Category Archives: Events

White Horses in the Bristol Channel, said Radio 3

White Horses in the Bristol Channel, said Radio 3

White Horses in the Bristol Channel, said Radio 3

White Horses in the Bristol Channel, said Radio 3 – pencil drawing with digitally added colour

Friday. The morning, following so many beautiful dawns this week, dawned wet and windy. However, driving up the M5 to Clevedon I was still surprised to be informed by Radio 3 that there were white horses in the Bristol Channel*. This oldly specific announcement, out of character for a for a national radio station whose main qualities are its eighteenth century selections and lack of current affairs, was disconcerting. This wasn’t even a news bulletin, merely a comment about the state of the Bristol Channel. They explained, as if this explained anything, that they were watching the web cam at Watchet. Then they played Beethoven.

So it was in a slightly surreal and thoughtful mood that I stood taking photographs on the sea front. There were indeed (modest) white horses, there was also a spring tide and much splooshing of water up onto the walkway below the sea wall. And I was the only one there. I even wondered, if I continued to be the only one there, would I go in anyway?

This is Clevedon. There has to be more than little white horses to deter everybody. I pattered along to the big cave and found two of the regulars eyeing the sea speculatively. In the end we were four, and of course we swam. And as the sun rose above Clevedon Hill – in the instant that my camera battery died – and despite the dire warnings of Radio 3, it turned out lovely!

*White horses: I had to explain this to a friend, so in case anyone else is confused – the white caps on the top of waves. Other than actually breaking on the shore I think this begins to happen (sailing friends will correct me) at about a force 5 wind.

If you like my drawings you might like to know that I now have calendars for 2019 for sale in my etsy shop: www.waterdrawnart.etsy.com.

Clevedon Pier: now you see it, now you don't

Clevedon Pier: now you see it, now you don’t

Nancy Farmer 2019 Swimming calendar

2019 calendars are here!

Nancy Farmer 2019 Swimming calendar

Nancy Farmer 2019 Swimming calendar

“Getting into Cold Water”
a calendar for 2019 with illustrations by Nancy Farmer

I wanted to let you know that I have 2019 calendars for sale. In truth I’ve been waiting patiently for a while to tell you this, so you may have seen that I have snuck them up in my etsy shop some while ago… But I always think that people don’t want to be reminded that the year is ending too early. So I hope you’ve had a good year so far, and there is still plenty of it to go. The water is getting colder though, at least where I live, so you may appreciate a glimpse of the new, appropriately named calendar.
you can buy them here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/waterdrawnart
As usual it features 12 new drawings which I’ve done over the course of the past year, with appropriate captions of course. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed drawing the pictures!

2019 Calendar - a few pages

2019 Calendar – a few pages

Swim Serpentine, 22nd September 2018

Swim Serpentine, 22nd September, 2018

…or, how to draw an elephant in the room without making a fuss.

It loomed: vastly, hugely, enormously: The 20 metre high,   monster sculpture of 7000+ barrels, painted bright pink, red and blue, (in case a 20 metre high floating sculpture wasn’t already sufficiently visible already in the middle of the Serpentine). The work of artist Christo was precisely what I had not come here to depict.

The Swim Serpentine event was a lovely bunch of swimmers – nearly as many as the barrels – swimming their way around the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London, supported by a very hard working group of organizers, volunteers, lifeguards… that is what I had come to draw. The swimmers are centre stage but if you peer behind them you can see the yellow T-shirted lifeguards on hand to assist wobbly swimmers getting out. They were much appreciated.

And I have to hand it to the sculpture, it marks this event as this location, in this year. It drizzled for the afternoon so I battled the sculpture with a big yellow imaginary umbrella. I think the umbrella won. Useful things, umbrellas, especially imaginary ones.

(prints available from my etsy shop: www.waterdrawnart.etsy.com)

Swim Serpentine, 22nd September 2018

Swim Serpentine, 22nd September 2018

Swim Serpentine, detail of lifeguards

Swim Serpentine, detail of lifeguards

Swim Serpentine - details of swimmers starting and finishing

Swim Serpentine – details of swimmers starting and finishing

Clevedon Marine Lake on a very high tide

First check your Tide Tables…

Last week there was a high spring tide. We would have known, had we actually looked  in the tide tables that we both have, which might have been sensible especially with Lucy’s balance just nearly restored. But we hadn’t, and for a while we swam in a hypothetical Clevedon Marine lake, or rather, we swam a couple of feet above the lake, until normality was restored.

