The art of swimming
A reflection about the passion and creative spirit behind swimming, by Langebaan artist and owner of the Pumpkin House Art Hub, Hanli Theron:
“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.” That’s a quote from the American painter and poet Robert Wyland. Read it again.
If you are a wild swimmer and creatively inclined you have all the tools to succeed in life. We are all born with creative abilities and we have all spent our first nine months in water. A match made in heaven!! During the past few years my involvement with open-water swimming has led me to believe that there are so many similarities between wild swimming and art.
I have met amazingly talented and creative people who are also swimmers and this has been an interesting correlation to observe.
I decided to spend some time thinking about the special qualities these people had. I would definitely name Passion as the most important bond. The wild swimmer has the desire to swim, no matter the conditions. There is a deep dedication to the life-giving water, and a drive to incorporate the swimming as a vital part of their life.
So too does the artist have the same desire to create and to dedicate their life to bringing beauty into existence. Second to this is the feeling of Freedom that both the swimmer and the artist experiences when immersed in their activity. A love of Nature is evident in both these groups. The swimmer is so totally surrounded by nature, dependent on the forces of nature and physically in touch with nature when swimming. The artist on the other hand is “touched” by Nature, depends on nature to inspire and is often very involved in matters of nature conservation.
There is a deeply meditative link between the swimmer and the artist, both using their action to, “be in the moment”, to empty their mind from the daily concerns and to “escape” for a while. The swimmer develops Endurance and Commitment. The artist needs Perseverance and Determination to continue.
Both these groups are open to an element of Fear. The wild swimmer often swims in uncertain terrain, quick-changing conditions and unfriendly (think shark or jellyfish) territory. The artist works in an environment of criticism, open to censure and condemnation. A sense of Achievement is the most positive similarity between the wild swimmer and the artist. Both feel elated when a goal is reached. And goal-setting is always a desideratum.
When both the swimmer and the artist start believing in their own capability, self confidence develops and the world is their oyster. The swimming community is a family and support one another in the water and on dry land. Artists join in groups and share their innovative energy with each other, merging them in to productive and creative families. This type of support brings a special understanding and trust amongst the members of the units.
By observing these similarities I truly believe that both the swimmer and the artist can benefit from each other, work and reach goals together. Their way of perceiving is their trademark.
As always, be Inspired.
From a swimming artist,
PS: “artists” refers to all creative genres!