Profile

Drawing

Maxine Dodd is a contemporary watercolour and mixed media artist, originally from Leicester, now lives and works near Market Harborough, Maxine trained in Fine Art at Leicester and Liverpool, in painting, drawing and printmaking. All three disciplines feed into her work, with printmaking appearing again in the form of a small press, recently installed in the studio. It adds a different dimension for fun and experiment. Painting in the form of oils / acrylic has taken a back seat lately in favour of the freshness of watercolour, but never ruled out completely. Making pictures is a process which evolves over time and always surprises.

Maxine drew and painted as a child, encouraged and taught by her mum. She wanted to be an artist from an early age, art was always there. At school, she discovered a love for working in pastels. It was a turning point – and as a result, Maxine went to art college, where the pastels developed into painting in oils on canvas. After leaving college and working on traditional figurative subjects, Maxine began to develop a strand of work based on abstraction which has always been an interest. In fact, abstraction in all forms, from markmaking to composition and colour, is an ever-present cornerstone to her work.

Alongside tradtional painting, drawing in pen and ink and watercolour were always a favourite means of expression and recording things quickly. Watching cricket at the local club and trying to draw the play was a great challenge – living and drawing in the moment was, and remains, really exciting.

Reportage projects with Kettering Symphony Orchestra and Oaklands School in Leicester, were the first instances where Maxine used these techniques and apporaches in a professional capacity for the first time.

In 2012, Maxine drew the Tour de France ‘live’ from the TV broadcasts and posted the images every day as a blog called, Racing Lines. This is still the main platform for sharing and her paintings and drawings.

More about Racing Lines

‘Racing Lines‘ began in 2012 as a ‘reportage’ blog with pictures and a brief article. The pun in the title referring not only to the lines of the drawings but also the text.

I had been working from live action for some time, from local cricket matches, Kettering Symphony Orchestra and a movement and communication project with dancer Liz Clark at Oaklands School in Leicester.

This spontaneous method of working, really excited me, so when I was looking for a focus for a blog in 2012, telling the story of my favourite bike race as it unfolded everyday was a perfect.

Tour de France 2012, Prologue - Sagan slips, but recovers brilliantly - original watercolour, by Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2012, Prologue – Sagan slips, but recovers brilliantly

The image of Peter Sagan at the Prologue was one of the first drawings I made in 2012. In fact, here is the link to the first post. The intention was to draw while the action was taking place – and not stop – just try to record as it happened. It gives risky but exciting results and I work with several pictures simultaneously – generally on the floor with everything spread out.

Materials

The subject guided me to the style, along with the drawing medium of pen and ink that really helped form the images. I have long admired many French artists, from Delacroix and Géricault, Lautrec and Degas, through to Matisse, Nicolas de Staël and Dufy.

They all have great freedom of expression and draw with beautiful lines. Another source of inspiration has been fashion illustration; artists such as René Gruau, Andy Warhol and latterly David Downton who all use ink and lines – along with the ‘white space’ of the paper – to glorious effect, which I love too.

Starting out, Stage 12, by Maxine Dodd, SOLD
Starting out, Stage 12, SOLD

The theme of ‘Racing Lines’ developed to portray speed and movement, often with sport, especially cycling as the subject, (La Vuelta de España and the Tours of Britain and Yorkshire followed), along with rugby, horse racing, cricket. I love the spontaneity of line and working quickly, the challenge to keep up is another race in itself! The medium of pen and ink with watercolour is intense and risky, but quick and responsive, suiting my subject with its twists, turns and bursts of energy.

I was extremely fortunate to have my new work noticed by Sue Brooks of the jGallery in Moulton, Northampton – and Sue offered to show my paintings in what became my first solo show, ‘Twenty Stages‘. It was a very important step and endorsement of the new work that I was making.

Invitation to ‘Twenty stages’ exhibition held at jGallery, Moulton in 2012

Development since 2012..

At times, I’ve added new materials to the pictures, sometimes chalk and watersoluble pastels,, acrylic paint and gouache, but I always start my pictures with the flowing, uncompromising lines of the pen with washes of watercolour. They are the backbone to every piece. 

Cycling Art, Pastel, Fabulous Finish! by Maxine Dodd
Fabulous Finish!

For me, these subjects have great abstract qualities, showing colour and graceful lines. In cycling, the teams’ colours have a rhythm as the riders move – singly or as a group, the flags and banners waved by the crowds of fans, set in the open landscape is perfect for me. It is these elements, along with the energy of the race itself, that I try to show in my pictures.

Away from sport…

Mallorca, art, vacation
The Bougainvillea Villa – SOLD

Alongside sport, I love to draw subjects that reflect life and times, from the wildlife in our garden, our cat, our local landscape, and scenery from holidays – and since the pandemic, news items from hospitals which has moved and inspired greatly.

Operation I – SOLD

There’s always something going on and drawing and painting is a different way of capturing memories… I put the camera phone down and pick up my pen and brushes!

Exhibitions

CyclingCelebrating 10 Years 23 – 28 April 2022
Canon Gallery, Oundle

Royal Institute Painters in Watercolour 209th Mall Galleries, London

Open 32: The People’s Exhibition, Leicester Museum & Art Gallery

Leicester Society of Artists 2021, Newarke Houses Museum, Leicester

Leicester Sketch Club, 2021

Solo exhibitions: ‘Racing Lines, Le Tour’, 2015, Alfred East Gallery, Kettering, jGallery, Moulton Northants’20 Stages‘, jGallery, Moulton, Northants, 2012, awarded Bryan Ward Prize by the Leicester Sketch Club in 2011.

Group exhibitons: from 2003 onwards, Leicester and Kettering Opens, Alfred East Gallery, LSA Annual Exhibitions, ‘Little Selves’, Leicester Museum, New Walk, Leicester, LSC Annual exhibitions various – Open Studios, ‘Art Windows’ regular participant.

Private collections: UK, France, Switzerland, Canada and US

Affiliations: Leicester Society of Artists, Leicester Sketch Club and Harborough Artists Cluster