Swimming to Dutch Island


The Joys of Swainting!

Now that the weather has turned, my swainting days are over for the year.

Because of my “Paint the Bay” project, 21 Months-147 Miles-Painting the Bay, I have had the opportunity to dovetail two of my favorite pursuits into a single event, think Triathlon or the Nordic Biathlon. I decided to call it Swainting!

Plural swaintings

  • Propel the body through water by using the limbs and then cover the surface of something with paint.
  • Cover the surface of something with paint and then propel the body through water by using the limbs.

Example: “She was so relaxed from an afternoon of swainting she could watch the news without uttering a single curse.”

The picture above is the result of a lovely afternoon of swainting. First I swam with the indomitable URI Bay Campus GSO crowd on their 38th annual Dutch Island swim. Once on the island, after a sip or two of celebratory Champaign, I set to painting the lighthouse in watercolor and gouache. Luckily there was a boat to return my painting and me to shore an hour later.

There seems to be a synergistic serenity effect from painting and swimming within a short time frame.

IMG_1525Here is an example of a swaint-produced piece where the painting came before the swim. I prefer to swim first then paint but in a pinch, this can work well.

Both directions cause a euphoric decompression of stress. I find swimming first will set the stage for a relaxed painting, which can greatly enhance both your experience of painting and the painting itself. If the situation calls for the swim to follow the painting however, you will still experience a joyful rise in serotonin and endorphins. (Look to a future blog for the connection between being near, or in water and brain chemistry.)

Other swaint products:


Advice on Swainting:

  • Don’t swaint alone!
  • Use common sense about the areas you choose to set up your easel and dip into the water. Be aware of poison ivy and rip currents.IMG_1757
  • Remember to pack sunscreen along with your paints. A towel is a good idea, too.
  • If you plan a tri-swaint outing, (swim–paint-swim) I highly recommend a swim buoy for packing your painting gear.

Can’t swim? Well then, kayainting might be your sport.



About Lorena Pugh

I'm a Rhode Island artist sharing some work on these blogs

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