So recently I joined the ranks of the sea swimmers. Ok so it might be a little late in day as the Pandemic is over but as my wife dryly pointed out it’s probably a good time to get a dry robe (‘barely used/never worn’) on Done Deal!
Anyway I guess it’s a good sign that our renovation is nearly finished if I have time to get to the beach daily for cryotherapy. For the first 18 months of building works I only ever got a wistful glance at the beach as I occasionally dropped the kids off to the Dart, emotionally blackmailed into giving them a lift due to ‘torrential’ rain or ‘injury’. I have discovered that my kids embrace their creative side when trying to avoid the walk to the station and it’s not uncommon for limps to develop out of nowhere about 7.30am in our house! Anyway that brief glance at the beach was as close as I got for much of 2022 but 2023 has been different!
It’s ironic that having spent the first winter in the new house without central heating, bitterly cold and narrowly avoiding frostbite that I am now voluntarily recreating the same thermal environment in the sea. I have surprised myself though, by how much I have enjoyed it, not just the invigorating swim but also the community spirit (‘mad people all in it together’ kind of vibe).
What also makes it special is the amazing scenery. No matter how grey and rainy it might be, it still looks beautiful and there are so many amazing swim spots nearby to choose from.
The best part of being an artist is that you can capture these beautiful areas and hopefully some of the atmosphere of being there on canvas. You don’t even have to include the rain! My latest collection includes many popular and beautiful sea swimming locations in Dublin including Forty Foot (recently featured liberally on Bad Sisters) where, before I became an enthusiast, I would feel virtuous by jumping in for a whole 90 seconds before racing for the steps on Christmas day.
Although it can get pretty choppy there, swimmers in Vico Baths are lucky enough to have the most amazing views out towards Bray Head from one side and towards Sorrento Terrace on the other. I am working on the Dalkey view at the moment having painted the view towards Wicklow in late 2022.
In my most recent painting of Seapoint I have tried to portray its vibrant nature with swimmers, walkers, enthusiasts and shivering onlookers. To many people it’s a truly special place with memories from childhood of days spent at the beach.
This year I am planning to move further afield and paint more of Ireland’s beautiful coastline.
It’s a good excuse to travel and who knows maybe I can find some warmer water in the process (I know this is a polarising topic but I am really starting to see the merits of a Dry Robe – anyone have a spare hardly used one?). Who knows where the future will take me; if you have any suggestions for where I should visit or places to paint, let me know in the comments below!