“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.
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
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/
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…)
Sometimes unexpected worlds meet. Before I painted a lot of swimmers, I painted (amongst other things) a lot of ladies in corsets. So when a lovely and courageous lady asked me to design the hats for her team of ‘Strait Ladies’, somehow the image immediately presented itself.
Elizabeth Verth in her own words: “I am proud to be part of Strait Ladies, a team of four women who, sometime between 17th and 28th September, will enter the waters of the Mediterranean at Tarifa, Spain, to swim to Africa. Although we are a team, each of us will be swimming a tandem solo of the full distance of the Gibraltar Strait. Each one of us will swim, as a solo, from Spain to Morocco.”
It’s been a bit of a summer for swimming hat commissions, here are two designs that I was asked to create.
The Chilly McFillies are a relay team of four crazy lovely ladies swimming from one end of Loch Lomond to the other… and BACK AGAIN! 70k of non stop swimming all in aid of cancer research UK. Their facebook page is here if you’d like to read more and donate: https://www.facebook.com/Chillymcfillies/
And then there is Kate Mason, who coaches swimmers from beginner to channel swimmer. I designed a new logo for her, complete with mermaid swimming front crawl – unusual stroke for a mermaid, but this is an unusual mermaid, sensibly kitted out in goggles and swimming hat. Kate’s website is katemasoncoaching.co.uk
Enquiries into commissions are always welcome. I have put up some very vague guidelines on prices on a new Prices & info page, but the best thing really is to just email me, because it all depends on what you want.
Commissioned portrait that I painted last week – an underwater swimmer – Hilary – with gold leaf fragments for bubbles. Unlike most of the swimming commissions so far, this is in paint, not a digital creation. The gold leaf doesn’t show up very well on the scanner, so I’ve photographed it as well, which catches the light on the gold better. The size is about 5.5 inches square.