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’ve put all of the available mini swimmer paintings up for sale n my Etsy shop – this is my new shop for all swimming-related things: www.waterdrawnart.etsy.com
Three have gone to an exhibition, two have been sold, the rest are all there for you to browse should you wish. Here are a few I haven’t posted on this blog yet. Most of them are 4 inches square – a size that I found challenging before I painted all these: I’ve had a bit of practice now. The last ones three are about 5.5 inches square. And most of them have shimmery bits of metal leaf on them – gold, palladium or aluminium, which gives the ‘bubbles’ an extra dimension.
Another commission I was asked for – this is a digital drawing, like most of my swimming pictures. The commissions didn’t originally appear on this site, but I have made a page for them where you can see a selection: https://waterdrawn.com/portfolio/commissions/.
Quite unlike the Last Swim of 2016, the first swim of 2017 was a mass affair. More shrieking than swimming, especially from those who believe a new year’s resolution is all it takes, to get into 5 degrees as if you like it. They didn’t last. Though to be fair, some might: our Clevedon Lake and Sea Swimmers group is growing all the time, new faces popping up even through the winter and some of them stay, and surprise themselves.
The local media was there too, and plenty of umbrella’d watchers. Determined to have a proper swim, I swam off to the far end, and by the time I got back it was all over. A stiff wind and a determined drizzle had blown a lot of them straight into the pub.
On Wednesday the marine lake had dropped to 9.5 degrees. This is not an unpleasant temperature at which to swim for a while, but it still seems important to give the water a hard contemplative stare before getting in, just in case. Winter is coming…
We had our correct hats on, Clare and I. Perfectly synchronized with each other and with the view.
The hat, if you missed it, is one I designed nearly a year ago and appeared on my main site… got to have a team hat! It features the Pier at Clevedon, as you can see. We are in the Marine Lake, I have probably bent the pier to get it in at this angle, but it’s always there, part of the view of our swims. Unlike the Welsh hills, which come and go with the weather. (Sorry, after two print runs they are again sold out. If there is a lot of demand I may get them re-printed sometime, so if you’re interested send me an email and I’ll make a list. At present I don’t have plans to re-print, but if I get enough enquiries….)
And I will admit, a little ‘cheating’ went on here: the hats in the picture are my actual design for the hat, worked into the picture. Because I don’t see why I should draw something twice!
Wormy is still around, but currently in favour is Catnip Dynamite, a highly bitable stuffed cloth cylinder attached to a rope with a bell on the end. It is the best thing ever for dragging up and down my studio floor at high speed and then biting. The way to get the better of it is apparently to go into attack mode whilst at the same time attempting to stand one’s head. This catches it out every time.
Meanwhile the Kickeroo (bought for Sergeant Stripes by Tony who had clearly forgotten the Sergeant’s diminutive stature) has become definitely and firmly Percy’s, and he is guarding it. He attacks it with enthusiasm on a nightly basis. It looks a bit like Arthur, but that is only coincidence. Probably.
I have an electric propagator. It is basically a plastic tray with an electric heater beneath its surface, so that when you put pots of seeds on top the steady gentle heat warms the soil and encourages the seeds to germinate. It hasn’t been used much this year, but it’s being put to good use now to help bring on one very tiny, plump cat-seedling.
In my (albeit fairly limited) experience, it is always colder in Ullswater. I don’t know why, but I don’t just mean colder than in Somerset where I live, but colder than the rest of the lakes in the Lake District. We met up on the 2nd May, in driving rain (which I have forgotten to add to the drawing). I was already in the water when Rosie and Jackie got in, so I had a good view of Rosie’s face as she entered the slightly unseasonal 7 degrees. It was a picture. And so it is, now, a picture 😉
A man in a white van stopped, once were were in and acclimatized, and gazed in wonderment; announced, full of male bravado, that he’d join us in 5 minutes… and then drove away very quickly and never returned.
Ullswater, 2nd May, 2017: last cold swim till November