Six Nations 2021 – Jonny May’s flying try

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!

Mallorca -Blue Skies

Mallorca Blue Skies

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

Mallorca Blue Skies

£125

Original watercolour with pen and ink

13.5cm x 14cm / 5.25in x 5.5in

Unframed

Click to enquire or buy

Ndidi with a wonder-strike

Ndidi wonder strike!
Ndidi wonder strike!

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 🙂

Ndidi wonder strike!

Ndidi Wonder-strike

£300

Original watercolour, pen and ink with pastel

Unframed

26.7cm x 36.5cm / 10.5in x 14.5in

Frosty morning Sunrise

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

watercolour, pen and ink, frosty morning sunrise
Frosty morning sunrise

Racing to Christmas

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!

‘Racing to Christmas’ digital art collaboration, Maxine Dodd and Derek Brittan

See more of Derek Brittan’s art here… Derek Brittan Art

Where the pheasants live

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.

Philip and Phineas
Philip and Phineas
The gentlemen and ladies…

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!

The hedgerow to the field

So here, from my reverie, is this night time piece, from memory really, showing where the pheasants live…

Where the pheasants live... mixed media art by Maxine Dodd
Where the pheasants live… Mixed media

Remember…

Barbed Poppies
Barbed Poppies


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.

Laurence Binyon

Six Nations 2020 – Welcome back!

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!

Tour de France 2020: Stage 21 – Bennett takes Paris!

Stage 21, Bennett takes Paris! Watercolour, pen and ink by Maxine Dodd
Stage 21, Bennett takes Paris!

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.. 🙂

Stage 21, Bennett takes Paris! Watercolour, pen and ink by Maxine Dodd
Stage 21, Bennett takes Paris!

Bennett takes Paris!

£275

Original watercolour, pen and ink

Unframed
28cm x 28cm (11in x 11in)

Enquire or buy

Tour de France 2020: Stage 21 – Paris On the Champs!

Stage 21, Paris - On the Champs! Watercolour, pen and ink by Maxine Dodd
Stage 21, Paris – On the Champs!

The race truly begins on Stage 21, when the riders reach the Champs-Élysées, the beautiful avenue that runs up to the Arc de Triomphe, one of the most famous roads in the world. It is the race for the sprinters, but to see that long peloton disappearing into the distance is incredible. Usually packed with fans at the roadside, it was eerily quiet this year, no Norwegian corner and people dotted around, as they should be. However, those there were treated to the fly past by the Patrouille de France, streaming the colours of the nation behind them as the race began in earnest below. Still magic, still the Champs-Élysées!

Have a good day today.. 🙂

Stage 21, Paris - On the Champs! Watercolour, pen and ink by Maxine Dodd
Stage 21, Paris – On the Champs!

Paris – On the Champs!

£275

Original watercolour, pen and ink

Unframed
28cm x 28cm (11in x 11in)

Enquire or buy

Tour de France 2020: Stage 21 – Bonjour Paris!

Here is the third image from Stage 21 – a little picture which shows Rigoberto Uran, throwing his arms into the air as he and his team-mates, passed by the glass Pyramids before crossing the courtyard of the Louvre. He threw his arms into the air, as though greeting a much-loved and much-missed friend.

I can only imagine how the riders feel on that last day – exhilaration? exhaustion? I hope a massive sense of achievement – they’ve made it!

Stage 21, Rigoberto Uran, 'Bonjour Paris'! Watercolour, pen and ink by Maxine Dodd
Stage 21, Rigoberto Uran, ‘Bonjour Paris’!

Have a good day today.. 🙂

Tour de France 2020: Stage 21 – Paris -A glimpse of Our Lady

The second image from Stage 21, was a lovely sight – Notre Dame, on her way to full restoration after the devastating fire – It was great to see her, if only for a glimpse as the peloton passed by…

Stage 21 - Paris, A glimpse of Our Lady, watercolour, pen and ink by Maxine Dodd
Stage 21 – Paris, A glimpse of Our Lady

Have a good day today.. 🙂