Posted on March 30, 2021
I made this image during the first lockdown. It was part of a series I called ‘Hospital’, inspired by news reports and documentaries shown through the early stages of the pandemic, when the crisis was acute.
I was struck by the depth of concentration that was still visible through the smallest glimpse of their faces and the lighting reminiscent of paintings from centuries before. It felt profound and evocative.
Earlier this year, I decided to enter the painting to the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour 209th exhibition.
I was over the moon to receive the email with the first word, ‘ CONGRATULATIONS’ at the top! My painting was accepted and will travel to London for the show in May.
Throughout the crisis, one promise I made to myself, was to visit London to see my favourite galleries as soon as they were able to reopen.
This impossibly long list, includes the National Gallery, both Tates, the Courtauld, the National Portrait Gallery, the Wallace Collection and the Mall Galleries.
Never in a million years did I think that my first visit will include a show featuring one of my own pictures!
What a joy it is? I am so excited and overwhelmed. I can’t wait to visit!
Posted on April 20, 2021
When it comes to being a fan of football, I am a bit of a romantic fool; either getting my hopes up for England to win a major tournament or for my own team, Leicester City to do well in the FA Cup.
Reaching a final, let alone winning, for both teams, seem like a lifetime ago. England reached the final (and won) the World Cup in 1966, while three years later in 1969, the Foxes reached the final of the FA Cup, which they lost by one goal to Manchester City. Heartbreak!
Goodness knows that both England and Leicester have broken mine and many more hearts a hundred times over in the years that followed…Ecstasy followed by Agony for one or other of them, and like all the other broken-hearted fans, I keep coming back for more, because there’s nothing quite as thrilling as your football team, local or national, doing well in a big tournament.
It’s the unique experience that all sport gives. It brings us together, excites us and enriches us. The lows are low but the highs are the best and both live long in our collective memories.
When the event and performance are very special, it engages everyone, including people who don’t regard themselves as sports fans, the excitement draws people together in a lovely way.
I watched the FA Cup semi final between Leicester and Southampton on Sunday afternoon with the customary trepidation. I was amazed and delighted by the result. But also, I was even more delighted to see an audience at Wembley, albeit small, the fans were back.
Real people, real voices and a real presence to witness this game. I made as many sketches of them as the action, it was so great to see.
So here we go again, Foxes fans daring to dream once more. It’s not the repeat of 1969 as we thought it might be, because Chelsea beat Manchester City in their semi final.
Chelsea are the polar opposite of Leicester City, having enjoyed great success in the FA Cup over the years, but maybe it’s the Foxes time? We know this team is full of surprises, its recent history is legendary. 2016 all over again?
I hope you enjoy my somewhat frazzled drawings and paintings! I wanted to post fairly quickly while the excitement is still fresh in mind.
Meanwhile, I can’t wait until 15th May.. will it be Agony or Ecstasy? I hope Gary Lineker has got his best pair of underpants ready if they win!
I am now in the process of making some more images based on the TV recordings and will post them individually with details for purchase. You can email for details or sign up to my newsletter for information 💙
Posted on April 16, 2021
This house is so pretty, just a joy to paint – It will be lovely to see it again one day soon…
The Bougainvillea Villa – SOLD
This picture is now unavailable
Original watercolour with pen and ink
13.5cm x 14cm / 5.25in x 5.5in
Posted on February 27, 2021
HERE’S JONNY! Apologies! I couldn’t resist, it’s a great line from a great film! Here I have pinched it to describe these three images of Jonny May, made after his astonishing try at England’s last match against Italy. He flew high into the air – before scoring an astonishing try. It was amazing.
I have made several images but these three are my favourites – all larger than my usual size, from A3 up to A2-ish! so the lines and materials have expanded from the usual watercolour, pen and ink to include brush and twig as well as pen for the ink lines and acrylic paint here and there in addition to the watercolour. I also used a palette knife to give texture to drag the paint across the page and give extra marks and texture.
