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


Painting the town Red….and Black!

The painting below is of MLR player and stalwart James Hickey celebrating one of the team’s many victories. The scene shows the joy and pride that the players and fans feel after this success. I think the joy and elation is well expressed here.

MLR - All-Ireland Intermediate Champs 2011 featuring player James Hickey
                Mount Leinster Rangers Celebration  featuring player James Hickey by Rachel O’Hara

You may also recognise James from this ad currently being shown on TV!

Bigger and better was to come Rangers’ way.  I’d like to show you a larger than life mural I did for a local business in support of the Teams’ next challenge. They reached the All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Final back in March 2014. It was a massive achievement from a club whose history only began in 1988. The villages of Borris, Ballymurphy and Rathanna were adorned in the club colours of red and black. Flags were draped, Teddy bears and pets dressed in club jerseys, signs were painted, songs were penned. Rival Carlow Gaa clubs near and far displayed good luck signs along the highways and byways, wishing MLR the best in the biggest game of their lives while paving the way up to Croke Park.

Mount Leinster Rangers Mural
Mount Leinster Rangers Mural in Borris Village, Co.Carlow by Rachel O’Hara

The text on the bottom of the painting is written in Irish it says “Gaiscigh Abu!” (pronounced Gosh-gig aboo!). This loosely translates into “Come on Rangers!”….The board was primed in white paint, giving me a lovely smooth (more importantly waterproofed!) surface to paint the image onto. I used acrylic paints and varnish to weather proof the completed painting. I think the white background sets off the red and black quite well and the idea was to make the individual player stand out while he reaches for the “Sliotar” (The Irish name for the leather ball used in the game of hurling). Unfortunately, success was not to be this year for the team but hopefully the Rangers will have better days coming and a chance for the mural to be aired again!

Even the homebaking got the Rangers treatment! by Julie Murphy of Borris Food and Craft Market
Even the homebaking got the Rangers treatment! Baked by Julie Murphy of Borris Food and Craft Market

My artwork can be viewed at Drawn to Sport on Facebook and Etsy shop. I also have my paintings on display in Borris Food and Craft Market in Borris Town Hall every Friday morning from 9.30am till 1.30pm.  If you are interested in purchasing a piece or indeed would like to commission a painting sporting or otherwise, I can be contacted by email or phone +353 (0)87 6397210.