NEW: If you like my drawings, you might like to know I’ve just put next year’s calendars up in my Etsy shop – more on this in the next post….

Clevedon Marine Lake on a very high tide

Clevedon Marine Lake on a very high tide

Swim Serpentine logo

Swimming Films & Festivals coming soon…

Swim Serpentine logo

A bit more on Swim Serpentine…
and keep an eye for news soon about Clevedon.

You wait all year for a swimming Festival and then two come along at once… I thought I’d tell you a bit more about the Swim Serpentine event 22nd November, which is in Hyde Park London, but if you are nearer to my home swimming haunts, keep an eye out for news of a little something we also have planned for Clevedon on the 14th October. Details coming soon.

At Swim Serpentine:
Curated by Kendal Mountain Festival, there’s films and talks throughout the day…

Two talks during the day by Beth French:
“From wheelchair bound to world class athlete, Beth French stretches the horizons of her own possibilities, tackling feats of endurance and adventure.”

Two Talks during the day by Jenny Landreth:
“Part social history, part memoir, Swell uncovers a world of secret swimming in the face of these exclusions and shines a light on the ‘swimming suffragettes’. It celebrates some amazing achievements, some ridiculous outfits and some fantastic swimmers who challenge the stereotypes of what women are capable of. ”

Films throughout the day:
“A selection of incredible short films featuring swimmers from all walks of life; you’ll be transported from the Irish Sea, to the tropical waters of the Cook Islands and under the ice in Finland…”

Reading Q&A by Libby Page:
“Sunday Times bestselling author. Libby’s debut novel The Lido tells the story of the unlikely friendship between Rosemary, 86, and Kate, 26, as they come together to save their local lido from closure.”

For times of events and more information, visit: www.swimserpentine.co.uk/event-info/festival-info/

Free Technique Clinics:
Swim England will be there giving free technique clinics and advice on training plans:
www.swimserpentine.co.uk/event-info/swim-england-coaching/

Artwork by Nancy Farmer
And of course I’ll be there with artwork, too, in the Marquee. I shall have some prints, calendars (more on those soon), swimming hats. Happy to talk!

Wednesday Swimmers

The Wednesday Swimmers

The finished painting.

The finished painting.

This is Sally, Wendy and Cecily (left to right), who often swim on a Wednesday morning at Vobster. I particularly like swimming with them when I get a chance: there is much mucking about, diving, somersaulting, comedy renditions of synchro swimming. Occasionally there is swimming too. It’s all very good material for art: Sally takes fabulous photos, I take snaps by the simple method of pointing the camera in the general direction of the subject while repeatedly pressing the shutter for as long as I can hold my breath, but they are exactly what I need for paintings afterwards.

This is watercolour with gold and palladium leaf, quite big: about 19 x 22 inches. I took photos of the work in progress and posted them as I did each stage on my facebook profile, a slightly unnerving experience as at the start I had a large number of comments that said ‘leave it as it is’ …no pressure not to mess it up then! Here is the full sequence.

I have prints of this painting in my Etsy shop: www.waterdrawnart.etsy.com, and at time of writing this painting is also for sale, though I’ve also earmarked it for an exhibition in Clevedon in October (more on that later…).

The photos

The photos

Sketches

Sketches

Pencil outlines and underpainting in Prussian blue

Pencil outlines and underpainting in Prussian blue

...Prussian Blue....

…Prussian Blue….

...more Prussian Blue...

…more Prussian Blue…

...you know what colour this is by now!

…you know what colour this is by now!

Lots of thin layers of very translucent yellow with a hint of red/magenta

Lots of thin layers of very translucent yellow with a hint of red/magenta

A little more colour, and the highlights put back in

A little more colour, and the highlights put back in by lifting off a little of the colour wash where light catches the skin and for the sunbeams through the water.

The finished painting.

The finished painting. This is a scan and a more faithful representation of the colours than the previous photos.

Detail of tiny fragments of gold leaf

Detail of tiny fragments of gold leaf

Close-up

Close-up

Details...

Details…

Finally, gold and palladium leaf fragments, lots of them.

The metal leaf fragments, catching the light.