Just across from Parliament Hill Lido in Hampstead Heath are a series of natural bathing ponds. This piece is inspired by largest of them, the Mixed Pond. Surrounded by beautiful old trees this lush green pool has a magic about it. It wasn’t just how the sunlight sparkled off the water, but how it was sparking smiles on faces and soothing away worries and responsibilities. It was a colour palettes dream, so many stunning shades of green against the beautiful skin tones of all the little figures. A few flashes of hot pink, pick out swim hats and tow floats.
Wild Swimming has seen a huge growth in popularity and when I asked you to share your stories, I was blown away by how many of you are jumping into rivers, star floating in ponds and splashing around in lakes. The Bathing Pond is bursting with these wonderful stories from all across the country and beyond, want to hear about them?
Debbie & her crocs, Alice & Lizanne, Swim Dem Crew Nathaniel & Peigh, Sara Stanley & Ted, Sally, Poppy & Marcus, Grace & Vicky, Alice, Nela & Danny, Philly & the Fish, Dani.
Tracey’s story was the last one I painted in. It felt like fate that there was still the perfect place left for her. I didn’t know her full story and how much it meant to her until I had painted her in. In late 2017 Tracey lost her husband Stephen to Motor Neurons Disease and her world fell apart.
‘Losing Steve had a big impact on my mental health, I was struggling and often told family and friends I was ok when I was not. During lockdown, I took myself outside on walks and my mood started to lift. I became interested in cold water swimming as I’d heard this was good for Mental Health. The Beach was my first swim in cold water, and it was an incredible feeling – this photo was taken of me, it says all about how I was feeling at the time. It may not be for everyone but for me, wild swimming has helped me become me again.’
Painted in memory of their beautiful sister and niece Michelle who featured in an earlier painting, Surf’s Up.
‘Would love to be included. My sister was in your last one and we sadly lost her in December, she bought the print. She was the one who nearly lost her bikini top in the sea. Seems fitting to try and be included. I’ve shoulder length now blonde hair and usually a white patterned swimsuit (kind of tropical) xx’
Theirs is always one…
“We love a bit of wild swimming, usually involves our boys jumping in or paddling in the shallows. And the big kid (Daddy!) swinging on a rope swing whilst us Mums would be trying to keep our hair from getting wet”
Good Luck with that Jade, with Tarzan swinging around!
Two best friends living in the Lake District found a shared love for wild swimming and swimsuits.
Meet Teresa, Tegwin, Natalie and Angela, the self-professed Dawn Twits. These ladies like an early start, skipping into the cold water! It turns out lots of you have these hats, so a quick shout out to ‘The Rother Bobbers’ too!
‘We would be wearing our silly hats and making squeaky noises on the way in. Also, inadvertently swimming with jumping fish, a rogue seal and diving birds.’