Back to the bikes: Women’s Tour

Hello! I’m delighted to be drawing cycling for the first time this year. Even more delighted that it is the first Women’s Tour of Britain. My first drawings are from Stages 1 and 2 which were held in Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and Bedfordshire – not far from where I live, so a real thrill! Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 7 – Almendralejo to Mairena de Aljafare

Hola! Stage 7 of La Vuelta turned south and crossed into the heat of Andalucia. Riders coped with temperatures touching 38 degrees as they left the countryside for the tree-lined town of Mairena de Aljarfare on the outskirts of Seville. The race was a much closer affair than Stage 6, with a nip and tuck race between the two leaders Gilbert and Stybar to the cross the finish. Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 6 – Guijuelo to Caceres

Bullish! Tony Martin, by Maxine Dodd, watercolour, pen and ink

Hola! Stage 6 of La Vuelta explored further inland, into the plains of bull-fighting country. Certainly the theme carried over into the race with an incredible performance by Tony Martin. As the world time-trial champion, he set a blistering pace and led the stage by a great distance for 170km. In spite of huge effort, the peloton could not keep up. The sting came at the finish where the riders finally caught and passed him as they crossed the line itself. Martin finished in seventh place. Cruel sport indeed… Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 5 – Sober, Lago De Sanabria

Hola! Stage 5 of La Vuelta turned away from the sea and travelled inland through rolling countryside, fields and pine trees. Orange roofs gave way to dark grey and for the first time in this race there was rain. Sunshine prevailed by the end as riders came into Lago de Sanabria to a sprinters’ finish! Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 4 – Lalin, Estrada, Finisterre

Hola! Stage 4 of La Vuelta was a rolling course again taking in coastal scenery and pretty red-roofed houses. There was barely a flat road on the route but the test came with the climb to the Mirador de Ézaro. This was a test for everyone’s legs! Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 3 Vigo – Mirador de Lobeira, Vilagarcía de Arousa

Hola! Stage 3 of La Vuelta was a twisting, turning route through the Galician coast and hills. Climbs not as tough as Stage 2, but strong crosswinds off the coast to contend with not to mention narrow roads and tight space over the bridge to the Illa de Arousa. The surprise finish came in the form of 41-year old Chris Horner,  who after 4 hours of riding, sprinted uphill to take the win like a teenager, giving hope to us all! Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 2 Pontevedra – Baiona

Hola! Stage 2 of La Vuelta continued exploring the Atlantic coastline of Galicia with a dramatic climb from the coast road to the finish at Alto de Monte da Groba in Baiona. The day’s racing was led most of the stage by a breakaway of three riders but the stage was eventually won in style by Nicolas Roche. I confess that my eyes were distracted by the sea, with breakers and high hills – even a landlocked boat! Wonderful! Here are my drawings:

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Pretty in pink

My second post that ties in with the Festival of Flowers blog. A great idea and very inspiring. Find out more – and take part, on http://festivalofflowers.wordpress.com/, (or click the logo below). It was one of those perfect late summer days yesterday, so I took my pens and watercolours into the garden and made some drawings. The two I liked best were of the Japanese anemone, which is so delicate. Unlike the hotter-toned flowers that blaze at this time, the anemone gently leads the garden towards Autumn. Gorgeous! Here are my drawings:

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Bolero!

Hola! Music and dance are a great source of inspiration. I’m fascinated by orchestras, bands and dancers and the way they work together. There was an exciting development at the Proms, where the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra were joined on stage by the
Antonio Marquez Dance Company. They worked brilliantly together. The climax of the concert was the mesmeric Bolero by Ravel, with added flamenco rhythms. Wonderful! Here are my drawings:

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Giro d’Italia impressions

The Giro d’Italia is a cycling event new to me, but well worth looking at. The riders have had to face challenges with bad rain, mountain stages and slippery conditions, but it is Italy and when the sun shines it’s very beautiful…  Here are some of my drawings:

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Snow into Spring

The winter in Britain this year has been exceptional, one of the worst in recent memory. This week we’ve seen farmers desperately trying to rescue their sheep and cattle, buried deep in snow drifting over the hedges where they sought shelter. Where the sun breaks through there is a slow thaw, but in the hedgerows it hangs on. The nights have been crystal clear and bitter cold with bright moonlight. The clocks change to British Summer Time tonight but the summer seems a very long way off. Last night, the moon called me at 3 o’clock and as always, lured me into getting my paints out. The white snow line under hedge was still bright, like the moon. Here’s my painting:

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The Snow Line by Maxine Dodd, Acrylic on board, Good Friday Night

January blues

Food under the plum tree, (January 2013), Maxine Dodd

This week the weather steadied – snow bedded deep and days were cold. The whiteness is wearing and we’re all tired. I ventured out  to meet my friend Sheila who was painting nearby, but mostly continued work in the garden. Along with my usual pen and watercolour, I changed to oil paint on board for the first time in a long while. I felt that I needed paint with substance to convey the scene. I made four small paintings of our trees, birds and hedgerow at the end of the garden next to the field, making wilder marks as I became increasingly cold… Brrr!!! Here are my paintings and drawings:

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Winter white?

Maxine Dodd, orange and lavender dawn

Following on from last week, the winter has begun to bite deep into the countryside. We’ve had days of hard frosts and now today, the snow is falling. It was too cold to hang the washing out, so instead, I festooned our garden trees with food for the birds. Colour arrived in the form of one fleeting but spectacular dawn and a fieldfare bossed all the birds. Here are some of my drawings:

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Beautiful, cold January

Winter has arrived in middle England – it’s been cold and foggy, with the exception of one day when the sun came out. I hung washing on the line and couldn’t resist setting up outside to draw. It was wonderful to be outside in the fresh air. The rest of the week has been cold and foggy but just had to go out and draw the branches of trees in the mist. Not for long as it was freezing – Happy New Year! Here are some of my drawings:

Formula 1 – Austin, Texas

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Another thriller! Racing on the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas – this race did not disappoint. Red Bull took the Constructors’ Championship. Lewis Hamilton in dogged pursuit of Sebastian Vettel, finally took the race after a brilliant overtake in Lap 42, leaving the championship title open until the last race in Brazil. For me, I loved the contrast from Abu Dhabi – different light – bright sunshine, lovely rise and fall on the track, all of which added to the challenge of drawing this race. It was great to see Formula 1 back in America in such fine form and topped off with a British win! It doesn’t get much better than that – Here are my drawings.

Another great day

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Another great day of sporting excellence. No medals for Team GB but still wonderful performances by all athletes. Drawing so many sports makes for a different challenge from following one. For example with diving, I had to show the progress of the dive in the one drawing. It is two views of the same dive. Here are a few impressions some of the day’s incredible variety of sport.

A bit late to the party…

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But what a party?  The Olympic Games has been wonderful so far – a delight. I’ve been drawing on and off since the Games started, but a bit late posting to say the least! I hope better late than never. There’s so much happening, it’s impossible to cover it all but I will do what I can. Here are some drawings to start with from an amazing few days in London.