Richmond-based artist is painting the Tour de France

July 12

The intersection of sport and art has a long and storied history, from Greek motifs of the ancient Olympics to this epic animated illustration of John Wall’s winning dunk from this year’s NBA slam dunk contest. So it should be no surprise that an artist has been spending his days immortalizing the riders of this year’s Tour de France in oil paintings. It may however surprise you that this artist doesn’t hail from France or Italy or any other county that actual pays attention to the 101-year-old cycling race. He lives in Virginia.

Greig Leach is a Richmond-based artist whose Web site says he paints “contemporary figurative art created with oilsticks on paper, color based images of people, food and faith-based iconography.” Apparently, that includes professional cycling. Leach’s Twitter handle is @ArtofCycling and appears to be devoted to posting his latest pieces from each stage of the Tour de France, along with a few snapshots of himself watching the race and, of course, painting.

Leach has online galleries devoted to the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Criterium du Dauphine, Tour of Britain, Tour Down Under and the Spring Classics. In fact, these make up more than half of his online collections, but who am I to judge (Degas had his ballerinas, Rembrandt the Amsterdam militia companies).

The extent of my artistic prowess is the ability to manipulate graphics in Abode PhotoShop and the occasional sketch in a notepad while traveling, so Leach’s ability to capture the emotion of the breakaway and the poetry-in-motion that is the peloton from each stage as it’s happening is inspiring.

Not so much that I’m going to sign up for oil painting classes at the Torpedo Factory, but maybe I’ll order this print of yellow-clad Vincenzo Nibali ushered by his Asana teammates during stage 5. Maybe.

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