their legs sink, with all that bike riding and running about: too much muscle, not enough fat!
But whatever you have to do that gets you in the water: and they are getting in the water now. They nearly all overtook me, of course, but I don’t care, I’ve got all year, they’ve only got a few months!

And apologies also to Vobster: it’s definitely not all triathlon swimmers, as it sometimes has a reputation for being: there is a dedicated bunch of year-round swimmers, both skins and neoprened, and it’s the best water in Somerset! …come and join us: https://www.facebook.com/groups/988659817829090/

Teeny Weeny Swimmers

I am painting teeny weeny swimmers!
These are more 4 inch square ‘Mini Swimmers’. The mini swimmers all started when Glastonbury Galleries put on an ‘Anonymous Art’ show two years ago, where they asked lots of artists to create 4 inch square artworks, and sold them all framed the same size and unsigned. I did paintings in watercolour and gold leaf. These ones are not the actual paintings I’m putting in this year’s exhibition, I’ve done something slightly different… though you will all probably guess which mine are in any case I expect.
These paintings will be for sale in the end, but there is a lot of work to do before they are finished…. I know you like a bit of work in progress.
Oh, and I even have a few paintings of chaps as well, but not many as the un-wetsuited ones I know mostly swim at Clevedon and that’s rubbish for underwater photography!

The Ponds film, talks & artwork at the Curzon Clevedon

Sunday 12th May, 7pm

The Curzon – Clevedon’s community cinema – opens its doors again for a second swimming-themed evening. I cannot put it better than the text from their own website – below – though I was tempted to use Emma’s write-up instead, which describes my hats as ‘legendary’.

This evening is expected to sell out, so make sure you book if you want to come.

“In the second of our popular open water swimming events, on Sunday May the 12th we combine a screening of The Ponds with an exhibition of early 20th century photographs of the very pools that this charming film depicts. Before and after the film we have talks from Emma Pusill and John Myatt, two engaging local open water swimmers with quite different stories to tell.

In ‘Travels with My Towel’, Emma will take you on a tour of some of the pools she visited when researching her recently completed book. The Lido Guide (featuring Clevedon Marine Lake), is a practical, beautiful and inspiring guide to the open air pools of the UK & Channel Islands.

In the second talk, in his inimitable style, John Myatt discusses swimming 1km in zero degree water, unconventional Russian recovery techniques, and how the right mind-set led him to his rightful place on the podium at the World Ice Swimming Championships in Murmansk this year.

Nancy Farmer will be selling her exquisite swimming caps, calendars and other works of wet art, and the bar (which sells cake, naturally), will be open before, during and after the event.
Water belongs outdoors!

This event is part of our Curzon Roof Festival, a series of events with the aim of raising funds to repair our leaky roof and save this wonderful cinema.

The Ponds is a film about the brilliant community of outdoor swimming. In a world of constant flux and chaos, it’s almost a shock to discover some experiences remain natural, unhurried and unchanged. In the middle of metropolitan London lies Hampstead Heath, 320 hectares of forest, parkland, wildlife plus three swimming ponds. People swim in them all year round, whatever the weather, just as they did in the time of Keats and Constable, and our cameras filmed them over 12 months as they swam, laughed, sang, complained, ruminated, philosophised and simply sought respite from all that life threw at them.”

 

Prof Wolf’s Evening of Medicine, Music & Channel Swimming

Join us for a fantastic evening of talk, Q&A, live music, and cake!

Sunday 19th May 7.30pm
Cossham Hall, Chapel Street, Thornbury, BS35 2BJ

Professor Andy Wolf recently retired from a career in medicine and proudly became the oldest
man to solo swim the English Channel in 2018 whilst raising funds for revolutionary 3D printing
technology for children’s cardiac surgery at the Bristol Children’s Hospital.

In his fascinating talk Prof Wolf will take us through the trials and tribulations of the training and competition of his Channel swimming exploits.

We will also be treated to explanations about the revolutionary 3D printing technology that Prof
Wolf is helping to fund-raise for and develop which is enabling surgeons at the Bristol Children’s
Hospital to print exact models of patient’s hearts so that they can plan and practice complex
surgeries. The 3D printing will also allow surgeons to bio-print using stem-cells, meaning that
the implanted organ grows with the child and never needs replacing.

Prof Wolf’s talk will be interspersed with live music on a watery theme from local musicians and
the opportunity to enjoy some lovely homemade cakes followed by Q&A

Tickets £6.50, available here.
(school age children go free)