Category Archives: Events

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.

Rachel's Dart 10K - The Finish!

Rachel’s Dart 10K – The Finish

I have recent drawings that I can’t show you yet, so here is a commission I did a few months back – this is Rachel Ray’s Dart 10K swim. The Finish! A nice change for once to be able to say I’ve done that swim, I don’t have to imagine what it’s like, I was there (though in fact not the same year, and I think we may not have had quite such a muddy finish…).
Digital drawing.

Rachel's Dart 10K - The Finish!

Rachel’s Dart 10K – The Finish!

Wednesday swimmers - pencil sketches

Wednesday Swimmers

Wednesday swimmers - pencil sketches

Wednesday swimmers – pencil sketches

I like swimming on Wednesday at Vobster, though I hardly ever get to go. There is much mucking about in the water. Here is something I am working on from some photos I took on a Wesnesday recently. It started off with me liking something about the arrangement of the two figures in this one photo, though as an actual photo it’s not one of the best.
The sketch is actually three sketches, scanned and and arranged till I think they work together. Getting the underlying drawing right is absolutely the most important thing with most of what I do so there has been much thinking and faffing already. Don’t hold your breath with this one… I have other work I should be doing now….

Wednesday swimmers - photo

Wednesday swimmers – photo