I ride a lot in the fall, and mostly on trails that wind on up into Wisconsin, where I ride the most. Cool weather, sunny mornings, changing leaves. All good stuff for a visual kind of guy like me. So needless to say I’ve had lots of inspiration to draw on creating a new Fall Cycling Art Series of ink and acrylic paintings.
Just recently after a two-day cycling trip to Sparta with my son riding the Elroy-Sparta trail I came home with lots of ideas for paintings. Typically I sketch things down in my “Idea” book or my little sketch book that’s always with me. I have dozens of these books from over the years and I’ll never complete all the ideas they hold. But when things are fresh and the timing is right my doodles, as my friends call them, turn into paintings soon after they’ve been thought of.
Beyond the obvious use of bright colors in this new series I was hoping the work would capture some of how I feel when riding. In many cases the riders in the paintings are small. Well that’s because it’s the way I feel. In a landscape rolling through the trees and open fields I am small. I’m letting the surrounding woodlands be the focus of the image. In most of my regular day to day work on large posters or on location at the Tour de France the riders are the main focus. So this is good for me to dabble in something a little different.
Autumn is filled with contrasting elements and colors. Cold mornings, warm days. Bright sunshine, early darkness. Screaming yellow trees, flaming bushes, purple clouds… it’s interesting that when you start to draw these things the colors in nature are so expressive, colors you wouldn’t first think to use, but they exist. I think that’s the beauty of working in the landscape, you don’t have to make it up, just observe.
This Fall Cycling Art Series has seven paintings in all at the moment. There may be more, I’m not sure it depends a lot on my time availability. They would group well if you’re thinking of placing more than one on a wall. The paper is all the same 18×24 inch 300g watercolor paper, and the images are all centered in a 12×18 inch area. The technique I used here I’ve done before, I first mix my color and pull it on to the page with a knife or paper card, like a squeegee. Once it all drys I go back in with my pen and ink to finish up. I like the simplicity of the blocks of color and for me the doing of the work is a welcome change from my watercolors. Change is good, it keeps an artist on his toes.
I hope you enjoy the images. My goal is a smile. Ride safe. Be well.
The Fall Series | Cycling Art paintings can be found here. SEE MORE FALL SERIES