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”
‘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:
Floating – close-up
detail of feet
Floating – detail
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.
source photo – one I took myself – this is Jackie, in Vobster Quay.
the original drawing.
more Prussian Blue
more Prussian Blue
and still Prussian Blue
washes of Indian Yellow
more washes, some magenta, and a slightly different yellow on the swimming costume
lifting paint (with the tiny ‘scrubbing brushes’)to make highlights
adding colour in very thin washes
brushes (and a propelling pencil), in order of appearance…
‘Floating’ – painting in watercolour with gold leaf detail
Compiling the pictures for the calendar for 2020, I have found one more drawing that got missed off this blog, so here it is….
On a day in November, on a windy day, I went for a swim under the Pier. It’s hard to write a story to this one, because I’ve already done that – it went with the other drawing I did of that day: me, looking at the water splooshing up against the sea wall and wondering whether to go in.
So instead I’ve done a few scrawls of the picture in construction. Drawing on paper isn’t how I usually start the digital drawings – these two are the first I’ve done like this, but the advantage is you do get to draw with a real pencil, which is much nicer. The disadvantage is that when you discover you’ve missed an essential bit of the pier, you have to go back to the pencil drawing, add it in, and re-scan the drawing.
This drawing started when I found a sketch in a sketchbook I don’t usually use. It was no more than a few wiggly lines mapping out a drawing, but I knew what I’d meant a the time, so I finished the drawing on paper:
Not much of a sketch!
Before I got in that same day…
Pencil scanned in and background removed
Photo from the day of the swim
Adding digital colour
The bit I missed! (back to the pencil drawing for a final adjustment…)
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.
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:
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.
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…
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.
(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/
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!
Mini swimmers – work in progress – the first layers of watercolour