Understanding The Paintings
All my artworks are designed to be open to personal interpretation. I do not like the idea of trying to present any kind of closed and fixed meaning with my artworks.
These descriptions are to give you more depth into why they appear in the works and what they mean to me. They are symbols that loosely represent some part of each swim, the training and my perception of the landscape.
THE CROSS / DIAMOND
This symbol represents a figure, normally myself, in the landscape of the artwork.
POINT TO POINT TO POINT
There are a few psychological tactics that I use when swimming longer distances. Often I break the larger distances down into smaller and more manageable chunks. I pick a spot in the distance and swim towards it, once I get closer then I pick the next marker further into the distance. I repeat this process until the swim is completed.
These markers can be anything, from trees or buildings on the surrounding mountains (as in the case of lake swimming) through to distant boats or lights on the shore (more common with sea swimming).
This monoprint is a way to show this psychological tool in a visual way. The circles are the markers that I pick and the lines are the routes that I swim between them.
STONE RIPPLE LINES
This is a combination of stone walls and water ripples. I wanted to mix together two things that I see a lot when when wild swimming in a different way.
Wild swimming is often a good way to “get under the skin of things” (Roger Deakin – Waterlog) and this upsets and realigns the way that you see everything around you. Twigs and water plants can appear the same size as distant trees and forests, mercurial shapes and shadows carry obscured lines and half recognizable forms. I like the way that you enter this cold, new landscape and I wanted to find a way to try and represent that. To take forms from this experience and add them into the work.
MOUNTAINS / SAILS
This is a simple form that again mixes two commonly seen objects from the landscapes that I swim in.
Circles are used in the paintings either on the surface of the work (above), or to form the shape of the work itself (below).
The circle is important for me because it represents another psychological tool that I use when I swim. I visualise a silver orb inside me when I swim, and that nothing can ever touch or scratch or get into the orb. This means that when I am cold or extremely fatigued then I simply have to concentrate on the core of myself, this circular form that can never let the cold affect it or give up. So far this visualisation technique has worked well for me over long distances and in freezing waters, so it deserves to be in the work.
WATER SWIM LINES
These are lines that trace swims that I have completed. I see them like lines on a map, marking routes that I have traveled along.
The painted forms that they pass through are shapes made by coloured water that has flowed and pooled naturally over the canvas before it was stretched. Often the canvases are soaked in the rivers and lakes that I swim in, so these forms come directly from the landscape itself.
In the paintings above these shapes have been picked out in white, revealing the lines in the negative space.