Tag Archives: outdoor swimming

"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

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!

White Horses in the Bristol Channel, said Radio 3

White Horses in the Bristol Channel, said Radio 3

White Horses in the Bristol Channel, said Radio 3

White Horses in the Bristol Channel, said Radio 3 – pencil drawing with digitally added colour

Friday. The morning, following so many beautiful dawns this week, dawned wet and windy. However, driving up the M5 to Clevedon I was still surprised to be informed by Radio 3 that there were white horses in the Bristol Channel*. This oldly specific announcement, out of character for a for a national radio station whose main qualities are its eighteenth century selections and lack of current affairs, was disconcerting. This wasn’t even a news bulletin, merely a comment about the state of the Bristol Channel. They explained, as if this explained anything, that they were watching the web cam at Watchet. Then they played Beethoven.

So it was in a slightly surreal and thoughtful mood that I stood taking photographs on the sea front. There were indeed (modest) white horses, there was also a spring tide and much splooshing of water up onto the walkway below the sea wall. And I was the only one there. I even wondered, if I continued to be the only one there, would I go in anyway?

This is Clevedon. There has to be more than little white horses to deter everybody. I pattered along to the big cave and found two of the regulars eyeing the sea speculatively. In the end we were four, and of course we swam. And as the sun rose above Clevedon Hill – in the instant that my camera battery died – and despite the dire warnings of Radio 3, it turned out lovely!

*White horses: I had to explain this to a friend, so in case anyone else is confused – the white caps on the top of waves. Other than actually breaking on the shore I think this begins to happen (sailing friends will correct me) at about a force 5 wind.

If you like my drawings you might like to know that I now have calendars for 2019 for sale in my etsy shop: www.waterdrawnart.etsy.com.

Clevedon Pier: now you see it, now you don't

Clevedon Pier: now you see it, now you don’t

The Oxfordshire Winter Pod

The Oxfordshire Pod

A commission that I completed a few weeks ago. It was for Beccy Mullett’s birthday – this is her and the rest of her winter swimming (and cycling) ‘Pod’, and her friends who are also in this picture commissioned me to draw it for her. Beccy is in the foreground, left of centre. Below are also some of the photos that I put this together from.

I shall be at the Swim Serpentine Event (Hyde Park, London) on September 22nd if anyone would like to ask me about having something similar done, always happy to talk if you have an idea you’d like made into an artwork.

This is  a digital drawing, and one of the useful things about that is  that I can make multiple prints if required – I only make prints of commissions for the people who commission them, but in this case I made up a large mounted print of this drawing for the birthday girl, and another 7 small ones for each of the other swimmers, who also gave her this as a present.

The Oxfordshire Winter Pod

The Oxfordshire Winter Pod

Some of the source photos

Some of the source photos

The Angel of Grasmere

The Angel of Grasmere

The Angel of Grasmere

The Angel of Grasmere

This painting was from a photo I took of my friend Jackie in Grasmere in Cumbria, late last summer. Unlike the blue water of Vobster, where I’ve taken many many underwater photos, Grasmere has peaty brown-coloured water, but it was still quite clear, so that the sunlight that filtered through was golden, and the reflection of Jackie’s arms on the underside of the water spread out like two huge wings.

The painting is in watercolour on paper, with a lot of gold leaf on the ‘wings’. It’s about 29 x 12 inches and at the time of writing this it’s currently still available for sale.
I also have prints in my Etsy shop: http://www.waterdrawnart.etsy.com

It was summer, only just now…

The first leaves began to fall, it seems like only yesterday. It was a few weeks ago in fact when I drew this one but it somehow got forgotten. I swam in Ullswater with Francine, Derwent water with Jackie. This is the drawing that was inspired by both those swims, though the scene is my memory of the Ullswater swim: there was no denying the leaves really had begun to fall, so had the temperature. We had brought warm clothes, but there was no real hurry to get into them: still time for faffing, still capable of holding a conversation and stringing words into sentences. But winter is coming…

The leaves had begun to fall, and so had the temperature.

The leaves had begun to fall, and so had the temperature.

An elegant re-entry at Ladye Bay

High Tide at Ladye Bay

At high tide Ladye Bay has almost no beach. When we arrived, Sue sat on a handy boulder, perched like a stylish rubber-clad mermaid on this tiny ornamental beach. I am sure I added to this charming scene with my elegant re-entry into the water.

An elegant re-entry at Ladye Bay

An elegant re-entry at Ladye Bay