There’s no shadow of a doubt that the cycling season is a momentous occasion with many nail-biting moments. Starting with Giro d’Italia, Tour De France, La Vuelta a España and Tour Of Britain…
I love watching cycling, much like the millions of other fans out there I lap up the excitement, the ups’ and downs’ the trials and tribulations each cyclist has to face throughout a race. To keep those memories alive, I very often found myself browsing the internet looking for those historic moments I remember seeing on the TV, so I can recreate them in my art!
These are some of my favourite fiery moments from the world’s greatest races, I thought I would share them with you. With leads as large as 49 seconds thwarted by the hard work and the effort of the other cyclists, there are so many excellent moments in cycling and it’s hard to remember them all…
Paintings With A Twist
When it comes to choosing a moment to paint, I review hours of footage looking for the perfect mix of emotion and the settings to bring the piece together, allowing each painting to tell its very own story…
Using gloss paint as the base of my paintings I slowly drip it off of my palette knife onto the surface allowing the paint to run free and take its own journey just like each and every cyclist in the race, expressing their freedom and agility in moving…
Once the gloss paint has dried and finished creating its story, I delicately add colour using acrylic paint to add extra detail into the picture to really portray the current situation in the painting, bring it to life. If it is showing the movement around a corner, the determination on their face as they climb a steep hill or even their incredible strength, I make it my job to ensure it’s shown in the painting:
I took it upon myself to capture each and every exciting moment. Be it a lone cyclist breaking out from the peloton or the sheer look of relief on their faces as they pass the finish line…
Burnt out, fed up, after countless rides through steep terrains to build stamina…
The dynamics of the race are ever-changing: a player releases the energy he’d been saving for the end, overtaking the racer in the lead. His determination roars from the scene while he burns through all the energy he has left to win.
The sweltering heat of a Spanish summer puts even more pressure on the cyclists. Dripping with sweat, these racers still push on, proving their love for the sport is as strong as the sunshine.
Tour De France
Celebrating the event which brutally shapes stamina and resistance… Tour de France
This year Tour De France set off from Brest, a maritime town in Brittany, France. This is a culmination of the cyclists hard months of training, preparing them for an even harder challenge of a race.
Spectator Causes Entire Peloton To Crash At Tour de France
This was an unforgettable day in this year’s TDF. The first stage of this year’s TDF will go down in history with the epic crash. Nearly all of the peloton was wiped out when Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) collided with a sign held by the fan, sparking a mass pile-up on Stage 1!
Accidents are inevitable…
Being a rider in Tour de France is challenging due to the long track and accidents that occur are often because of fans who attempt to photograph the cyclists.
“…my shoulder collided with a fan. It’s funny – these things happen at 25 miles an hour and it’s almost like slow-motion replay in my mind. My shoulder came into contact with the lens of an SLR camera. I remember seeing the camera go – I hit the lens of the camera, and he had it up to his face. This guy must have had a broken nose. He ended up in a ditch.” – Dan Martin
What the participants focus on tends to be the track and getting to a destination on time. However, eager photographers on the sides of the road don’t always think about the speed of the riders or the consequences of getting in the way of one.
Another issue with the tour is the psychological fatigue and mental blockade one gets due to lack of privacy and constant stress. Once the mind is exhausted the body finds it hard to carry on. The absence of free time, constant media coverage, and scrutiny make the atmosphere tense and dishearten some participants. That’s where you get accidents, fatigue is a huge cause of them.
“It’s the mental stress, that’s what sets it apart from any of the other stage races” – Alex Dowsett
The foreboding feeling of self-doubt that accompanies a cyclist in the tour can be and often is a huge setback. The company of other people is a blessing, they share your struggles with you. You can motivate each other without the use of words at all. But how does one survive such a tough month?
Well, I have a good example:
“Of course it’s a lot of concentration you need to have. You need adaptation and experience to handle the pressure and that situation… If you can’t handle that, it takes you down.” – Fabian Cancellara
Chris Froome with the triple crown
Britain should be proud of Chris Froome. Here, the Tour de France and La Vuelta winner rockets up from 60th to sixth place on the World Tour rankings – and isn’t afraid to show us how happy he is.
He made it out of only six participants. His destiny was turned upside down during 2011 Vuelta a España he finished second.
