Swimming and Painting

There are real affinities between swimming and painting. The first time I considered this in depth was while I was working on a series of paintings about water. These involved the use of an emulsion of castor oil with raw pigments emerged and lodged into the various levels. The pigment, once sifted into the liquid, behaved according to its individual properties of dispersal. It was difficult to control or predict.
The medium had the consistency and color of honey. However its surface oxidised quickly, forming a rubbery skin over the still liquid interior, creating capillaries of liquid oil where pigments moved and merged into colourful patterns. Elements of suspended color, which at a distance took on novel hues and shapes, were events.

La Nuotatrice - detail, 1987, 250 x 185 cm.

As I go for one of the last swims in the sea – a beautiful long swim under an October sun – I think of the portrait of a self then considerably younger than the one swimming along the Amalfi coast today. Creating the painting meant responding to chance with various rhythmic patterns, gliding through time with the purposeful movement of a swimmer.

Dedicated to Virginia