I worked on the three of them over the course of a day or so – switching from one to another as the paint or ink needed to dry.
Fingers crossed for another flying performance from him today!
Speaking of which… better publish now before kickoff!
Posted on January 27, 2021
I thought that a little ray of sunshine might be nice to share today. At this time of year, the first cycle race I draw is the weekend Challenge Mallorca event, which takes place over four days, the last weekend in January. This year, it has been postponed until May – fingers crossed, I shall capture it then instead. Here is a picture I made from Stage 1 from 2017, lovely and sunny, the back of the peloton with a team car and the skies so blue…
Have a good Wednesday 🙂
Mallorca Blue Skies – SOLD
This picture is now unvailable to buy
Original watercolour with pen and ink
13.5cm x 14cm / 5.25in x 5.5in
Posted on January 23, 2021
Leicester City are playing some great football just now – which is lovely to see as a lifelong fan – Wilfred Ndidi is a phenomenal asset to this team – just a joy to watch him play. He scored an absolute wonder goal against Chelsea – this view just before he took it but I love the juxtaposition of his blue shirt against the orange of the goalkeeper’s kit – I feel that there will be more pictures to come – this was great to make and a little bit larger than usual, which was nice. Welcome to 2021!
Have a good Saturday 🙂
Original watercolour, pen and ink with pastel
26.7cm x 36.5cm / 10.5in x 14.5in
Posted on December 31, 2020
I just looked back on my post for New Year 2020, only to discover that I posted a picture of a frosty morning sunrise; a view of our garden down to the little apple tree where the birds feed. This morning, it was just the same, a beautiful sunrise, with the light filtering through the trees and birds feeding beneath the apple tree.
I realized that having gone through a year like no other, filled with changes, many things have stayed the same… it’s winter in Leicestershire and it’s frosty, the birds are hungry and enjoying the seed we put out, and the light through the trees as the sun rises, is still magical.
It made me realize that at this time and having gone through a year like no other, I still have exactly the same feelings as I do at this time every year; I have plans, ideas and hopes for the year ahead which I may – or may not – achieve, but the hope and the optimism are very real.
So today, after this year like no other, but also, just as last year, I wish you and those you love, the very best for the year to come – Have a good one! Maxine x
Posted on December 24, 2020
This post could very easily be called ‘Racing past Christmas’ as I am certain many of us will be glad for it to come and then go, along with the rest of 2020!
However, I am an optimist and try, always, to find the good side of adversity where I can. It isn’t always easy, but looking for the good in bad times, is an exercise I recommend, whenever things are sad, tough or difficult – or all three at once, as this year has been for so many.
If there has been one positive for me through this year, it has been Friendship. I have been supported by (and I hope, I have supported in return) wonderful friends and family through this difficult year. I would have gone under without them, and thank all of them for kindness, understanding and encouragement in this (and all) years.
The image I have chosen to mark this Christmas came about because of a friendship. The friend is another artist, Derek Brittan, who lives and works nearby. Derek, like many of us has had serious and ongoing challenges to face this year, but nonetheless, his enquiring and creative mind still turns to new ideas and making art.
Derek is known for his colourful abstracts, which he makes in various media, from acrylic to plaster, rope, metals – even dishcloths! All materials can become art in his hands.
In normal times, we meet regularly at his home and studio to drink coffee and discuss whatever we’re presently working on, swap ideas and advice – all the things friends do. This year, of course, has been different, but we keep in touch on the phone and encourage each other where we can.
In one conversation, Derek asked me if I had planned a Christmas card? I hadn’t…Derek had an idea… ‘I have an image’, he said, ‘and I can see your cyclists riding through it’. With the help of his son Nick, and his skills as a graphic designer, we combined two images digitally, so my cyclists were riding through his landscape and ‘Racing to Christmas’ was made.
Amongst so much, our friends bring new thoughts, challenge us to try something we wouldn’t have thought of, cry with us when we weep and laugh with us when we laugh. Without them, we would be incomplete.
