Downhill mountain biker in Australia starts bush fire…….

Ah no he didn’t, but you see now I have your attention…..if you read on I’ll explain why I wrote that. My painting below is a of a Downhill Mountain biker. The subject in question is an Irishman based in Western Australia, who is a fairly keen Downhill guy. To begin with I was given a series of photos to choose from and decided on one which shows him riding towards us, but on top of this he is suspended mid-air…(I’m getting sweaty palms thinking about this!). I was trying to translate the ‘daredevil’ element which is such a part of Downhill Mountain biking on to the canvas. My cycling background is in road racing, which is a completely different discipline to….let’s just call it ‘DH MTBing’. I don’t think I’d offend any DH biker calling them slightly nutty! When you’re on the road bike, grovelling up a hill, the descent is when you can get your breath back, ‘’stick it in the big ring’’ (cycling lingo for a higher gear) and push those pedals as hard as you can go. In the world of Downhill, that’s just it, the descent is their race. It’s not on a lovely tarmacked surface with properly cambered pathway (Ok, so it’s not always perfect like that for us roadies either!). They descend like maniacs through so many different terrains, stoney, dusty, muddy, grassy, gravelly. Twisting and turning, speeding, pedalling and hoping not to go off course, fall off or be unfortunate enough to hit one of imposing obstacles such as trees, boulders, branches and exposed roots. Their race is a form of time trial which can be all over in less than 5 minutes. In comparison to a cycling road race which can go on for well over 5 hours.

Flying through the flames
Flying through the flames

This is an acrylic painting on a 50cm x 70cm canvas.

So, with my limited knowledge of DH Mtbing I wanted to portray here what I understand this daring sport to be. I painted this piece using similar colours to the photo I was working from. I wanted the end product to be slightly surreal, almost animated. So, I painted the colours of his jersey and body in a realistic fashion until I loosened up my brush stroke to convey a flame like effect. I wanted to make it look like he was escaping a bush fire….but the question remains…did he start it? In the meantime happy cycling or whatever sport makes you smile! Rachel

If you have ever thought about getting one of your own photos turned into a painting, either in a similar style or indeed in a more realistic style. I would be delighted to work with you. I feel that my cycling background gives me an unique insight into the sport. My work can be also view on my facebook page called Drawn to Sport or my Etsy Shop

My email address is and phone number +353 (0) 876397210


The peloton races through the sunflowers

The peleton through the sunflowersCycling is my favourite sport, I love it. Though when I’m on my bike climbing and my legs are screaming for me to stop, my inner voice asks me why I do this? But on reaching the top of the climb or changing direction and getting out of that God foresaken headwind, I don’t want to stop…. I can breathe again and notice the hedgerows and the fields and the birds and the odd bit of roadkill (sorry!). You can be in a semi-meditative state on the bike. Its a great time to plan and sort out your thoughts and for me as an artist soak up inspiration from the landscape I ride through.

The Carlow side of the Blackstairs Mountains mountains, one of my favourite cycling haunts….

“The peloton races through the sunflowers” was a labour of love. For those of you not familiar with the word “peloton”, it is a French word used to define the bunch or pack of riders in a cycle race. By sitting closely together, the riders conserve a lot of energy and can shelter from the wind. The riders in this peleton are almost in a snake formation, bending with the curve of the road, just as the road rises, the leading rider begins the climb. I used acrylic on canvas, I played around with the colour layering and mixing and building until I reached what I wanted to achieve.  Again, for me cycling is one of those sports that eminates colour and beauty with speed and pain. So I like to transfer all these feelings onto the canvas…Cycling is a lovely way to see the country side and its all the more beautiful when you’re spinning along with a nice tail wind…’s an excerpt from an old Irish blessing, which I think is appropriate for any cyclist…”May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be  always at your back…..”