Euros 2021: Semi-final: ENGLAND v Denmark – Phenomenal Pickford

Euros 2021 - Semifinal, England v Denmark: Phenomenal Pickford Original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd

England in the semifinals was an amazing feat, could they go a step further? The next series of posts show that the answer to that was a resounding ‘Yes!’

Euros 2021 - Semifinal, England v Denmark: Phenomenal Pickford Original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Euros 2021 – Semifinal, England v Denmark: Phenomenal Pickford

Back from Rome to Wembley, with great opponents, Denmark had played with huge strength of character following the traumatic start to their campaign. Sixteen minutes in, goalkeeper Jordan Pickford leapt into the air with John Stones to push a great shot on goal away to safety. Playing a vital part of the team’s performance, Pickford was assertive and strong.

Tour de France 2021: Stage 14 – Solo win! Bauke Mollema

Tour de France 2021 - Stage14, Solo win! Bauke Mollema, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 - Stage14, Solo win! Bauke Mollema, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 14, Solo win! Bauke Mollema

The stage was taken in fine solo style by popular and talented rider Bauke Mollema – the Dutchman broke away from the rest of the breakaway group with 42km to go and won his second Tour stage with over a minute clear, a lovely ride. Cavendish completed before the cut-off time which is all I needed to know!

Now, it’s time to divert back to Wembley for a special football match tomorrow…

My pens are a-quiver!

Tour de France 2021: Stage 14 – Poursuivants

Tour de France 2021 - Stage14, Poursuivants, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 - Stage14, Poursuivants, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 14, Poursuivants

Here is the group again, from the back – and against the light (contre-jour), which I love! Just played with the light and colour here and let the paint do its thing! You can see how the electric pink of Higuita’s jersey ‘ran’ to the left – When watercolour decides to do this, there isn’t much to stop it but I rather liked the effect here…

Tour de France 2021: Stage 14 – The Musketeer

Tour de France 2021 - Stage1, Tour de France 2021 - Stage14, The Musketeer - detail, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 - Stage14, The Musketeer, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 14, The Musketeer

The first stage heading towards the Pyrenees – a tough four days ahead, no doubt. The pace is high, starting at the beginning with this man, Julian Alaphilippe – one of my favourites – He rides with great style and flair. Something of a swashbuckling approach, he’s never dull but rides most selflessly for his team when he needs to.

Definitely the approach of a musketeer!

Tour de France 2021: Stage 13 – No34 – Legend! Mark Cavendish – Sold

Tour de France 2021 - Stage13, No 34 - Legend! Mark Cavendish, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 - Stage13, No 34 - Legend! Mark Cavendish, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage13, No 34 – Legend! Mark Cavendish – Sold

This is a first response to Stage 13, which saw Mark Cavendish take his 34th stage win. It was not an easy victory – and very tight and technical all along – I have so many pictures I want to make from this stage, but football and the Pyrenees are calling, but this image is the first that I am pleased to publish – What a brilliant win!

Incredible – the best sprinter of all time!

Please note, this painting is now sold

Tour de France 2021: Stage 12 – Win! Nils Politt

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 12, Win! Nils Politt, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 - Stage 12, Win! Nils Politt, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 12, Win! Nils Politt

With all the beautiful scenery and scent of lavender, it’s important to remember that there is a race on!

The stage was won by Nils Politt who took a solo victory, while Tadej Pogacar retained the leader’s yellow jersey.

Politt broke away clear with 12km left on the 159.4km run to Nimes after being involved in a long-range 13-man breakaway. It was great compensation for his team Bora-Hansgrohe, who had seen the retirement of team-mate and three-time world champion Peter Sagan prior to the start, through injury.

Sad for the Tour to lose Peter, but Nils was a delighted man and lovely to see him on the podium.

Tour de France 2021: Stage 12 – Summer skies and the scent of lavender

Tour de France 2021 - Stage12, Summer skies and the scent of lavender, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 - Stage12, Summer skies and the scent of lavender, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage12, Summer skies and the scent of lavender

The last scenic painting for now but I really couldn’t resist this view – No mistaking where this is at all! We always think, traditionally, of sunflowers with the Tour de France – and of course, with good reason, but to suddenly see the lavender fields and this beautiful shot from the Tour camera of the peloton riding past these deep violet flowers was something I had to paint.

I can only imagine the scent as they rode past – possibly made everyone just a little drowsy – but must have calmed the nerves, if only for a few seconds?

Tour de France 2021: Stage 12 – A beautiful day!

