Mark Covell, The Boat Project and a Portrait

My Tactile Portrait collection was beginning to build up and I found my next sitter right on my doorstep in Emsworth.

I read in the Portsmouth Evening News  about Mark Covell. The Technical Advisor involved in the building of a yacht called THE BOAT PROJECT.  Commissioned for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

The 30ft day sailor yacht was made of various wooden items donated by members of the public.  These were to be embedded in the structure and the stories associated with the objects to be recorded and later made into a book The Lone Boat Project. I loved the idea and I donated the brushes I used to paint the Tactile painting of the Mary Rose ship, now in the Museum.

Mark Covell  agreed to meet me at the studio and for me to paint his portrait.

In only took minutes into his interview for me to realise that he was such an  interesting man.  The first thing he told me is that he is ‘wonderfully dyslexic’ and proudly told me that as a result, he has achieved so much with his life, none of which would have happened if he could read and write.

As a school boy his father encouraged him to create his own CV, made up of experiences that most young people would not dream of trying.  Climbing Mountains, breaking records for Windsurfing, walking  95 miles along the South Downs. were just some of his achievements.

He  became an apprentice to a boat builder in Bosham, a skilled sailor and went on to gain a worldwide reputation after winning a Silver Medal at the Sydney Olympics.

He later returned to the studio for me to take a few photographs.  Having met on numerous occasions I was surprised at how unwell he looked that day.   He told me  he was just tired. Time was limited and I had to  photograph  him,sadly they did not show the normal cheery person he is.   That night he had a heart attack and is lucky to be alive.

When he saw the completed painting he said ” you painted how I felt that day”.

Mark has added photography to his numerous skills. He  filmed the Volvo Round the World Race and worked as a producer on a documentary.  Always busy and loving life. Another remarkable man included in my collection ‘I AM NOT WHO YOU THINK I AM.