The inspiration behind this 24 by 48 inch oil painting was a desire to recreate the unique atmosphere of racing at Cheltenham Racecourse: the home of jump racing. Cleeve Hill is an ever-present guardian over events at Cheltenham, dominating the racecourse landscape. Whilst making the horses the subject of the painting, Brett has tried to give Cleeve Hill that same dominance over the viewer’s subconscious that one experiences in the flesh when attending a meeting there.
Featuring the third fence from home on the New Course, Brett says of this piece, “I wanted the focus of this painting to be the racecourse itself, as opposed to any particular horse that has competed here. I have therefore deliberately refrained from featuring any of the Cheltenham ‘greats’ in this piece. A painting that features horses such as Best Mate or Kauto Star tends to be perceived as a painting of those horses, with the location being of secondary importance. This painting is about Cheltenham first and foremost. I am confident that, as a result, I have produced a painting that will be every bit as relevant to racegoers in two hundred years time as it is now”.
Brett’s philosophy when painting is that he wants to produce a window into a living, breathing world. There is nothing static, everything can be felt: from the excitement of the horses racing, to the temperature of the late January air. That is why it was so important, throughout the full year spent on the painting, for him to be able to work from life, bringing his easel repeatedly to the centre of the course.
The Artist concludes, “My thanks go to Edward Gillespie and his staff for being so helpful in the creation of this piece of art. It is my hope that, as a result, I have produced a painting that would make a stunning window in any room”.
'Spirit of Cheltenham' is available to buy as a limited edition print.
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