On the plus side:
I have a garden hose, a corner of the garden is not overlooked, and the Mahonia is in flower.
And I thought:
I should be doing some artwork. All the people in my Facebook feed, most of them swimmers, most of them suddenly landlocked. Perhaps I could provide a bit of entertainment and give myself a useful drawing challenge at the same time.
I was going to ask you for your silly swimming tales and draw them.
I thought this picture as the first one would grab your attention.
I underestimated the physiotherapy.
I underestimated the fact that when a bone breaks, the actual part where the bone sticks itself back together is only the start of the recovery.
I underestimated the number of postal orders I would be doing mostly with one hand, and for how long I’d be doing them like that.
And to be honest, I didn’t want to engage with people until I felt more like me again, and that meant being able to start doing ‘me’ things again, or at least being within closer reach of them.
So this… is both the beginning and the end of that idea. There’s no point now sending me your silly swimming stories, I’ve lost so much work time I’m saying no to everything, even paid commissions this year. Though there is nothing to stop you posting stories as comments to this blog …you never know what the future holds.
I am aware I should have done this drawing a month ago, January has been a bumpy one and as my father died on the 2nd of January a Happy New Year neither seemed appropriate, nor was there anyway time to do this drawing last month. But the morning of 1st of January was such a lovely one with fantastic friends that it would be a shame to loose the opportunity. So here’s to another go at the new year, and in memory of my dad, not so much a swimmer but a keen sailor in his time.
New Year’s Day at Clevedon Beach, 2020
New Year’s Day in Clevedon dawned calm and dull, Wales had apparently vanished, the neap tide lapped unenthusiastically low on the shingle beach. And we more than made up for it.
The 7 degree water brought the swimmers out in a bright pink ‘tan’ and were it not for the weather, the whole thing could have been mistaken for a summers day on the beach.
And there was beauty in the eerie stillness once out in the misty water.
Lucy’s now famous purple bikini put in one more appearance, though she says it is due for retirement, so I made sure to include it in this drawing, in case this is its last. Meanwhile, modesty* forbids me from drawing Professor Wolf’s festive 3D wolf posing pouch, sent to him anonymously and worn because we recklessly encouraged him. But he is there, centre ground posing for a photo in it. I believe it has since been confiscated, which is a shame but probably for the best.
*not actually my modesty.
“New Year’s Day 2020, on Clevedon Beach” Digital drawing by Nancy Farmer
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 – digital drawing by Nancy Farmer
We had gathered on Cawsand beach and walked to Penlee Point – a lovely group of Kingsand & Cawsand swimmers – and Jim – had welcomed us few Somerset visitors: organized a gathering, a swim, boat cover, cake, pizza in the evening. There had been much faffing on the beach at Cawsand gathering everyone, meeting friends, meeting new people, talk of logistics: clothes, shoes and drybags. We took photos while we waited for everyone to arrive, some had stopped for pub lunch, I had not, having already stopped for cake. We even had a safety briefing – this was not our home waters.
We walked to the Point and picked our way down the cliff: around 15 people descending upon a dainty little micro-beach. There were two people already there, enjoying the peace and quiet. We must have blocked the view as we stood in front of them – there wasn’t anywhere else to stand – and I wondered if they were appalled at the thought that we might all join them in this tiny space.
“I’ve been summoning up the courage to go for a paddle for the last 15 minutes,” said one to the the other “and you watch: this lot will just get in and swim off.”
And we did. We had pre-faffed, and now we had cake and later pizza to swim back for.
Many thanks to everyone for a lovely day – Jim, Sue, Kate, Moi, the boat crew, and other people whose names I should remember but can’t! We hope to see some of you in Somerset sometime.
Budgie smugglers – incorporating a photo of the text on the actual item in question!
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!
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 😉
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.
“How to get into a River” – digital drawing by Nancy Farmer
“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.
A commission I finished a while ago – this is Jeremy Storr’s father learning to sail. He was the only one in the class, so he had all his lessons in the boat! I wanted to show his face – I had a photo where he had a lovely smile – but I thought it would be a shame if you didn’t see the whole boat, so he and his instructor are in the foreground, and at the same time sailing past in the background. Art is useful like that…
“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!