Tour de France 2021 - Stage12, A beautiful day! Original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 - Stage12, A beautiful day! Original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage12, A beautiful day!

After the drama of Mont Ventoux, Stage 12, seemed to be a day when the peloton took control and everyone slowed down a bit! Who could blame them?

Here is a gorgeous scene, typical Tour, with a lovely peloton, a beautiful day, a flag and a fan taking a photo – what more could we want? Perfection!

Tour de France 2021: Stage 11 – Ventoux vision

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 11, Ventoux Vision, original watercolour by Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 - Stage 11, Ventoux Vision, original watercolour by Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 11, Ventoux Vision

Mont Ventoux nearing the climax of the stage – The road was heaving with people, all the way up, more or less – Just a remarkable sight to see.

Here, I have juxtaposed two views of the same scene, looking straight up with the people – and also the view to the side where the blue sky meets the side of the mountain. You can make out shapes of flags and motorbikes but it was very dreamlike – to me only – I’m sure that the climb twice in one day was more than real to the riders!

Tour de France 2021: Stage 11 – Ventoux Here they come!

Tour de France 2021 - Stage11, Ventoux reality, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 - Stage11, Ventoux reality, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 11, Ventoux reality

Mont Ventoux as the riders reach the climb for the first time – This time high up through the branches of the pine trees, which do grow there, at least at this point. The climb leaves the trees behind the higher it goes.

Lots of people, motobikes, flags all the fanfare and hurrah as the Tour arrives on the mountain.. the first time.

Tour de France 2021: Stage 10 – A beautiful leadout, No.33 for Cavendish – SOLD

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 10, A beautiful leadout, original watercolour by Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 - Stage 10, A beautiful leadout, original watercolour by Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 10, A beautiful leadout – Sold

Something in the air…. definitely proved to be right – The crosswinds blew, the echelons formed, but the Deceuninck–Quick-Step team protected their missile, ready for the perfect leadout by Michael Mørkøv – all of them rode their hearts out, taking turns for him. Michael Mørkøv and Mark Cavendish are the dream combination and once launched, the Missile fired home – to Stage win No.33!

So close now… He must do it!

Please note – this painting has now sold

Tour de France 2021: Stage 10 – Chartreuse Green

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 10, Chartreuse Green - Original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 - Stage 10, Chartreuse Green - Original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 10, Chartreuse Green

Stage 10 saw the race resume in sunshine! A long stage and everything geared towards the sprinters and notably, Mark Cavendish – so much pressure for him to take another stage win and edge nearer to that magic target – He looked calm as he set out and set his stall out for the stage win by not going for the intermediate sprint.

The route passes through the area where the famous green-yellow drink Chartreuse originates, which seems highly appropriate today –

Even the landscape is a gorgeous mix of greens, as you can see…

Tour de France 2021: Stage 9 – Battling the Elements!

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 9, Battling the elements! Original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 - Stage 9, Battling the elements! Original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 9, Battling the elements

Stage 8 was awful, but the weather on Stage 9 saw a fall of rain of almost biblical proportions – Just horrendous. Cast your mind back to the last time the Tour attempted to finish in Tignes, in 2019, when a landslide caused a dramatic change of plan – Seeing this torrent of rain, it’s easier now to understand why that landslide happened.

My painting shows the Ineo Grenadiers rounding a bend greeted by a group of saturated, caped figures, so wet that you feel the spots might run off… The fans are dedicated too, as members this strange order populated the route throughout – incredible.

A truly dreadful day – mercifully the Rest Day tomorrow.

Hot baths everyone?

Tour de France 2021: Stage 8 – Pogacar attacks, Carapaz goes with him

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 8, Pogacar attacks, Carapaz goes with him! Original watercolour, pen and ink
Tour de France 2021 - Stage 8, Pogacar attacks, Carapaz goes with him! Original watercolour, pen and ink
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 8, Pogacar attacks, Carapaz goes with him!

Well, another long title but it goes with the preceding image of Davide Formolo, who was part of this move – with one last grimace, he pulled away to the side, and Pogacar made his move. The only rider able to follow him was Richard Carapaz, Ineos Grenadiers, but even he couldn’t keep up with the reigning champion for long.

The glance behind, almost to see who has the audacity to follow, is a treat – Carapaz is full of grim determination, but you just know that he will be spitting Pogacar’s mud from his teeth before long.

The reigning champion went on to regain the Yellow Jersey at the end of this stage – Not surprising really, he is on outstanding form.

