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!
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.
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.
Apologies for not featuring these on the blog before! Anyone who stalks me on Facebook will have already seen these but I’ve not properly updated here yet.
Where to buy the hats? You can see, and buy, the hats I currently have in the Swimming Hats section of my Etsy shop.
If that’s all you were looking for, read no further, follow the links! The rest is mostly pretty pictures. I am very pleased with this new one – one of my two-colour Sea Monsters hats – a twist on last year. I can be very particular about colours, as you might expect from an artist, and I wanted a really nicely balanced colour combination. I mixed an orange and turquoise from my watercolour paints, put them in the post and sent them to the lovely hat-printing people Swimhatco.com, who carefully matched my samples. Turquoise in particular does not print true from a computer screen, so this was the only way to do it. I was delighted that they got them just like my samples.
Then I got into Clevedon Marine Lake last Wednesday with a camera and a hat on my head. It was a lovely morning. It was Brass Monkeys in the water mind you, at only 5.5 degrees, so I’m pretty pleased with the selfies considering everything. No, the water is not always this clear in Clevedon Marine Lake, but in the Autumn in particular it can be, once the silt has had a chance to settle.
I’ve also had some plain purple sea monsters printed, and the Swimflakes return for a 3rd year….
And one last new addition to the hats – I have more Clevedon Pier hats too, in some colours that have never existed before…
Aaaand I want to show you just one more pretty picture, because I still have a few of these mermaid hats. Many thanks to Pat Goding and Jeanine Lehmann Palmieri for this photo:
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….
Well it’s not often you find someone nips into your local swimming spot and cements your artwork to the sea wall!
Three pictures I created for the Clevedon Marine Lake in the summer of 2016, lovely to finally see them on the wall. I haven’t actually had a chance to go and see them in real life yet and get photos in a bit of decent sunshine, so here are also the original designs so you can see them in their full detail.
If you are interested in how these came to be, the original bid for lottery funding to restore the lake mentioned installing artwork, as part of the improvement of the lake, but it was no more specific than that I think. By the time Jo Tasker was lake warden I had started drawing a lot of the goings-on of swimmers at Clevedon, and other places where I went swimming and Jo asked very nicely would I like to create a picture that could go on the sea wall. My first idea was there should be 4 pictures, one for each season, but then it turned into 3 pictures, one for each activity. It made more sense, or there would just be swimmers in each picture!
And so finally they are up, all of a sudden! Swimmers, boaters and crabbers. Especially pleased that they had the good sense to put the swimmers picture next to where we swimmers change as that’s my favourite. I had to invent people for the other two panels, but the swimmers: I know all these people, they are real!
All things are relative. While the prospect of an Autumnal temperature plummet to seven degrees may cause us to shudder at the very thought, reaching in vain after warm memories of summery 18 degrees and above; here at the back end of Winter and in the wake of winds from Siberia, 7 degrees is greeted with excitement and delight!
“It’s lovely now it’s warmed up” is not mere winter swimmer’s bravado, it is heartfelt. 10 days ago the shallow salt water dipped below zero. True, we still have that glazed look of the mildly hypothermic as we hug our hot drinks. True it is drizzling, and an icy wind is promised for the weekend. But all things are relative, and these things are mere blips in the unstoppable onrush of spring.
Very soon, it will be too warm….