Tag Archives: drawing

New Year's Day 2020, on Clevedon Beach. Digital drawing by Nancy Farmer

Happy (belated) New Year 2020

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

“New Year’s Day 2020, on Clevedon Beach” Digital drawing by Nancy Farmer

"Stepping into Single Figures" - drawing by Nancy Farmer

Stepping into Single Figures… gingerly

(Brothers 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

2020 calendar by Nancy Farmer

2020 Calendars are here!

2020 calendar by Nancy Farmer - front cover

2020 calendar by Nancy Farmer – front cover

To be honest, I’ve been selling calendars for next year for a couple of months on the quiet, but I don’t like to tell people too early that another year is ending, so they have mostly been bought by inquisitive souls who have asked or searched them out.

The clocks have gone back, the leaves are falling, I reckon I can tell everyone now: 2020 calendars are in my Etsy shop! To avoid disappointment don’t leave it till late December – I never ran out of this year’s calendars because of a printing company error – they printed too many and then somehow persuaded me to buy the surplus… However, that’s not the way it usually goes: I try to judge it so that I have nearly sold them all by the end of the year.

2020 calendar by Nancy Farmer - some of the images

2020 calendar by Nancy Farmer – some of the images

2020 calendar by Nancy Farmer

2020 calendar 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”

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…

We hear it’s still cold in Ullswater

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.

We hear it’s still cold in Ullswater

Summer’s here: the Tri Season has begun!

Summer’s here: the Tri Season has begun!

(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/

Skinny Dipping: a hypothesis

Skinny Dipping: a hypothesis

Skinny Dipping: a hypothesis

Skinny Dipping: a hypothesis

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.

If they had swum there. Hypothetically.

 

The difference between Girls and Boys

The difference between Girls & Boys

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.

The difference between Girls and Boys

The difference between Girls and Boys