Wow!

Tour de France 2021: Stage 8 – The Grimace of a man with rain in his face

Tour de France - Stage 8, The Grimace of a man with rain in his face, original watercolour by Maxine Dodd
Tour de France - Stage 8, The Grimace of a man with rain in his face, original watercolour by Maxine Dodd
Tour de France – Stage 8, The Grimace of a man with rain in his face

This has to be the longest title of a picture of mine but I felt poor Davide Formolo of UAE Team Emirates deserved it – The camera seemed to catch him as the rain was full in his face, spitting it away almost.

In fact, this scene preceded what for me was a fantastic moment from the stage – Davide peeled away seconds later to allow his teammate Tadej Pogacar to speed through, almost relishing the conditions – Great team work by Formolo in the dreadful conditions

Still grim!

Tour de France 2021: Stage 8 – An Awful, wet day!

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 8, Awful, wet day! Original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 - Stage 8, Awful, wet day! Original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 8, Awful, wet day!

What a contrast to Stage 7! Not only did the sunshine go in but the rain well and truly came down! Conditions were awful really – made even more dangerous because it was the first mountain stage, not only with serious climbing but serious descending too – very tricky and tough.

This image shows Mattia Cattaneo battling through the wet at 144.2km.

Grim!

Tour de France 2021: Stage 7 – Honey Houses

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 7, Honey houses, watercolour by Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 - Stage 7, Honey houses, watercolour by Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 7, Honey houses

Another typical view of France as the great race progresses – This time through a town where the houses are the most beautiful shade of honey pink – with shutters either open or closed, but really couldn’t be anywhere else! Very pretty and much missed by travellers this past 18 months!

This is also a new format – a larger square shape which is great for most compositions. This one is 28cm x 28cm (11in x 11in), which is a square version of A4 – It’s a nice size, gives room for some gestural marks!

Have a great day! 🙂

Tour de France 2021: Stage 7 – Sunshine Climb

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 7, Sunshine Climb, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 - Stage 7, Sunshine Climb, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 7, Sunshine Climb

This moment is another classic Tour scene beautiful countryside, but climbing in the mountains – The red Polka Dots will take centre stage over the next few days as the race moves to the Alps – This could be seen as the calm before the first mountain storm perhaps?

This is also a new format – a longer panorama shape which is great for showing a vista like this. This one is narrower and longer than usual at 9cm x 38cm (3.5in x 15in), which is quite close to a banner!

Have a great day! 🙂

Tour de France 2021: Stage 6 – In Green – Mark Cavendish

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 6, Cavendish in Green! Original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 - Stage 6, Cavendish in Green! Original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 6, Cavendish in Green!

The triumphant Return of the Manx Missile, Mark Cavendish continued today – as he returned to Chateauroux, the scene of his very first victory at the Tour in 2008.

Cavendish claimed his 32nd stage win at the Tour de France moving another step closer to the all-time record of 34 held by Belgian legend Eddy Merckx.

The emotion of the moment overwhelmed him yet again, and the tears and hugs flowed, but it’s a sight for sore eyes as the saying goes.

At the start of the race, Cavendish needed five stages to pass Eddie Merckx record of 34 stage wins, so now it’s two down, three to go.

Another fantastic achievement in this remarkable career – What will he do next?

Have a great day! 🙂

Tour de France 2021: Stage 5 – Pogačar waits…

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 5, Pogačar waits, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 - Stage 5, Pogačar waits, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 5, Pogačar waits

Stage 5 was an absorbing and close run time-trial – and my chance to see the faces of each rider as they wait to start their lap. I find this brief glimpse very interesting – not only from a technical point of view – to achieve a likeness for a start, not to mention the reflections on the glass of the helmet and so on – but here is the chance to look into the eyes of a rider and see their character perhaps?

This example is of defending champion Tadej Pogačar – who looks even younger this year than last when he won! He is a terrific cyclist – the complete racer I feel, very exciting to watch and this stage is where he set his stall out – He won it in great style – and although Mathieu van der Poel – very gifted and young too – retained the Yellow today, something in the gaze of Pogačar makes me think that it won’t be his for much longer…

For now he waits and will strike when the time is right.

Euros 2021: England lions roar!

Euros 2021 - Ukraine v England, Kane goal No1!

Gosh! England were good! A fantastic performance saw four goals against Ukraine in the quarter final match played in Rome.

Both sets of fans were restricted in numbers to the Stadio Olympico due to travel restrictions, but they were all in good voice, and speaking personally, it was great to see a Leicester City flag prominently on display!

Euros 2021 - Ukraine v England, Shaw's pass to Harry!
Euros 2021 – Ukraine v England, Foxes in the house!

The first goal came only four minutes in, with a super shot from Captain Harry Kane, sliding to the ground, following a beautiful pass from Sterling…

Euros 2021 - Ukraine v England, Shaw's pass to Harry!
Euros 2021 – Ukraine v England, Kane goal No1!

The second came straight after halftime in the 46th minute, with a superb set piece free kick. The most delectable cross from Luke Shaw flew across to the head of his Manchester United teammate, Harry Maguire, who slammed the ball home in great style. There were big hugs of thanks between them.

Euros 2021 - Ukraine v England, Shaw's pass to Harry!
Euros 2021-Ukraine v England, BigHugs! Maguire and Shaw

I made two pictures to show this, a little panorama dyptich to show the drama!

Euros 2021 - Ukraine v England, Shaw's pass to Harry!
Euros 2021 – Ukraine v England, Shaw’s pass to Harry!
Euros 2021 - Ukraine v England, Onto Maguire!
Euros 2021 – Ukraine v England, Onto Maguire!

The third was another header, and a second for Harry Kane. The move began with the most audacious flick of the ball from behind by Raheem Sterling, across to Luke Shaw who sent the ball across just as before, beautiful move, different Harry! I need to make the Sterling Shaw part of this goal but haven’t worked it right yet, but I will add later on.

Euros 2021 - Ukraine v England, Onto Maguire!
Euros 2021 – Ukraine v England, Leaping header for Harry!

Finally, header number three, in the 63rd minute, but header No1 for Jordan Henderson who scored his very first goal after 63 caps for England. What a way to seal the win and secure a place in the semifinal against Denmark back in London at Wembley… The England team is coming home… is football?

Euros 2021 - Ukraine v England, Onto Maguire!
Euros 2021 – Ukraine v England, Incredible Henderson header!

Here are my drawings!

Euros 2021: England expects…

Euros 2021 - England v Germany, Grealish Pass, original watercolour by Maxine Dodd

We are waiting, hoping and praying for more of this…come on England!

Euros 2021 – England v Germany Sterling Strike!
Euros 2021 – England v Germany, Grealish Pass
Euros 2021 – England v Germany, Kane header
Euros 2021 – England v Germany, Kane that header!

Tour de France 2021: Stage 4 – Return of the Manx – Mark Cavendish

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 4 - Mark Cavendish rips up the Rule Book! original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 - Stage 4 - Return of the Manx! original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 4 – Return of the Manx!

Tuesday 29th June 2021 is a very special day for British sports fans, well of cycling and football certainly. It will live long in my mind that’s for sure.

In the evening, England progressed to the quarter finals of the Euros with a win against Germany, but earlier in the day, Stage 4 of the Tour de France was won in classic style by Mark Cavendish – to the astonishment of most viewers and pundits alike.

The much-loved rider from the Isle of Man has had some awful luck one way or another for some time and yet still held the belief that his story with the Tour de France, his favourite race, was not yet told.

Well, this is a lovely chapter! The finish line was approaching and it looked as though no sprint would happen; Brent Van Moer (Lotto Soudal) held onto a gap into the last kilometre, until the peloton charged him down.

Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) launched the sprint but Cavendish exploded past him and held on to take victory; the 31st Tour stage win of his career.

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 4 -Big hugs! original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 4 -Big hugs!

The emotion of the moment overwhelmed him, (and me!) as the tears flowed, he clasped and hugged his teammates one by one and then went round again!

At the start of the race, Cavendish needed five stages to pass Eddie Merckx record of 34 stage wins, so now it’s one down, four to go.

Whatever happens, his record even as it stands now, far outnumbers the stage wins of other sprinters of his generation, all of whom are phenomenal, but The Manx Missile really is the greatest of them all. To me… he’s a gem!

Make no mistake, the Manx Missile is back!

Have a great day! 🙂

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 4 - Mark Cavendish rips up the Rule Book! original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 4 – Mark Cavendish rips up the Rule Book!

Tour de France 2021: Stage 3 – A sunny moment

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 3, A little sunshine! Original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 3, A Sunny moment!

This moment was a classic Tour scene from Stage 3, beautiful countryside, with a lovely Breton flag waving at the side of the road by a small group of spectators and a small breakaway group with the long road before them and some race vehicles ahead in the distance…

Just my thing!

Have a great day! 🙂