This drawing is out of season, sorry, it should have appeared in November!
I am currently compiling next year’s calendar (add yourself to my email list – link in the menu – if you want to be amongst the first to know when it’s ready)… and I found that this one from last year had never got onto my blog. So, I’m adding it now, having just spent some tedious minutes scrolling through a lot of Facebook to find the text I wrote for it…
“The Training Plan”
The temperature is dropping, triathletes have retreated to the indoor pool to keep up their training, but some have notched up the effort and refuse to go indoors, wacking out training routines in rapidly cooling water. Welcome to the winter swimming season, when all normal human behaviour is turned on its head, and people who swim for fun all summer get competitive under conditions that would make professionals shudder.
To be fair, Lucy is competing against herself and nobody else, but with awesome dedication. Under these conditions a training plan typed neatly and laminated and propped up at the end of the pool isn’t going to cut it. The pool is a lake, the water is about 5 degrees and she ain’t faffing!
(at least, no more than is strictly necessary…..)
The Training Plan
The text used in this drawing was Lucy’s actual training plan, extracted from a photo of her arm!
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:
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
I will not say that this happened, this is merely a hypothesis.
If it had happened, if it had happened that close on a dozen girls had skinny dipped in the lake, in a place remarkably close to the centre of a seaside town… if they had, they might have found that the cover of darkness is quite exceptional, the bright lights being all around, but not actually in that place. If they had, there would only have been the squealing of delight to give them away. They would have been invisible, but not, it is true, inaudible. But the Outside is a big place, and giggling would have carried only so far. The Outside is good for swimming.
Little commission I completed a few weeks ago – a digital drawing. And yes, you can ask me to match your wallpaper / paintwork as Sophia did, as long as you can send me a sample of the colour.
A little point here – I do know some artists would be outraged at the very thought of being asked to create art to match the decor, but seriously, would you go into a gallery and say, “I’d like to buy that painting, it’s lovely and it will look absolutely awful in my front room”. If it‘s a commission, an artist should be able to fulfil a brief be it subject, colour, size or whatever, or they are just pleasing themselves… and there’s another word for that 😉
Just saying this, as sometimes I think people are worried about getting a stroppy reply if they ask a question like that. If you do, find someone else to ask….
Changing a brief half way thorough is another matter we needn’t go into here (because this was not the case!). This was a lovely drawing to do, helped in part because of the natural grace in the initial photos I worked from.
Mind you, I can invent grace, where necessary. Trust me, I’m an artist 😉
“How to Stay Dry” …on Clevedon Beach – sketch by Nancy Farmer
It was a little breezy down at Clevedon Beach this morning. Not as bad as it had been yesterday: a couple of floating trees, a bent iron bar on the beach and multiple heaps of seaweed up on the road above the sea wall bore witness to the weekend weather, but still, the water had that washing machine look to it. And it was a chill wind.
So as well as my cossie I also brought my sketchbook. I had a cold which came back for an encore, and wanting to discourage it from a second curtain call, I still managed to feel that the journey up the M5 was worth it by drawing everyone else getting in instead. There may have been just a little shrieking…
Of course the company, coffee and cake was worth the journey on its own. Especially the company, and being nice and dry and able to enjoy watching the shrieking!
Lake Mural by Nancy Farmer. Photo Joanna Richardson
This isn’t new artwork I just wanted to post this photo, courtesy of Joanna Richardson. This is a panel I designed for Marlens (the charity which maintains the Marine Lake at Clevedon), one of three printed onto tiles and installed at the lake. Usually it’s not underwater, but on Friday it was a very, very high tide. And below is me on a different day, next to it, just for reference!
Me and the Mural! Photo Mary Stanley-duke (I think!)
I’m an artist: I’m not obliged to be politically correct, or even accurate, but there is a difference between girls and boys when it comes to cold water swimming. There is one thing that girls are so much better at. Faffing.
People ask me why there aren’t many pictures of men in my paintings, there aren’t actually many of the male persuasion in our group, it is true, but another of the reasons for it is they simply aren’t there. We’ve no sooner arrived at our lake, said hello, caught up on the week, the weather, measured the temperature of the water, discussed the possibility of wearing gloves or not wearing gloves, admired a new bobble hat or two, a bikini, somebody’s homemade cake, repeated the water temperature to newcomers, compared the readings on a couple of auxiliary thermometers, discussed the water temperature with those leaving the vicinity and shared a couple of hilarious stories about pants…. and we look up and find that the boys have just got in and started swimming! There they are, half way to the other side of the lake. And we have so far succeeded in removing our bobble hats and locating our cossies. If we are organized.
So now you know. One thing boys aren’t very good at.
This is Chris on the steps and Andy, already swimming. Andy was last year’s oldest person to swim the English Channel, solo, and he probably didn’t stop to swap stories about pants even then.