Following a wonderful and inspiring day at Cheltenham Races and a subsequent afternoon at Wincanton Race Course, I am thrilled to have completed a horse racing painting as a commission for a gift.
I have painted the amazing Dodging Bullets who has been described as a legend by trainer Paul Nichols.
Just to give a little background information, Dodging Bullets was bred by Jockey, Frankie Dettori and trained from 2011 by Paul Nichols. He hit the peak of his career by winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase, Chelthenham in 2015 with jockey Sam Twiston Davies.
My painting was inspired by this race with the remit being that the piece be painted in sepia tones with a splash of red and green for the jockey’s colours. In my usual way, I looked to bring movement and action to the piece and Ioved every moment! It is quite a sizeable painting, at 100cm x 60cm. My wonderful framers, House of Talbot, then took one look at the finished piece and offered an amazing frame – a metallic “horse hoof” effect type moulding. Perfect!
I’m happy to say that Dodging Bullets is now enjoying retirement with Lucy Sharp who works for Paul Nichols and I think that the very touching blog post by Harry Derham explains all:
I would like to say a huge thank you to Dianne and Derek Coles, Ryan Direct Group who made the inspiring visits to Cheltenham and Wincanton possible. I have some really lovely memories and a huge number for photos for future paintings.
Anyone who knows me will understand that I thrive on a challenge and love to capture motion and action in sporting images.
Last year I was delighted to be able to give prizes for the winners of four races by presenting paintings to each crew.
The top image is Globe Rowing Club - J164x
The second image is Josh Armstrong - Championship 1x
The third image is Henley Rowing Club Girls J164x
I believe that there are well over 200 entrants to the Regatta this year and the organisation and running of the event is truly amazing. This year, weather pending, I am hoping to do some painting on the banks of the water after setting up my base in the merchandise area!
I will be there on both the Friday and Saturday and hope to meet lots of the inspiring people taking part in the Regatta!
If you are going on either day, please do come and see me :-)
Nature is wonderful. Whether we are just tired of the winter months of dreaming of summer months ahead, the arrival of spring simply has a "certain something". It seems to gently make an appearance with an array of colours that lift the senses, seemingly to a new level each time we see them. With transparent yellows in daffodils and primroses to a blue in bluebells that is difficult to identify in any palette, the colours simply glow. Moving then towards the pinks of blossom and lilacs of wisteria, the colours compliment and warm towards the summer months. It is both intoxicating and irresistible.
I arrived in Cheltenham ridiculously early so as to avoid the traffic and then enjoyed the next couple of hours in the Pitville Pump Rooms soaking up the atmosphere (together with a hearty fried breakfast!). The rooms were buzzing, racing papers on the tables and outside, the Guinness bar was equally well attended.
I walked up to the entrance to meet my hosts for the day and, without a cloud in the sky, we walked through the crowds towards hospitality where, thankfully I would have a base to wander and return for a welcome lunch and later cup of tea. With my bet placed on the tote, I then set off with camera to explore.
The horses for the first race were beginning to parade. Beautiful, fit and spirited horses, I could watch them all day. The jockeys mounted and they made their way down the enclosed lanes towards the race track. Along with much of the crowd, I slowly moved towards the finishing line of the track and was able to catch glimpses of the horses as the raced round. The finish has to be experienced – the crowd go mad! It’s a roar!
I lost my first bet!
With the huge volume of people there, I was surprised as to how much you can see. It is extremely well organised and it would seem you can choose the type of day you wish – some stay in the grandstand and enjoy each race from a height, others wander and some appear to stay and watch from the Guinness Welcome area! The festival really is a spectacle and has an atmosphere hard to describe.
After race three I decided to go back to hospitality and sit down for a much needed cup of tea. And from the table, it was possible to watch and enjoy race 4. So much to take in, the races follow on quite quickly. So then back out for the next race. By now the sun is getting low and I am finding the photography easier and more exciting, lots of shadows and atmosphere.
This time I decided to see if I could get to the start line and it was easier to get to the front. It was great to feel the anticipation of the start and fabulous to watch the horses ready for the race ahead. Thankfully I don’t think there were many injuries on the day, although there were a few dismounts and a couple of horses finishing the race on their own. The horses look hot when finishing, their coats glossy with perspiration and veins prominent on the skin, but I know that these very treasured horses are well cared for and are all in the most fabulous condition.
It was time to bid a fond farewell to my hosts and make my way back home to Somerset. The atmosphere on the way out leaving the festival was still amazing and friendly – free bottles of water and smiles. This will be a day that I will never forget and I have just a few photos for inspiration