Friday, August 21, 2015

A Nice Article from my Alma Mater

http://www.news.vcu.edu/article/The_cycling_artist_Alumnus_illustrates_major_cycling_competitions


The cycling artist: Alumnus illustrates major cycling competitions

Featured photo
The cycling artist: Alumnus illustrates major cycling competitions
Greig Leach is an enthusiastic cyclist and painter, and the Virginia Commonwealth University alumnus has found a way to combine his two passions. His postcard drawings depicting compelling moments in major cycling competitions have earned him fans around the world, including among the elite riders sometimes rendered in Leach’s works.
One of Leach’s next big projects will be a book on the 2015 UCI Road World Championships bike race, which will take place in Richmond Sept. 19-27, and on the races leading up to the UCI event. He presented the book idea for the event to Wilson Flohr, CEO of Richmond 2015 and an amateur painter. Flohr liked it and Leach is now the official artist for the competition.
The project is to create a book about the championships, and Leach will also have a hand in other memorabilia, including T-shirts, coffee mugs and socks, that will feature his artistic creations. Richeson Art, a company Leach has used since 1977 for art supplies, is sponsoring the project.
Leach raced bicycles on an amateur level back in the 1970s, when the sport was little known outside of Europe and the idea of an American professional cyclist seemed farfetched. He participated in bike races in major competitions such as the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia – just not as a rider, but as a painter.
Alumnus Greig Leach captures moments from major cycling competitions around the world through his paintings.<br>
Photos by Ahmed Asraf
Alumnus Greig Leach captures moments from major cycling competitions around the world through his paintings.
Photos by Ahmed Asraf
He attended the VCU School of the Arts in 1977, starting in commercial art but later switching to painting. By his senior year, he was married, had a son, worked full time and had seen his work featured in three solo exhibitions. In 1982, he turned his attention to working full time to support his family.
Leach remembers an illustration professor pulling him aside and urging him to pursue his interest in painting.
The professor said, “‘Look: you’re a painter, go be a painter,’” Leach said. “‘Someday your paintings will be used as illustrations.’ Almost 40 years later that’s exactly what happened.”
He likes to paint dancers, musicians, bar scenes and everyday life. He draws to relax, but also to earn a living. He draws all the time.
“I amuse myself by drawing,” Leach said. “Today, I was explaining something and found it just easier to draw it.”
I amuse myself by drawing.
Throughout his career, Leach has worked in restaurants and traveled to Europe. He recalls his first trip to Europe with his family, when he realized that after booking his tickets and arranging accommodations, he didn’t have enough left for daily expenses, such as food. His wife suggested buying blank postcards to draw places he visited and selling them to locals, tourists and online. He was able to support his family with the earnings from the postcards, marking the beginning of finding his artistic niche.
Locals or people who had special moments in the area requested postcard drawings of locations with special meaning to them – for instance, a street where a man proposed to his wife in Paris, or where a couple bought shoes in Rome. His clients directed him to draw places he wouldn’t have discovered on a normal visit.
“A local collector said that they preserved a bombed-out cathedral in Berlin,” Leach said. “I would have never known it existed.”
The cycling drawings started one day when he was watching the Tour de France on television and was inspired to paint scenes from the competition. Initially, he did the artwork just for himself. Then he began to sell them successfully through Facebook.
Then, in 2013, he approached the work in a more organized fashion, starting with the Giro d’Italia race. He watched the races live as an avid fan, paused the scenes he viewed as significant, painted them and posted them on his blog and Twitter to sell.
In 2014, he did the same for the Tour de France. He also established a KickStarter campaign at the outset of that race to fund a book collecting his work. The campaign was successful and at the end of the race he compiled his drawings for his “Book de Tour.”
The idea was simple. Tell the story of the tournament by combining his drawings of the tour in a book and adding blog-style annotations after each photo to explain what happened. The campaign ended at 104 percent of its goal. Three orders of the book signed by Leach and the winner of the competition sold at $500 each.
The book received a great response from cyclists, cycling fans and the media. Leach recalls when Alberto Contador crashed and broke his tibia, then got back onto the bike and rode 10 more kilometers up the mountain. Just before dropping out of the race, Contador had an interaction with a teammate and bid farewell. Leach captured the moment.
“This is significant, so I painted it,” Leach said. “When [Contador] tweeted his thanks to his fans, he used that painting as the image to go with the tweet.”
“Book de Tour” has seen different uses from multiple audiences. A copy of the book will be signed by as many featured racers as possible, and auctioned at the gallery of the United Network for Organ Sharing, a nonprofit organization that coordinates organ transplants. All proceeds will go to the organization.
Alumnus Greig Leach captures moments from major cycling competitions around the world through his paintings.<br>
Photos by Ahmed Asraf
Alumnus Greig Leach captures moments from major cycling competitions around the world through his paintings.
Photos by Ahmed Asraf
In addition, Leach has a Dutch friend whose nephew wants to learn fluent English and is reading the book to improve his skills.
The wife of American cyclist Tejay van Garderen bought four pieces depicting her husband. While exchanging emails, she told Leach she and her husband use the images to tell bedtime stories to their daughter.
Leach has immense passion for painting. He believes drawing is a great way to meet people, see new places, and observe a subject in greater detail than when photographing it.
“It slows you down and makes you savor the experience,” Leach said.