He rode the 2012 Tour de France along with first-ever British and Team Sky winner Bradley Wiggins and also finished second. He pulled out on stage 5 with a broken wrist after two crashes. The nickname of his early years as a competitive cyclist was “crash Froome”. Since he came of age in 2013, the equation of the Tour de France seems simple: Froome either crashes or wins.
The strength of Team Sky has been a key factor, which is nothing new. There’s no room for improvisation in their process but interestingly, Froome followed his instinct to take power in an unconventional but efficient way in the downhill of Peyresourde. He combined forces with Peter Sagan to show his physical superiority on the flattish and windy roads leading to Montpellier whereas he was widely expected to dominate the Tour in the uphill finishes once again.
Would you try it?
It was difficult up the steep mountain tracks. Stage 15 was a force to be reckoned with. As much as it is exhausting and a strain at times, it is worth it for the guaranteed feeling of immense accomplishment at the final 21st stage at Champs-Élysées.
The event for which you work all year is completely different to any other race, it is also what led to 2 fractures in one of the participants…
Some have described it as quite brutal, a month of burnout and… fun?
After four months of scrutiny, pressure and physical fatigue the cyclists still go back to future events of Tour de France, it is almost addicting.
The satisfaction of finishing the race at the last stage is rewarding and outweighs the mental stress during the chase to the finish line.
“You’re under this intense scrutiny… psychologically, it isn’t so much the physical effort. It’s the concentration that’s required to sustain yourself for four weeks and survive in this environment.” – Dan Martin
Slovenia’s Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) took home the yellow jersey as the overall winner of the 2021 Tour de France. The 22-year-old finished safely in the peloton at the end of Stage 21 on Sunday in Paris, successfully defending his title in last year’s race.
Tour of Britain 2019
I bring to you all the way from the starting line of Tour of Britain 2019 in Glasgow, on that cold Saturday morning through to the finish line in Manchester, all the exciting moments in the form of art:
Spoiler warning, and congratulations!
I would like to share a massive congratulations to the winner of the Tour of Britain, Mathieu Van Der Poel. What an athlete you are, conquering each and every challenge imaginable to come out on top, completely well deserved!
Also a huge congratulations to Jacob Scott (King of Mountains Title), Matt Holmes (Best British Rider), Matteo Trentin (Cetaphil points jersey), Rory Townsend (Eisberg sprints jersey) and Dylan van Baarle (Wahooligan combativity award)!
And of course, a huge thank you extends to everyone who took part, you all played a vital role in providing such an amazing experience and exciting experience! I will try my best to capture each and every moment!
Cyclists, runners, rock climbers, golfers and rugby players are among the selection of Limited Edition Prints and Original Art that you can discover on my Etsy store. You might just find the inspiration you are looking for! Take a look.
Painting of a house in an evening sky to keep colourful memories of the merry past…
I was recently commissioned to paint this house. It belongs to a couple who lives in that place. For many years it was a cosy nest for the family, place to raise the children, however, as the children have grown up and left the nest, the house became too big and so now the owners are about to sell it.
As the house is made out of dark red bricks it would be best portrayed in the evening sky, surrounded by an intensive blue and orange glare… with the last rays of sunshine flickering from behind the roof.
There are two big windows in the fascia of the house revealing the inside of the living room and the kitchen. It looks really interesting when the light is on inside those rooms, spreading out warm, orange light onto the garden, leaving gleams of yellow and orange on rocks, plants and the grass – blue-green now as the evening approaches. All those colours together: brick-red, orange and yellow, green-blue and the inky sky, create contrast and amazing atmosphere…
I want to focus on the sky. I envisage it to be painted as a gradient of colours ranging from pale yellow and orange through lilac, white-cerulean, violet to an inky blue. I had this photo to help me with the colours:
My first layer of paint was cadmium yellow. I have completely covered the whole sky with that colour. In the place where the rays of sunshine meant to shine through, I would paint in the brightest of the yellow, nearly white.
To achieve the sun glare effect I am spreading white/yellow paint, squeezed directly from the tube, and rub it vigorously with a dry brush. The brush has a very rough bristle. It is important the brush is completely dry so did not touch the water. This method leaves a soft, mist-like effect on the canvas. That will be the sun glare. Notice that, when we look at a very bright light, the edges of objects obscuring the light disappear. Light takes over, spills like water.
