Tag Archives: Nancy Farmer

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.

 

"How to Stay Dry" ...on Clevedon Beach - sketch by Nancy Farmer

How to Stay Dry on Clevedon Beach

"How to Stay Dry" ...on Clevedon Beach - sketch by Nancy Farmer

“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!

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Drawing in Action! – photo by Row Clarke

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

Finished painting - photo 3

Commission: Helen Betley’s Windermere swim, with a lot of gold leaf

Thought you might like to see a painting I finished before Christmas. Last year, Helen Betley swam the length of Windermere… butterfly! Her husband asked if I could paint a painting of the swim. I don’t generally do landscape paintings, (as actual paintings, rather than digital drawings) but I do do a lot of figure drawings, and gold leaf, so I suggested this combination as a bold composition, rather than a straight painting of someone swimming. All the leaf is gold, the different colours are different alloys of gold, and it’s all applied piece by piece, with a paintbrush as it’s too delicate to pick up. The rest is pencil and a watercolour wash, and the little folly is really there on the shore of Windermere, but I added the inscription in my drawing, as a detail to commemorate the swim.

All the photographs are of the same painting – the gold leaf changes so much with different light you may think there is more than one version.

Finished painting - photo 1

Finished painting – photo 1

Finished painting - photo 2

Finished painting – photo 2

One of the photos I worked from

One of the photos I worked from

Photo elements re-arranged

Photo elements re-arranged

Sketch for painting

Sketch for painting

Detail of painting - Helen with hat details

Detail of painting – Helen with hat details

Detail of painting - Helen

Detail of painting – Helen

Detail of painting - The folly with swim details

Detail of painting – The Folly, with swim details

Finished painting - photo 3

Finished painting – photo 3

Finished painting - photo 3

Finished painting – photo 4

Bude Sea Pool in the Summer - Digital drawing by Nancy Farmer

An Unseasonal Bude

I’m not sure how it happened but this picture never made it onto my blog. It’s been on my Facebook page, because I donated it to the Friends of Bude Sea Pool to sell as prints (and also perhaps cards, t-shirts or whatever they want to use it for)… but somehow in the excitement it missed the blog.

If you’d like a print, which are lovely gallery-quality prints like my others, it is available from the Friends of Bude Sea Pool website: https://www.budeseapool.org/shop/ and available from the shop in the Summerleaze Car Park. Prints: £25, £35, £60 for print alone, mounted, or framed respectively.

So if you are longing for a glimpse of summer, this is the print for you!

Bude Sea Pool in the Summer - Digital drawing by Nancy Farmer

Bude Sea Pool in the Summer – Digital drawing by Nancy Farmer

….the text is from this year’s calendar:

“Bude Sea Pool”
With the temperature in the high twenties and no air con in the car, Lucy and I drive down to Bude to visit the Sea Pool there. It’s a year in which we actually seem to be having Summer, and of course it’s too hot, because this is England, we are not used to this sort of weather and we weren’t expecting it.
Now we can watch the antics and faffing of the great British Public, who haven’t had the opportunity to practice their waterside faffing skills since last summer. Some jump straight in it’s so hot. But we are pros at this: there is much talking, there are local swimmers to meet, there is the history of the rescuing of Bude Sea Pool from threatened demolition: it takes us nearly an hour to get into the water. It’s so, so lovely once you’re in!

Polar Bear Plunge! 2019 at Bude Sea Pool

Welcome to the Silly Season

In truth the Silly Season has been going on since about December if you are a cold water swimmer. If you are not, you may well have considered it to be silly to swim outside since September, if not earlier. The actual swimming, however, is not the silly part. Welcome to the season of Winter Events, where wetsuits are often banned, but chicken costumes considered perfectly appropriate attire.
This is the Polar Bear Plunge! 2019, at Bude Sea Pool

Polar Bear Plunge! 2019 at Bude Sea Pool

Polar Bear Plunge! 2019 at Bude Sea Pool

(note: this is all one pic – since they updated the software and I updated the hardware I seem to have a load more pixels to play with, so I thought you might like to see some close-ups since I spent ages putting all this in….)

Close-up detail 1

Close-up detail – the chickens and the tiger

Close-up detail 2

Close-up detail – medals for everyone!

Close-up detail 3

Close-up detail – Lucy, Neptune and the unimpressed dog.

Two-colour sea monster hat in Clevedon Marine Lake

New swimming hats for sale

Two-colour sea monster hat in Clevedon Marine Lake

Two-colour sea monster hat in Clevedon Marine Lake

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.

Matching the Sea Monster paint samples

Matching the Sea Monster paint 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.

Sea Monsters rising

Sea Monsters rising…

Still the Marine Lake - yes, that see through water is a little unusual

Still the Marine Lake – yes, that see through water is a little unusual!

I’ve also had some plain purple sea monsters printed, and the Swimflakes return for a 3rd year….

Purple Sea Monsters

Purple Sea Monsters

New Swimflake hats

New Swimflake hats

And one last new addition to the hats – I have more Clevedon Pier hats too, in some colours that have never existed before…

New Clevedon Hats

New Clevedon Hats

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:

Pat Goding by Jeanine Lehmann Palmieri

Pat Goding by Jeanine Lehmann Palmieri