Tag Archives: outdoor swimming

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

Still a bit nippy

The cave is warm, but the sea is still a bit nippy…

After some not insignificant effort, Gav has managed to secure us the use of the littlest of Clevedon beach’s ‘Caves’ – neatly arched and rendered lockable affairs set into the sea wall. It means our stuff has somewhere to be stashed, we can get dry even if it’s peeing down, and most of all, we have somewhere to eat cake.

The cave-warming party was duly held on Saturday and a lot of cake was involved. The cave is now warm; outside however, the sea is still a little nippy.

Still a bit nippy

Still a bit nippy

Swimming with Mother

Swimming with Mother

Amidst intermittent torrential showers Mother and I braved Ullswater’s choppy waters. Last time I was here, the water was a bracing 7 degrees, this time it was nearly 16. But Mother (age 71 and eleven twelfths), is not an outdoor swimmer and still showed the lake what she was made of. I am probably a bad influence…

Swimming with Mother

Swimming with Mother in Ullswater, Cumbria