Maeve Mulcahy - Fastnet to Baltimore swim

Maeve Mulcahy, first woman to swim Fastnet to Baltimore

“Many years ago, a very wise young man, Owen O’Keefe, a.k.a. Fermoy Fish, said to me, always remember if you’re the first to do a swim, nobody can ever take that from you, no matter how long it takes you to do it” Maeve Mulcahy

Some time last Autumn I was honoured that Maeve asked me to draw a picture commemorating her achievement, the first woman to swim Fastnet to Baltimore, a 10h 45m marathon completed on 1st September 2017. Her friends: fellow swimmers and crew, Anne and Eoin were important characters in the drawing, and although the water looks calm, and I gather it was for much of the time, the account which you can read here is of a long hard swim.
So this is Maeve, her crew, the Fastnet Rock and lighthouse in the background, and their Myrtle Turtle flag flying from Radiance.
There’s also a short video of the swim here.

Maeve Mulcahy - Fastnet to Baltimore swim

Maeve Mulcahy – Fastnet to Baltimore swim

'Ghislaine' detail1

Ghislaine

Apologies for the lack of swimming scribbles, I have been devoting time to some swimming paintings instead. Some of these I am hoarding for Bath Art Fair (12th & 13th May, more on that later), a some have been commissions (I know, other people are waiting, for paintings or drawings… I am getting there…).
So, here is one finished commission, this is Ghislaine, in watercolour, with platinum bubbles…
At the bottom you can see the photo I worked from, Ghislaine asked me for more bubbles and sparkly light.

'Ghislaine' painting in watercolour with palladium leaf

‘Ghislaine’ painting in watercolour with palladium leaf

'Ghislaine' detail1

‘Ghislaine’ detail1

'Ghislaine' detail2

‘Ghislaine’ detail2

'Ghislaine' detail3

‘Ghislaine’ detail3

'Ghislaine' reference photo

‘Ghislaine’ reference photo

Sophie Apnée‎ in Paris, photo by Manon of Blue Parallax

Distant snowflakes

My snowflakes / swimflakes hats are getting about a bit, I just wanted to show you a couple of photos that I particularly loved – in Paris and Siberia.

I’ve sold out of these hats now, but people have suggested mermaid hats several times so I’m thinking about that for the spring. Also, anyone who wanted a Clevedon Pier hat – I have a few of those coming in the next couple of weeks. If you want to get a very rare email about when I have new stuff, feel free to add yourself to the mailing list – see link above.

Paris photos by Manan of Blue Parallax

How to get into Cold Water

How to get into Cold Water

A few tried and tested methods…

Some enter the water while raising arms in an attempt to remain as dry as possible. This works, for a very very, very short time. An alternative technique is to splash your face – or all of you – with water, which is rater the opposite: get wet before you have to get wet. It’s not for me, but I’ve seen people do this happily! Then there are those who like to inch into the water bit by bit, drawing out the appalling process for several minutes. It often helps to swear a lot. I used to be an arm-raiser, but I’ve slowly come to the conclusion that if it is very cold the best thing is to get the whole dreadful experience over as fast as possible, wade in and then plunge and swim as fast as possible until it stops being awful. For the sake of caution I should add this last method is not a beginners choice: do make sure you can breathe before you can swim!

It’s lovely once you’re in!

How to get into Cold Water

How to get into Cold Water

Portishead Popsicle swim cap

Portishead Popsicle swim cap

Portishead Popsicle swim cap

Portishead Popsicle swim cap

Behold the Portishead Popsicle swim cap!

I think I got most of the important things into the picture:
The water will be cold. Very cold.
Despite this, many happy people will be swimming in it.
They will not be diving in! (see point one)
There are different classes for wetsuit and non-wetsuit, unlike many winter events where all rubber is banned.
There will be cake.
There may be silly hats (a stretch this one, I admit, but it’s not often you see someone in a pool with a bobble hat).
It’s at the lovely friendly community run Portishead Lido

The Portishead Popsicle happens on 16th December.

… and I believe you can still enter the events. The shortest distance is 30 metres, you know you can do it! You can certainly still order a hat till this Sunday (26th November). I will be there too, if anyone would like their hat signed. For more information visit the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1181288338683926/

Emma's swimmer tattoo

A Swimmer Tattoo

It’s not often people ask me for artwork they are going to wear for the rest of their lives, so I am delighted to show you this little lady which I designed for Emma Cummings. It was a piece of work which I did last year. The brief was that she liked a line drawing, but also a watercolour-type loose colouring, so I combined the two, refining the line drawing and leaving the colour as a more random effect. Here’s the final effect, which may or may not have more colour added later. Besides, she seems an appropriate colour for an outdoor swimmer this time of year anyway! (even though, as we know well, we actually go bright pink, not blue…)

Emma's swimmer tattoo

Emma’s swimmer tattoo

Coloured swimmer

Coloured swimmer

Sketch for tattoo design

Sketch for tattoo design

Emma's swimmer tattoo

Emma’s swimmer tattoo

The Duck Thermometer

The Duck says it’s 9 degrees

…But we think it’s much warmer. My thermometer claims it’s nearly 10.5. Winter swimmers will understand the difference.
Once it gets colder I like to know the temperature, partly I feel it’s safer, having an idea of the actual temperature, because my skin finds it hard to distinguish between the sensation of ‘cold and wet’ and ‘really really cold …and wet’. For some reason the duck shaped thermometers always seem to read low, but as long as you are used to adjusting for duck pessimism it doesn’t matter what thermometer you have if it’s the same one each time.

The Duck Thermometer

The Duck Thermometer