Artist paints Portsmouth for piece commissioned by Bupa Great South Run
This October, more than 25,000 runners will compete in the landmark 25th anniversary Bupa Great South Run in Southsea, Portsmouth.
The 10-mile run is a firm favourite with elite runners and amateurs alike due to the flat terrain and opportunity to break personal, national, and world records for the distance.
To mark the 25th anniversary, event organisers have asked renowned artist Jim Edwards to encapture the spirit of the run through his eye-catchingly unique and colourful style of painting.
Edwards, who has also created bespoke commissions for the Great North Run and Great North Swim in the past, is currently working to finalise the finished artwork ahead of the 2014 race. Speaking to Team Locals, he said: “As with their previous commissions, I jumped at the chance, even though they’re always the hardest paintings I do.”
Jim spent time at the 2013 Great South Run surveying the route and capturing the spirit of the race in a series of sketches from various vantage points around the iconic race route.
The final image, which was selected by race organisers, features some of Portsmouth and Southsea’s best-known landmarks including the Southsea Common Naval War Memorial, Spinnaker Tower, HMS Warrior, the Historic Dockyard, and the HMS Victory standing proud in the forefront of the painting.
The image also looks to include Portsmouth’s maritime connections with sailing boats and naval warships gliding along the Solent in the background. The runners of the race are prominently featured sweeping through the Dockyard, which is often deemed as one of the most interesting sections of the Great South Run.
“My cityscape paintings are normally empty of people; it’s always harder to incorporate streams of tiny people running between the buildings,” Edwards went on. “It’s a challenge to paint a new location; [it’s] much easier to paint a familiar location like Newcastle, where I live and work.
“I prefer to work from memory, rather than from life, allowing me to reimagine the geography of a landscape or cityscape. It gives the composition a different perspective, simplifying the forms whilst playing with colour. A relatively easy formula when creating a painting of Newcastle, but more of a puzzle when it’s Portsmouth — but I do enjoy a challenge.”
More of Edwards’ colourful works can be found on his Facebook page here.