Featured image up top : VCU alumnus Greig Leach holds a selection of his cycling paintings. Photo by Ahmed Asraf.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Commissioned paintings of the Tour or just the roads of the Tour

This painting is a reworking of the very first piece of the 102nd Tour de France.  The original, still available on my website at www.greigleach.com had an inaccuracy that an Eritrean was quick to point out.
Can you spot the difference on the back of Daniel Teklehaimanot's jersey?  My Eritrea friend asked that I created a larger painting (9"x12") that included the flag waving fans at the start, along with the correct flag on the back of the first black African on an African registered team to race in the Tour de France.  Teklehaimanot went on to become the first Eritrean (or black African) to wear any of the leaders' jerseys in the Tour.  He was the leader in the King of the Mountains competition for two days.
 
 
The other piece I completed today was for a fan of my art and of cycling who lives in Spain.  He had sent me a photograph of him riding up the fabled Alpe d'Huez.  A feat that I have added to my bucket list, not that I am very good on the steep climbs here on the East Coast of the United States. 
 
You, too, could commission a painting of your favorite cycling event, be it the Pro's or yourself.  Just send me an email with an attached photograph and let's get to work.  My email address, I hear you ask.  greigsart@gmail.com

Monday, July 27, 2015

Tour de France, Final Stage: Soaking It In

With the time already taken on the first lap of the Champs Elysees, Team Sky gather at the back of the peloton before the final sprint.  Having just to finish to claim his victory, Chris Froome wanted to ride across the final few feet of the Tour de France with all of his team that was still in the race.  Team Sky had only lost one man over the grueling 21 stages and 2,036 miles of the 102nd Tour de France.  Peter Kennaugh was the only team member who didn't link arms and soaked in the enormity of the achievement and the applause of the crowd.  Chris Froome will be the first to say that he could never have done it without Kennaugh and those with him on the Champs Elysees; Leopold Konig, Wooter Poels, Richie Porte, Nicolas Roche, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas.

With this painting, I, too, celebrate 21 days of hard work, sleepless nights and another great Tour de France.