The slates of the roof would reflect some colours of the sky, so there, I am adding patches of pink, violet, purple…
When my first layer of the yellow/orange colour which I used to paint the sky is completely dry, I can now overpaint it with the blue. One has to mind here that, the blue will show blue only when the layer of yellow is thoroughly dry. If the yellow wasn’t dry, what colour would I get? Green, of course! Brrr…
The blue is a mixture of cerulean, transparent white (mixing white) and a glazing medium. Glazing medium adds brilliance to the colour without losing transparency, it helps the paint to dry quickly which is great for rapid layering. It also adds viscosity to paint so the brush strokes are invisible hence, the glazing, like on the cake… 😀
I wanted to accentuate the colourful clouds in the sky to capture their movement and changing hues. To achieve that, I have added lines of gloss paint to mark the clouds’ edges, rays of the sun and the transition from blue to orange. Those long and short, vigorous gloss line stokes, evoke the feeling of the air flowing, of a gentle breeze.
I thought that the picture was finished at that point. However, I always see so many colours! I look at the sky and see such a variety! It is really frustrating because I want to be able to mix those colours and paint them. This lack of control greatly distracts me from my painting to the point of damage…
Something didn’t feel right when I looked at my sky…, I thought it was too bright, or lacking contrast…!
I started playing with a variety of colourful glazes, spreading blue, pink, orange, lilac patches across the sky. I’ve added even more gloss…
I wanted to pass this kind of energy: the sky should be calm, as the evening approaches slowly and it becomes blue and darker, going into deeper and deeper shades of the night… Peacefull, beguiling sky…
However, I suddenly realised that the sky I’ve painted in result looked too dramatic, it seemed angry and rough, the clouds were gathering and accumulating. That wasn’t the energy I wanted to transfer through this painting.
To calm the sky down I need to paint it over with another mixture of blue.
I would use washes of blue and paint them over these layers.
I have used my Pantone swatches to find the right blue. The blue I want has the following recipe:
13 parts of Process Blue 3 parts of Reflex Blue
The lighter variation of this colour will contain transparent white.
For Pantone Reflex Blue I’m going to use this combination: cobalt and ultramarine. For Process Blue I’ll use cerulean ink. The ink will give brilliancy to the acrylic colours, the colours won’t shift after dry.
So, this is the result. I hope that, now, the picture conveys the right atmosphere … of peace, love and family time.
So many happy events took place at that house! What is the best way to keep vivid memories of all of them if not in a colourful, original piece of art? A painting which will be taken wherever they go next and hung on the new walls, in a new house, it will become a colourful memory, reminiscence of the happy past…
And you can also have your own colourful memories captured in an original piece of art.
For more information on the commissions I do, click on this link below:
Sketching with watercolour pencils and using the camera on your phone to record your observations.
This vlog is about my artistic endeavours.
I called it ‘Sketchbook Journey’ because my sketchbook would always accompany me when going out, whether out with the dogs in a park, waiting for son at the school or generally going somewhere – you never know what would you observe, in my case, I would always notice something amazing out there…
I’m writing this blog and recording this vlog so to help you understand the ways to perceive the nature and importance of such observations.
I am pointing at the challenges which you may encounter when creating a piece of art and the ways of recording observations of the world using different media such as watercolour pencils or photo editing apps on your phone.
Stage 1: OBSERVATION
What I saw when observing trees in the park.
I was observing the trees in the park and this is what I saw:
The light from the setting sun illuminated the tree trunks, tinted them yellow. The branches were bright like neons, contrasting with the grey-blue sky. In the background, everything became red, pink and orange.
Learn from observing nature.
We can really learn from observing nature. Observing and sketching it live, rushing, as it changes so quickly. This forces us to make quick, bold decisions, focus only on important aspects of your drawing such as the appearance of light and how does it affect the colour.
Stage 2: Recording observations
The watercolour pencils are great for sketches. They can be used like ordinary pencils with a bonus that gives us a quick colour reference.
This is a perfect opportunity to practice mark-making. You can smoodge and overlap strokes, blend colours together. And with a sharp pencil tip, we can use them to define fine lines, details and shapes. Add a bit of water, your drawing will transform into a watercolour painting right before your eyes!
