The Swimming Pond
Dead Ends and starting again
How the Swimming Pond evolved; I had intended to do a painting based on a series of images that had figures and flowers in, I was looking at a very arty flower shop and had done a lot of drawings for the start of the painting. But somehow it just wasn’t coming together as I wanted even though I had all of the elements, it didn’t feel right. So then I had decided to abandon the preliminary drawings and start again.
In situations like this I have learnt that if I leave ideas to stew or if I start again and wait, I will get new thoughts and ideas about what to do. This turned out to be the case with this painting; I abandoned the intial idea, waited and waited and then it was clear. It was as if a strong feeling appeared followed by an idea; that this painting was to be about some of the great times I have had - with swimming and pools.
I have spent a lot of time in and around swimming pools
My mum was a lifeguard at Sanford Park Lido (one of the largest outdoor pools in the UK) and also taught swimming at our junior school in Cheltenham. Every summer we spent our school holidays at the pool, my mum working, keeping a watchful eye on hundreds of kids in the pool. It was generally quite cold but it didn’t seem to bother us much.
So it was amazing to find out many years later there is a Ladies Swimming Pond and it was the perfect hot weather to try it out. I went with a friend, en route to a show that I was exhibiting in at Hampstead Museum. We were nervous at first, a small lake where you can’t see or feel the bottom but it was so good to get in and swim. It was very busy with everyone sitting around and feeling relaxed.
My Favourite Way of Working
When I was studying art at college my favourite way of working was to gather drawings and photos and combine them together on the floor, a jigsaw. I would spend lots of time moving them around, allowing thoughts to come in and then suddenly… that lightbulb moment. It is not always easy to know whether or not the idea is strong enough for it to become a painting but with The Swimming Pond, once I had the drawings figured out I knew I really wanted to paint it and create a fusion of the experience of relaxing near water.
A feeling rather than idea
The painting has a typical ‘English’ feel to it, all the figures are partially clothed and there is no one in the water, yet. So a typical English summer… perhaps.The Swimming Pond - This painting started out as a completely different idea, initially I had a vague idea that it would focus loosely on a lovely flower shop in Brighton. However, ideas get overturned with new and improved ones and after a while it became clear that this painting was to be about some of the great times I have had - with swimming and pools.
The Swimming Pond is on show at the Brighton Open House starting 6 May for four weekends. I am at the house on Sundays if you want to pop in and say hi it would be lovely to see you.