This is an original watercolor and ink painting that was created using Yarka St. Petersburg watercolors and Steve Quiller brushes from Jack Richeson and Company, www.richesonart.com.  This painting, along with all of my cycling art, is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To buy this particular painting for only $60 USD, just follow the direct link at the end of this post.  Be aware, since this is an original work of art, once it has sold, it is gone.  I would recommend not delaying.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-multi-view/Tour%20de%20France%202015/2586381-151-210122/Painting.html#.VbY5L_lViko

Tour de France, Final Stage: Claiming Four

As the peloton circled the monuments on the Champs Elysees the cobbles continued to try out.  By the time the peloton entered the bell lap the sun had even peered out from behind the clouds.  With dry roads under their wheels the sprinters were sure to treat us to a spectacular dash for the final line of the Tour.  They didn't disappoint.  Although it was the big gorilla himself, Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) that should everyone else that he is the sprinter of this Tour de France.  Alexandre Kristoff (Katusha) had the early lead coming out of the final corner, and Bryan Coquard (Europcar) had the fastest closing speed, but Greipel was the one to put it together perfectly.  His victory on the Champs Elysees gave him his fourth stage victory in the 102nd Tour de France.  Peter Sagan (Tinkoff Saxo) was washed away in the sprint coming across the line seventh, but his fourth Maillot Vert was unassailable.  The one with the biggest disappointment was the Manx Missile, Mark Cavendish (Etixx Quickstep) who's sixth place on the stage was not what he had hoped four has he struggled over the Alps this past week.

This is an original watercolor and ink painting that was created using Yarka St. Petersburg watercolors and Steve Quiller brushes from Jack Richeson and Company, www.richesonart.com.  This painting, along with all of my cycling art, is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To buy this particular painting for only $60 USD, just follow the direct link at the end of this post.  Be aware, since this is an original work of art, once it has sold, it is gone.  I would recommend not delaying.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-multi-view/Tour%20de%20France%202015/2586370-150-210122/Painting.html#.VbY2j_lVikp

Tour de France, Final Stage: Hitting the Bell Lap

After the peloton has rolled onto the Champs Elysees and the team with the Maillot Jaune has had there processional lap the racing can get underway in earnest.  Those who have made it all of the way to Paris covering over 2,000 miles on their bicycles make 10 laps of the heart of Paris from the Louve to the l'Arc de Triomphe and back.  So that the fast men know when it is all almost over, there is a bell wrung as each man enters the final lap of the day.  The French Air Force joined the announcement of the bell lap by flying low over the race trailing their tricolore of con air.  The fly by usually announces the arrival of the peloton, but this timing seemed to stir the passions even higher.

This is an original watercolor and ink painting that was created using Yarka St. Petersburg watercolors and Steve Quiller brushes from Jack Richeson and Company, www.richesonart.com.  This painting, along with all of my cycling art, is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To buy this particular painting for only $60 USD, just follow the direct link at the end of this post.  Be aware, since this is an original work of art, once it has sold, it is gone.  I would recommend not delaying.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-multi-view/Tour%20de%20France%202015/2586368-149-210122/Painting.html#.VbYzxPlViko

Tour de France, Final Stage: Away with 20 Seconds

The peloton must have heard Jens Voigt's complaints about the lack of aggression on the Champs Elysees.  No sooner had he bemoaned the tranquility of the loops through Paris than did the attacks start flying off the front.  As each group was caught another one would try their luck.  This trio of Florian Vachon (Bretagne Seche), Nelson Filipe Santos (Lampre Merida) and Kenneth Van Bilsen managed to open up the largest gab thus far on the Champs.  While twenty seconds is nothing...  It was more than anyone had gotten thus far.  Plus this would be the last chance for the LCL sponsored time keepers to show the time gabs in the 102nd Tour de France.

This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that was created using Yarka St. Petersburg watercolors and Steve Quiller brushes from Jack Richeson & Company, www.richesonart.com.  They are a small family run art supply company that has some of the best paints and materials I have ever used, like these watercolors for example.  This painting and all of my cycling art is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To purchase this particular painting for only $60 USD, just follow the direct link at the end of this post.  Since this is an original one of a kind work of art, when it has sold, it is gone.  Therefore, I wouldn't recommend delaying your purchase.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-multi-view/Tour%20de%20France%202015/2586323-146-210122/Painting.html#.VbYxYvlVikr

Tour de France, Final Stage: Prying Free

With Andriy Grivko's (Astana) first break away companion back into the peloton, he was joined by Jose Serpa (Lampre Merida) and Danilo Wyss (BMC).  With his cycling cap up under his helmet and his hipster mustache and goatee, Serpa almost looks like one of the riders who would have taken to the line at the very first Tour de France way back in 1903.  Of course, his bike is very, very modern.

