paintings on race day

This morning I did an adventure race with Ethan, my 11 year old son.  We were team “Made in China” which I am sure will agree is a great name for a team.  We ran 3kms  and rode 10kms on a fruit farm near Elgin.  I have not run any distance for more than 15 years so it was quite tough for me to keep up with Ethan.  But in the cycle we were more equally matched.  Each leg included a swim of sorts in one of the farm dams – which was lovely and cool and refreshing. 

At the end of the race everyone lounges around on the grass and chats while they hand out prizes to the heroes of the day.  As we sat I did what I have been wanting to do for ages.  I took out my portable set and did some watercolour paintings of the people sitting round in my group.  For the first one I was a bit nervous and did not concentrate on shapes and colours.  And, by the time I had finished the contour drawing everyone had moved.  But I ploughed on, and this is what I did:


OK – nice in places (like the curates egg).

Then I did another of Neil and Marlene who were sitting back to back.  


mmmm – OK.  Then Neil found a comfortable place to sit with his back to a tree and I settled down a little and did this:


This was a lot of fun and I crossed a barrier of sorts.


6 thoughts on “paintings on race day

  1. These are great Stephen, very loose and painterly. I love your palette choice.
    It is so hard painting in front of people. I always admire people that can do it. I remember way back in art school having to do it a lot and I did not enjoy it at first but once I got over the initial fear I actually learned to really like it. I haven’t done it for so long I am sure that I would be a wreck now. I have thought about doing some life drawing drop in sessions but I always find a reason not to go …big chicken am I.

  2. Hey Maria – It isn’t easy is it? I found it hard to look at the people long enough to see the shapes – a world of issues swirled around there – maybe that’s why the faces are a blur – It is good to hear your experience – I am hoping to get over this and enjoy this too. I once had a redneck swear at me on a bus when I was drawing him – now is as good a time as any to get over this. Most people don’t mind being painted and go along with the event.
    Ah yes – life-drawing – I will let you know when I stop making the same excuses – Cheers hey – Stephen

  3. I love these. And so brave of you to draw and paint LIVE people IN FRONT OF THEM! And to do a run with your 11 year old son is really, really, really brave! I really like these very much.

    • thanks Carol – this is great fun and I am keen to do this again soon – the run… my legs are still stiff – but it felt good to be out there. Cheers hey

  4. These ARE a lot of fun.
    Do you know the watercolours of August Rodin? He has some very pale sketches of dancers and nudes.
    I was reminded of them with your sketches here. They are obviously done from the people sitting about and have great freshness – a sought after quality in w.c. – and dynamic energy.

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