Category Archives: swimming

"How to get into a River" - digital drawing by Nancy Farmer

How to get into a River

"How to get into a River" - digital drawing by Nancy Farmer

“How to get into a River” – digital drawing by Nancy Farmer

*sploosh*
“oops… drops off suddenly here!”

…repeat until everyone is merrily splashing about in the river. In January. As you do.
And, before someone points it out: the trick of course is not in the getting in but in the making sure you have done so at a point where you can also get out again, because it would be a shame to miss the cake…

On Sunday the South West Seals swam with the Wiltshire Wild Swimmers at Tellisford Weir. I have somehow omitted the weir so there may be another drawing if I can find the time. Thank you Wiltshire Swimmers, it was a fabulous away day for the SW Seals and you are very welcome for a re-match on our home ground. Speaking personally: a gentle 10 minutes of swimming was followed by about 6 pieces of cake. We may need to get into some serious training for the re-match!
(I should add that they also cooked hot dogs on a fire, I’m just more a cake person and there’s only so much a girl can eat: one of everything was not physically possible…)

Row Clarke is centre stage here: her fabulous Deakin & Blue cossie teamed with an equally fabulous retro flowery swimming cap.

 

Winter Sun - watercolour and metal leaf by Nancy Farmer

Winter Sun

As the lake temperature plummets, it seems appropriate that I am adding this painting to the blog. This is one I finished a couple of months ago, back when a brisk swim in 3 degrees was a distant thing, but this is Row Clarke getting out of Clevedon Marine Lake last January, and it was indeed that cold, but gloriously sunny.

Everything that is not water is painted in watercolour (ironically) in a mix of pigments that looks like black but in fact is a transparent magenta, yellow and blue, which is more interesting for being not quite black and having subtle shades in it, and nicer to paint with. And all the water is done in a mix of aluminium, gold and palladium leaf. The first photo is taken with very flat lighting that shows the painting at its best overall, but a couple of images below this are snaps I took in different lighting, which show the effect of the metal leaf and the way the picture changes when half of it is metallic and half not.

Winter Sun - watercolour and metal leaf by Nancy Farmer

Winter Sun – Row emerging from Clevedon Marine Lake – watercolour and metal leaf by Nancy Farmer

Water done in metal leaf

Water done in metal leaf

Metal leaf - same picture, different lighting

Metal leaf – same picture, different lighting

source photo for Winter Sun

source photo for Winter Sun

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!