This is an original watercolor and ink painting that was created using Yarka St. Petersburg watercolors and Steve Quiller brushes from Jack Richeson and Company, www.richesonart.com.  This painting, along with all of my cycling art, is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To buy this particular painting for only $60 USD, just follow the direct link at the end of this post.  Be aware, since this is an original work of art, once it has sold, it is gone.  I would recommend not delaying.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-multi-view/Tour%20de%20France%202015/2586323-146-210122/Painting.html#.VbW_KflVikp

Tour de France, Final Stage: Opening Up the Race

Either the toughness of the Tour up to today, or the rain soaked cobbles of the Champs Elysees had kept the race together and rather sedate.  Finally, it was Andriy Grivko (Astana) who opened up the first attack.  He was quickly joined by the youngest man still in the race, Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka).  The pair got the peloton to start racing, unfortunately, that meant that the rest of the race were quickly on to the back wheels of the pair.

This is an original watercolor and ink painting that was created using Yarka St. Petersburg watercolors and Steve Quiller brushes from Jack Richeson and Company, www.richesonart.com.  This painting, along with all of my cycling art, is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To buy this particular painting for only $60 USD, just follow the direct link at the end of this post.  Be aware, since this is an original work of art, once it has sold, it is gone.  I would recommend not delaying.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-multi-view/Tour%20de%20France%202015/2586323-146-210122/Painting.html#.VbW9PPlViko

Tour de France, Final Stage: On to the Champs Elysees

Following tradition, and each other, Team Sky lead the peloton onto the iconic Champs Elysees at the start of 10 laps from the Place de Concorde to the l'Arc de Triomphe.  Team Sky follow another tradition of adding some yellow element to their team kit to celebrate having the Maillot Jaune among their team members.  Sky cleverly replaced the traditional bright blue stripe on the kit (and their team car) with the Yellow of the leader of the Tour de France.  As he crosses the finish line in just a few hundred meters from here, he will officially be the winner of the 102nd Tour de France.  After that it will be time for the marquee sprinters still in the Tour to show their stuff to the thousands of fans that have been on the side of the road for hours.

This is an original watercolor and ink painting that was created using Yarka St. Petersburg watercolors and Steve Quiller brushes from Jack Richeson and Company, www.richesonart.com.  This painting, along with all of my cycling art, is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To buy this particular painting for only $60 USD, just follow the direct link at the end of this post.  Be aware, since this is an original work of art, once it has sold, it is gone.  I would recommend not delaying.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-multi-view/Tour%20de%20France%202015/2586308-145-210122/Painting.html#.VbW6-PlViko

Tour de France, Final Stage:The Beginning of the End

The leader of the race, Chris Froome (Team Sky) pedals up alongside the Race Director's car to shake hands with Christian Prudhomme.  At the start of each day's racing, there is a short neutral section of riding before Prudhomme will pull in the depart flag and let the racing begin.  Froome could be heard apparently apologizing to Prudhomme.  A little bit later we could make out that Froome was checking to see if the laps on the Champs Elysees would be neutralized or not.  The final decision was to take the time of riders as they crossed the finish line on the first lap, due to the rains that had made the cobble stones dangerously slick.  One only had to watch La Course early in the morning to see just what could happen to the peloton and potentially to the Maillot Jaune.

This is an original watercolor and ink painting that was created using Yarka St. Petersburg watercolors and Steve Quiller brushes from Jack Richeson and Company, www.richesonart.com.  This painting, along with all of my cycling art, is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To buy this particular painting for only $60 USD, just follow the direct link at the end of this post.  Be aware, since this is an original work of art, once it has sold, it is gone.  I would recommend not delaying.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-multi-view/Tour%20de%20France%202015/2586298-144-210122/Painting.html#.VbW4zPlViko