Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Wimbledon 2012 cartoon

Here's a wee cartoon I drew yesterday, in response to the outcome of the 2012 Wimbledon Men's Singles final between Andy Murray and Roger Federer.

Andy Murray, from Dunblane (Scotland), was playing in his fourth Grand Slam final; and the first Wimbledon final to feature a British man for 74 years.
His opponent, Roger Federer, from Basel (Switzerland), was aiming for a record-equaling seventh Wimbledon title, and his 17th Grand Slam title overall.

In reaching this stage of the tournament, Murray ensured himself, temporarily at least, a legion of new fans from across the United Kingdom - no easy achievement considering previous misunderstandings between the Scot and some British tennis fans south of the border.
But his outpouring of emotion during the prize-giving ceremony may just have endeared some of those ambivalent fans to him on a more permanent basis.

It was this situation that inspired the cartoon: Britain has been waiting several generations for a new home-grown Wimbledon champion, and in the build-up to Sunday's final, it seemed we were on the verge of finally getting him.
But having just collected his fourth Grand Slam runners-up trophy, British tennis fans will be waiting until the summer of 2013 before they can hope to see Murray go all the way again, and if he fails, the wait will go on until 2014.

With Alex Salmond and the Scottish National Party (SNP) desperate for Scotland to gain its independence from the rest of Great Britain (a referendum is likely to take place in 2014); and with Britain having no other male tennis players ready to make a strong challenge for the Wimbledon singles title any time soon: Britain is running out of time to end its championship-winning draught.

If Murray doesn't win the Wimbledon title as a British player within the next two or three years, there is a chance that he could win it further down the line - when Scotland is an independent nation and Murray is no longer considered a British player.

With that possibility, how easily would Scotland be granted its independence?

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Women's football painting: Glasgow City VS Spartans

Feeling inspired by my stint as a football photographer, I've just completed my first watercolour painting in 13 months... And it "only" took an entire month!!!

It's faaar from my best, but what should I have expected after not painting for so long!?

Until now, I had never really understood why they say that artists should draw/paint everyday: But now it is painfully clear - without regular practice the whole painting process becomes much slower, more frustrating, and generally difficult.

I recall the days of my 12fps Film-inspired Painting Series [late 2009], when I was painting almost every day, and could easily complete a new "masterpiece" (relatively speaking) after only a few hours.

...As they say "Oh how the mighty have fallen". So let this be a lesson to any other creative types reading!

I'll certainly be trying to paint more regularly now.

Scottish Women's Football 2012

Glasgow City (orange) VS Murieston Utd (blue/red). 10 June 2012.
Last summer I took my first foray into football photography, by covering a few league matches & an international friendly on behalf of Scottish Women's Football (SWF).
This summer I've been pitch-side again to photograph some relatively high-profile women's matches: The Premier League Cup Final, Second Division League Cup Final, (both games at Recreation Park, Alloa), and a Henson's Scottish Cup 2nd Round match in Livingston.
It has been a really enjoyable experience, and the developments that I've witnessed within the sport over the past year are very promising for its future growth within Scotland.

Hearts (maroon) VS Aberdeen Reserves (white). 20 June 2012. 
For example, many clubs are heavily promoting themselves on social networking sites; there are now a number of quality websites & reporters dedicated to the women's game in Scotland (see related links at bottom); and the mainstream media is slowly but surely getting around to featuring the sport on a bigger scale.
All this combined means that the sport has vastly grown; with bigger audiences, more commercial sponsorship, and a better standard of play on the pitch. But there is a very good reason for this rapid growth.

Glasgow City VS Murieston Utd. 10 June 2012.
Last summer, the Women's World Cup Final in Germany broke the record for most tweeted-about event, and worldwide interest in the sport has since soared.
In Scotland this rising interest was capitalised upon by SWF, which took to Twitter to engage the captive audience with a call-to-action, and soon enough a number of clubs, players, photographers, and reporters, were marketing the game to an ever-growing audience.
This was followed by Glasgow City FC, Scotland's leading women's club, progressing from the Women's Champions League qualifying round, and making it all the way to the last 16, where they were eventually knocked-out by 2x former champions, Turbine Potsdam.
Making this achievement all the more remarkable, is the fact that City (like all Scottish teams) are still an amateur club, with the squad playing around full-time jobs or university studies - whereas many of the Champions League teams were full-time professionals.

Glasgow City VS Spartans. 30 May 2012.
On an international scale too, while the Scotland men's team continue to stumble their way through matches and major qualifying campaigns (now ranked 49th in the world); the women's team are soaring from strength to strength (ranked 21st in the world).
The Scotland women currently sit second in their Euro 2013 qualifying group, behind undefeated leaders France (ranked 6th in the world), and need just one point from their two remaining games to be guaranteed a play-off spot!
If you have any interest at all in Scottish football, I'd really recommend getting yourself along to Tynecastle (Edinburgh) on 19th September to support the Scotland Women in their final Euro 2013 qualifying match against France. It should be a cracking game, and with tickets at only £5/adult (cheaper for kids), it's a real bargain!

Hearts celebrate winning the 2nd Division Cup Final. 20 June 2012.
Further proof of the impact Scottish women are having on the game at international level, include the fact that several players are now playing semi-pro football in the English FA Women's Super League. Meanwhile, Glasgow City's Jane Ross is one of only 3 non-English players selected for the Great Britain Women's Olympic team: And her former teammate, Lisa Evans, has just completed a transfer to Germany's Turbine Potsdam, where she will live her dream as a professional footballer!

Jane Ross (on ball) was recently selected for GB Olympic squad.
Lisa Evans (orange) in one of her last games before turning pro.
Scottish Women's Football is played on a summer season (unlike the men who play the traditional winter season), and has two national leagues (Premier & First Division), along with four regional Second Divisions.
If you need a footballing fix while the men are on holiday, why not give the women's game a shot? You may be pleasantly surprised...

Related links:
Scottish Women's Football (governing body).
SFA: Women's international fixtures.
The Away End

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Trick photography

I made these trick photos quite a while ago, but never got around to posting them on here, until now.
The images are inspired by the stunning work of Thomas Allen, whose working process & images were featured on my blog a few years ago.

"Injury talk gets [Andy] Murray's back up" (from Scotland on Sunday, May 27, 2012). 

"Leader Luke Donald straddles a dried-up ditch after hitting a water hazard" (from Scotland on Sunday, May 27, 2012).

"Bankfoot" (from Scotland on Sunday, May 27, 2012).

I had almost forgotten about his work until recently, but once I had re-discovered it, I was keen to make some new pictures based upon his style (albeit within a different context).

The images shown above are just a small sample of my recent trick photography work (you can find the others on my facebook page); and while some of them worked really well, I'm not sure that any worked as well as I had originally hoped for - but they were fun to make anyway!