The page in my sketchbook was tinted light blue and coated with Liquitex gesso. The gesso gives the surface a bit of a rough, grainy texture, making the watercolour pencil’s inner lead to rub away and leaving on the paper vibrant, smooth marks
The aim of my sketch
The aim of my sketch was to register the contrast in the sky – reversed light and order of colours. Normally, we see the sky brighter than the rest of the world. Here, the trunks of the trees shine yellow light like neons on a murky blue sky. The branches shine red, like firey tongs, exploding in different directions.
Taking photos and editing them on your phone
I would mostly take a photo rather than a sketch. The good thing about technology is that we can enhance our photos on our phones with a variety of photo apps.
Here, on my iPhone, I was playing with the camera’s setting for:
brightness & contrast,
and markup drawing.
The markup drawing function is so useful because you can draw over your photograph, easily changing the colours as you wish, trying various colour schemes. However, be careful and make sure you save it! It happened to me a few times that I spent an hour drawing on a photo but didn’t save the photo and after all everything was lost.
The yellow and blue, orange and blue, purple and yellow – these are complementary colours, they sit opposite each other on a colour wheel.
The colour theory states that the more different two colours are, the more contrast they produce. Complementary colours offer the greatest contrast.
Just like on this sketch: here the branches are orange which contrasts against the very blue sky. Orange colour is, in fact, a half red colour. It derives from red and yellow… So the stomp branches are red, dark red and contrast with its complementary green. My sky transforms from light-blueish green, well – turquoise (…can you imagine such colour?! :D), into light cyan blue.
I would like you to take a few sketches using watercolour pencils or just standard pencils if you cannot get hold of them.
Your sketch should show: – Various mark making – showing the texture or nature of objects. – Complementary colour palette: For the main body of your drawing choose only the colours between two complementary colours, including them eg: Say you chose red and yellow so choose also their secondary colour – orange and the variety of their tertiary colours and their different hues (yellow-orange, reddish orange, orangy yellow – which is an orange colour more yellow than orange…) Choose a complementary to this range of colours for the background so, in this case: blue, bluish green and green.
Post your results on to my Facebook page or email me with a subject: ‘My sketches of nature’. I will talk and post your achievement on my social media accounts.
Want to see more?
So, this was the first of my many sketchbook journeys.
I would like to know what you think? Whether you have any questions or would like to give feedback, please, leave a comment below.
I would also appreciate if you can subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Thank you for watching and thank you for reading. See you on my next sketchbook journey…
Perspective is about how we see things in space. It can be difficult to understand at first.
However, having the ability to see in perspective is the key to capture something intangible such as the space around us, and enclose this 3D form in a flat, white piece of paper!
Done it right, it can show us the world from an angle beyond ordinary human observation.
One point, two point, three, four points of perspective! – How many points of perspective can we have?
What a variety of unusual angles we can project by connecting just the dots…!
This game is challenging yet, extremely fascinating…
Working on my latest commission, I’ve encountered this problem:
I needed to find the best point of perspective, which in this case would unable the rider to ‘visually’ jump out of the picture.
What would be the best solution?
I have used two point perspective: Twopoint perspective uses two vanishing points placed on the horizon line. Receding lines are drawn from each one of the vanishing points.
The eye of the viewer will follow along these lines to one of the vanishing points.
Parallel, vertical lines are drawn to indicate where the biker ends and his height. The closer that these lines are placed in space to the vanishing points on either side, the longer the form appears.
PLAYING WITH PERSPECTIVE
Once we know how to place an object on the perspective grid, we can play with a variety of arrangements of vanishing points and angles.
Here the vertical parallel lines are angled hence making an illusion of the biker tilting to the right… 😉
I have to admit that when I am painting I can see the objects I paint perfectly arranged on a grid which I mentally draw in my head; and see those objects on the paper before they are being even drawn.
Commission me to create for you a personalised piece that captures you or someone you love in a favourite sporting activity.
It’s a perfect present, so personal and thoughtful, when you give it to that special person in your life: the athlete who you admire and of whom you’re really proud…
On my customized pictures I capture:
– any sport activity
– the colours of your team/gear – so you know where you belong…
– anywhere you want – you can have any landmark in the background to show off your most memorable adventures and achievements.
FROM PHOTOS TO ORIGINAL ART:
If you have any photos, one is all I need, however, even if you haven’t got a photo, description works fine.
Try to order two weeks before the birthday or anniversary.
Prices start from £90 but contact me so we can discuss your best option.