Category Archives: Media

"Stepping into Single Figures" - drawing by Nancy Farmer

Stepping into Single Figures… gingerly

(Brother’s Water, Cumbria, 15/10/19)

To be fair, I was stepping far more gingerly than Susan and Francine: they with shoes, me with bare toes. They fairly strode into the Winter.

But it was the first swim of the season in single figures. The first of many since the temperature has plummeted this week. Take care out there my swimming friends: it should never be forgotten that you are doing this for fun!

(Apologies to Lucy for leaving her out of the drawing and yet stealing her hat! I used her photograph for reference, so she wasn’t in it, and I used her hat for artistic purposes, since mine was dark purple)

"Stepping into Single Figures" - drawing by Nancy Farmer

“Stepping into Single Figures” – drawing by Nancy Farmer

Emma's first swim in Derwentwater

“Come on Emma, just bloody well get in!” …said Emma

It was not warm in Derwentwater: not yet ‘Baltic’, but well into ‘quite nippy’. It was past sunset and Emma stood in the inky waters in bare feet on uncomfortable slippy rocks; she also had a dodgy shoulder and she was not in fact – not yet – a cold water swimmer.
She had got this far, she was already half wet and all cold. Getting out at this point was going to look like defeat, but she was going to need some persuasion.
So she gave herself a stern talking to. Strong words were delivered and after some minutes of entertaining expletives, she did as she told herself.
She got in.
…and she loved it. Briefly.
And two days later she did it again, with noticeably less swearing.

Emma's first swim in Derwentwater

Emma’s first swim in Derwentwater – digital drawing by Nancy Farmer

Digital Drawing by Nancy Farmer: "A Lake That Was Wetter Than Usual"

A Lake That Was Wetter Than Usual

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"

Digital Drawing by Nancy Farmer: “A Lake That Was Wetter Than Usual”

'Floating' - painting in watercolour with gold leaf detail

New painting: “Floating”

'Floating' - painting in watercolour with gold leaf detail

‘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:

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.

Under Clevedon Pier on a Windy Day

Under Clevedon Pier on a Windy Day

Under Clevedon Pier on a Windy Day

Under Clevedon Pier on a Windy Day

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!

Not much of a sketch!

Before i got in

Before I got in that same day…

Pencil drawing

Pencil drawing

Pencil scanned in and background removed

Pencil scanned in and background removed

Photo from the day

Photo from the day of the swim

Adding digital colour

Adding digital colour

The bit I missed!

The bit I missed! (back to the pencil drawing for a final adjustment…)

The finished version again...

The finished version again…

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

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: