A wider perspective

La Course, Champs-Élysées, by Maxine Dodd

Hello! I’ve been out and about a bit this week, including a visit to a local art group where we were looking at composition using a panorama. I think it’s a wonderful format which can be used for many subjects. It allows scope for storytelling, (the Bayeux Tapestry being one of the earliest and largest examples) cartoons and film all use the format – and you can do interesting things by turning it up on its end. Many cameras and phones offer a panorama setting these days, so it’s fun to try some. Have a lovely weekend! Here are some of my panoramas:

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La Course by Le Tour de France 2015: Paris Champs-Élysées

La Course, Paris, by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! La Course at Le Tour de France is a new women’s race initiated last year to great acclaim. It precedes the final stage of the men’s Tour and provides exciting racing on the Champs-Élysées. The racers include the best in the world today (including some from the Women’s Tour in Kettering only a few weeks ago). The conditions were simply awful! The rain was torrential and the roads treacherous. The sprint to the finish saw the win for Anna van der Breggen, a worthy winner. This was an outstanding race, amazing to see.  Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 21 – Sèvres, Grand Paris Seine Ouest to Paris Champs-Élysées

Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting Team Sky riding to victory, Stage 21 by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! Stage 21, the final stage in Paris sets the seal on the Tour. Regarded by some as a procession or show stage, there is still the matter of the Yellow Jersey completing the course before the phenomenal final sprint on the Champs-Élysées. Not quite so predictable on this occasion, as the roads were made treacherous by torrential rain. The day in Paris began as last year, with the new women’s race, La Course. I felt compelled to include this as the racing was just outstanding. (A full post especially dedicated to it will follow) After this breathtaking race, the men’s Tour exploded onto the great Paris streets, with another momentous victory for Andre Greipel. What an extraordinary Tour this has been? Just wonderful! As a British fan, I share the delight for Team Sky and Chris Froome – a great achievement for them. Congratulations! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 20 – Modane Valfréjus to Alpe d’Huez

Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting, Dutch corner, Stage 20, by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! Stage 20, the final stage in the Alps and probably the hardest of them all, as the route peaks on the magnificent and notorious Alpe d’Huez. It’s demanding, tough and lined with more fans than you could ever imagine. This was a mesmerising stage, with astonishing breakaways from Valverde and of course Nairo Quintana, who pushed Chris Froome and Team Sky to their limits. The stage win went to an exultant Thibaut Pinot, but the Yellow Jersey stayed with Chris Froome. So after four immense days, we’re set for Paris!  Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 19 – Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to La Toussuire – Les Sybelles

Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting Chaos on the mountains, Allez! Stage 19, by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! Stage 19 continued in the Alps. It was a really tough day for everyone – even the smooth progress of Team Sky appeared to unravel after a quick breakaway from Valverde and Contador left them reeling. Suddenly Chris Froome was racing virtually alone as his team-mates fell away. For British fans, the saddest demise was that of super G, Geraint Thomas, who simply ‘had nothing left’. A controversial break at the close of the stage gave last year’s winner Vincenzo Nibali his chance to restore his self-confidence with a the stage win. Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 18 – Gap to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne

Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting How did they get that up there? Lacets de Montvernier, Stage 18, by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! Stage 18 was arguably the best this year. As a course, it had everything. It was a long stage which began on the flat, ascended several hard climbs, some 1:10, with descents to match! The climax came at the the end, where the course followed the most remarkable road known as the Lacets de Montvernier, the ‘shoe laces’ which has 17 turns on its path up the sheer mountain face. People were perched on the top waiting for the riders. Simply amazing! It was an incredible race for the key players and delight for the French fans, who had the stage winner in Romain Bardet, while following hot on his heels was Pierre Rolland. C’est magnifique! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 17 – Digne-les-Bains to Pra Loup

Enough, Tejay, Stage 17, by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! Stage 17 followed the rest day and marked the beginning of the final section of this year’s Tour. It was the first of four gruelling days in the Alps, with all that goes with them; dramatic scenery, gut-wrenching climbs, toe-curling descents and roads strewn round the mountains like ribbons. This stage cruelly claimed Tejay van Garderen, the American rider, in third place at the start, but he broke down and could go no further. By complete contrast, the wonderfully-bearded Simon Geschke, claimed his first Tour stage win, brilliantly climbing and descending to the finish. In the race within the race, there was great riding and sportsmanship between Nairo Quintana and Chris Froome who battled to the finish line. Sky keep the yellow but they can’t lose concentration for one minute! What a start to the finish? Simply amazing! Here are my drawings:

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In case you were wondering… all the paintings are original and for sale. To find out more about them and how to buy, click here or Picture Information

