Enter the Sandman

SwimLadies72 large

“Sandman: Women’s Race” • oil • 18hx20w


“Sandman: Men’s Race” • oil • 20hx24w

Another subject I like to paint is action/ sports paintings. Painting the figure in motion is really interesting to me. The following paintings are two I created of triathlon competitors starting out their race.

To get these images, I ran as far as I could into the water while the people were starting the race and took a lot of pictures hoping something would work out. I didn’t get in anybody’s way and no one knocked me over!

After looking at the photos, I chose the images that gave me an idea of what I wanted to capture about the race. For instance, the women’s race, I got a sense of all their arms moving. Those swimmers about to dive in, those diving in and the yellow swim caps in the water made me want to capture momentum.


On the men’s race, I got the sensation that the runner in the foreground is taking big gulps of air before he dives in and commits to his .75 mile ocean swim. On both paintings, they are entering the water on an overcast, slightly foggy morning.


The wetsuits are composed of many colors to get the sense of volume. I find painting black things fairly challenging. Flat black for me is no fun. Painting the ocean is always fun. Color, color, color is everywhere! It’s in the foam, in the shore break and in the reflections of the sky on the water.

The race I recorded is The Sandman Triathlon. It is an annual event in Santa Cruz, California. The course is a .75 mile swim in the Monterey Bay, followed by a 13 mile bike ride – note: Santa Cruz County is not flat – and a 4 mile run on the beach to finish. My husband, who competed in the event, was an inspiration for these paintings. No, he isn’t one of the men in the painting. Yes, he was happy to finish the race.


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