This year, Christmas will be different for everyone, and many of us will not be with our family and our friends as usual but nothing can diminish the bonds between us – and I feel, that adversity makes these bonds even stronger. People rise to challenges and pull together to get each other through.
We have seen so much evidence of this throughout 2020, all the years before and we know, yet to come.
Friendship is more infectious than any disease and its ‘R’ number very, very much higher than 1!
Merry Christmas and see you on the other side!
See more of Derek Brittan’s art here… Derek Brittan Art
Posted on December 8, 2020
There are many pictures I should be sharing with you just now, all sports inspired, but every now and then a picture comes to me almost by accident – they don’t ‘fit’ with the sports work that I usually make but they do ‘fit’ together -since mostly these oddities are made under the same circumstances – in the early hours before it’s quite light – or even in the dark – and I make them because I have woken early and can’t get back off to sleep.
I work as quietly as possible, so as not to disturb everyone else, and use the daylight table light, which bends and stretches to light exactly what needs to be lit and nothing else – I make a picture or two, half asleep almost, leave whatever I have made to dry and go back to bed – usually to sleep fine after that. Making art is a great cure for my occasional sleeplessness, I have to say.
So, it happened last night, (this morning) and I found a piece that I had started and left, not knowing what to do with it. I put on the daylight lamp and only had a few things to hand, a lovely ink made by Diamine called ‘onyx black’, a couple of Derwent Graphitint pencils, ‘Dark indigo’ and ‘Meadow’ a couple of pastels of mixed origin, probably Schmincke and Sennelier, grey and white and some System 3 white acrylic.
These photos give you an idea but it’s a bit tidier now than at the time – I was half asleep and no camera!
What emerged from my marks and spatters were the trees and hedge at the end of our garden – I look at this view a great deal and the hedgerow is a haven to wildlife, especially pheasants.
Normally, our regular visitors are two males, who we call Philip and Phineas – occasionally there is a third, Felix – (Phelix??) and sometimes one or two females – but lately, there have been lots of them, – (a nye?) – of at least 12 , in the garden finding food to eat – and they are lovely to watch.
The marks that came reminded me of the trees and hedgerow where they come in. I reckon the next step is to draw them during the daytime when we are all awake together!
So here, from my reverie, is this night time piece, from memory really, showing where the pheasants live…
Posted on November 8, 2020
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Posted on October 24, 2020
Hello! – It all feels a very long time ago since the 2020 Six Nations tournament got underway – how the World has changed since then!
I can’t imagine that there is one person on this planet whose life hasn’t changed dramatically one way or another since the tournament was postponed in March… but here we are, one way or another, near the end of October, thrashing around adapting to this new life, whilst desperately trying to continue with the old one!
To this end, there have been some fantastic sporting events taking place, all crammed into the last remaining months of the year, with topsy-turvey giddiness as they hurtle past! Today sees a welcome return to the Six Nations with the match between Ireland and Italy this afternoon and a ‘super Saturday’ to look forward to next weekend. I have my kit at the ready, as I love drawing rugby, it’s flow and twists and turns and the Herculean strength are a joy to watch.
Here are some images featuring Italy and Ireland to whet your appetite – Enjoy!
Posted on September 29, 2020
Stage 21 was extraordinary – culminating in a wonderful sprint finish, with all the best points riders pushing to the limit to take the win. There was one rider who showed his class, the man in Green, Sam Bennett, who positively roared over the finish line – in fact, he kept on roaring, such was his joy! It was a special win for a special rider on this most special of Tours – We knew that this would be an historic Tour de France because of the pandemic, but 2020’s Tour de France will go down in history for its remarkable course, it’s remarkable conclusion – and for its major prizes being won by two phenomenal young riders – for me, the best reasons to remember this race. Vive Le Tour!
Have a good day today.. 🙂
Bennett takes Paris!
Original watercolour, pen and ink
28cm x 28cm (11in x 11in)