ALL IMAGES COPYRIGHT MAXINE DODD

Tour de France 2015: Stage 16 – Bourg-de-Péage to Gap

Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting Coming up the hill, part one, Stage 16, by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! Stage 16 was the prelude to the final climbing stages in the Alps. This stage again followed a long, hot course through dramatic scenery. This stage had two hard climbs but was really more about the infamous descent into Gap. This road has seen many riders come to grief and Sky’s Geraint Thomas fell prey to it this time with a very nasty fall. Heroic descender Peter Sagan worked his magic, weaving his way down the mountains, hoping for his first stage win only to be pipped into second place yet again by a remarkable ride from Rubén Plaza. Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 15 – Mende to Valence

Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting Greipel wins! Stage 15 by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! Stage 15 pressed on through the stunning scenery beside the rivers Ardèche and Rhone towards the Alps. The conditions were hot with the Tramontane wind’s influence. In spite of the hills and climbs, there was a chance for the sprinters on the flat at the finish – really the last before Paris, so there was much to chase for the key riders. Team Katusha looked strong in the earlier part of the stage, Team Sky continued to hold their position, but the excitement came at the close, where four sprinters charged for the line. Another great performance from Andre Greipel who took the win, although the Green Jersey remained with Peter Sagan. Here are my drawings:

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Just in case you were wondering…the pictures featured here are available to buy. The Picture Information page has full details about them including; sizes, framing and prices. You can order a painting by email on maxine@maxinedodd.com
Thanks very much! 🙂

All images copyright Maxine Dodd

Tour de France 2015: Stage 14 – Rodez to Mende

Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting SOLD - Haring to victory, Stephen Cummings, by Maxine Dodd, SOLD

Bonjour! Stage 14 passed through some of the most stunning scenery so far on this Tour – the stars of the stage being, arguably, Les Gorges du Tarn. Back down to earth with the bike race and Team Sky held their place, but the wonderful surprise came from a British rider, Stephen Cummings, who took the stage win for his team MTN-Qhubeka – the perfect celebration for Nelson Mandela day!  Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 13 – Muret to Rodez

Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting Group descent, by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! Stage 13 came down the slopes and back into the sunshine but accompanied by oppressive heat. The terrain was deceptive, long flat roads suddenly reaching hills, passing through pretty towns set on the river Tarn, just lovely! In the race, special mention for popular French rider Jean-Christophe Péraud, who had a very serious fall, yet managed to battle on and complete the stage. The win went to Greg van Avermaet who pipped Peter Sagan to the post.  Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 12 – Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille

Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting Kwiatkowski, Elements being thrown everywhere and everyone, by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! Stage 12, the final one in the Pyrenees, where the weather gods seem to punish all and sundry! From sunshine to hail, with driving wind and rain, it was a gruelling stage. There was a great spell by World Champion, Michał Kwiatkowski who with Vanmarcke lead for some distance, but the day belonged to Joaquim ‘Purito’ (the little cigar) Rodriguez, who rode a phenomenal last stretch to conquer the mountain. Wow! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 11 – Pau to Cauterets

Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting Phenomenal descent by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! Stage 11 saw the second day in the Pyrenees with a course that included two notorious climbs, the Col d’Aspin and the Col du Tourmalet. The climbs are so hard but the speed in the descents is hair-raising! So many close shaves and near misses – even a herd of cows – adroitly dodged by Warren Barguil. The crowds were out in force, tents caravans and bikes everywhere. Majka took the win and Team Sky continue to pursue their goal with skill and determination. A great day! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 10 – Tarbes to La Pierre-Saint-Martin

Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting Froomey dances to victory! by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! Stage 10 on Bastille Day, was the first of three days in the Pyrenees, following a great course through the foothills, up into the mountains and finishing with a testing climb. The dazzling performance of the day came from Chris Froome, who broke away with 6km to go and left everyone behind, almost dancing on the bike up to the finish. This was an astounding performance, securing the King of the Mountains jersey as well as retaining Yellow. He won on Bastille day the year he won the Tour, perhaps too soon to assume that history will repeat itself, but we’ll see. This win was one to relish!
Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 9 – Vannes to Plumelec

Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting BMC, World Champs, by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! A team time-trial provided the excitement on Stage 9, before the rest day and the first real mountain stages in the Pyrenees on Tuesday. Time trials show the technique of riding so well and it’s a delight to see a well-practiced team moving like a machine, absorbing the air to go faster. This course was unusually placed in the Tour and with a sharp kick-climb at the end, really tested each teams’ skills. There are several masters of this discipline, including the current world champions, BMC – who are a joy to watch. They took the win from Sky by one second. Phew! On to the mountains…
Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 8 – Rennes to Mûr-de-Bretagne

Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting SOLD - All the colours of Brittany, by Maxine Dodd, SOLD

Bonjour! Stage 8 Another hot day in the saddle for the riders, following a meandering route through Brittany with the Mur de Bretagne climb at the finish. The fans turned out by the score, cheering the riders. In the race itself, Chris Froome won the Yellow Jersey, Daniel Teklehaimanot retained Polka Dot, Peter Sagan won the sprinter’s Green and Alexis Vuillermoz delivered the first stage victory for France and his AG2R La Mondiale team. All in all, this was a very happy Saturday! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 7 – Livarot to Fougères

Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting Elbows! Stage 7 by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! Stage 7 saw another lovely sunny day, the route through the Normandy fields on into Brittany, was lined with fans all the way. Daniel Teklehaimanot was part of the leading group for a great part of the day and retained the Polka Dot jersey. For British fans, the joy came from seeing the huge smile on the face of Mark Cavendish after he charged past the sprinters to take his first TDF stage win for 2 years and No.26 in total. He’s after the all-time record for stage wins and this brought him a little closer! This was a great day’s racing. Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 6 – Abbeville to Le Havre

Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting Historic day, Daniel Teklehaimanot, by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! Stage 6 saw a complete transformation in conditions – the sun shone brilliantly, there were gentler crosswinds and the course followed the beautiful Normandy coastline to Le Havre. This was an emotional stage – and an historic one – we saw Daniel Teklehaimanot win the Polka Dot Jersey (King of the Mountains), the first rider from Africa (Eritrea) so to do. A wonderful moment, as he gave a ‘thumbs up’ to the camera. In complete contrast, Tony Martin had his saddest moment as he became caught up in yet another accident near the finish. The loyalty of his Etixx-Quick Step team-mates who stopped to help him ride to the line while he nursed a broken collarbone, was wonderful to see, while his team-mate, Zdenek Stybar, ahead of the crash, took the win. Another amazing stage! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 5 – Arras to Amiens

Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting Another big crash, by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! Stage 5 took a bleak turn heading through driving wind and rain, on a course past the fields, cemeteries and memorials of the World Wars. Flags and pennants, bedraggled by the wind, lined the streets, along with many fans. This was another flat stage, suited to sprinters. Sadly, France’s champion, Nacer Bouhanni, fell in another crash on the slippery roads. Meanwhile, Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish were beaten by an inspired Andre Greipel – another brilliant stage win from him. Tony Martin contained Team Sky to retain the Yellow Jersey. Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 4 – Seraing to Cambrai

Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting Shall we have a breakaway of sprinters? C'mon! by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! Stage 4 crossed from Belgium to France through wide fields on narrow, dusty lanes to town streets, but all featuring cobbles, seven gruelling sections in total. A much happier day for most than Stage 3, but for those nursing serious injuries, the cobbles must have been hellish. The top teams and positions stayed pretty much as before; Team Sky rode a great race and there was a lovely moment after the intermediate sprint where Peter Sagan, with a twirl of his finger, appeared to suggest a breakaway among the sprinters (they didn’t accept the invitation!) but the real delight of the day came for Tony Martin who won the stage and the Yellow Jersey – the first time in his career. Congratulations! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 3 – Anvers to Huy

Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting A quick look back, Rodriguez and Froome by Maxine Dodd, RESERVED

Bonjour! Stage 3 headed towards France via Belgium, on a course that finished with a climb on the notorious Mur de Huy. All proceeded well, in bright sunshine, until an horrendous crash caused riders to pile into each other, landing round a streetlight. Many fell, including Yellow Jersey, Cancellara and four riders abandoned. The race was halted while medics worked on the injured. Eventually, the stage restarted with battered and bruised riders, including Cancellara, making their way to the finish.* The closing climb produced a nailbiting finish; the win for Rodriguez, but second place, Chris Froome, scored enough bonus points to secure the Yellow Jersey. A dramatic day. Here are my drawings:

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* (See latest news about Cancellara)

Tour de France 2015: Stage 2 – Utrecht to Zélande

Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting Windmill by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour and Hallo!  The second stage of this year’s Tour continued through Holland following a course set to suit the sprinters. The only catch? The weather! The presence of windmills and turbines in the landscape gave testimony to the power of the wind which blew and blew throughout the stage. It was by turn, sunny, wet, misty and sunny again, yet, in spite of this, the route was lined with great numbers of people encouraging the riders. The race itself reached its climax with an incredible dash to the line by four of the best riders in the field, Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan, Fabian Cancellara and the immense Andre Greipel, who judged his timing perfectly to take the win, while Cancellara took the Yellow Jersey. Quite a day! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 1 – Utrecht to Utrecht

Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting Rohann Dennis, Zooming into the History Books by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! – or should that be ‘Hallo’?  The 2015 Tour de France begins in Holland with an individual time trial (the only one this Tour) in the city of Utrecht. A beautifully flat circuit round the city centre, gave the fans a close-up of the riders and the chance to decide who the key players will be. It turned into an engrossing contest which posed more questions than gave answers. It feels like a change of the guard, new young riders taking the stage in all senses of the phrase. The outstanding round of the day and the Yellow Jersey, went to the young Australian, Rohan Dennis, who put in the fastest time trial in the history of the race. How must that feel? Will he sleep tonight? I wonder! Simply amazing performance. Here are my first drawings:

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