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Tim OBrien
Runner's World
posted:
At the start of my 4th decade I decided to try a new challenge; running.  I never enjoyed it while boxing.  It was spinach or insurance against getting winded.  I did it grudgingly, if at all.  Something about that turn into the 40's made me rethink taking shots to the head.  Something it live for I guess combined with a need to run away from home for a while, an hour or so.  Some fathers might understand.  Like anything I get into, I want to learn it and understand it.
I put in some serious miles right away and learned that building them up too fast is a recipe for an injury.  I learned how to eat, and the importance of hydration.  I bought running gear and many pairs of sneakers.  GPS watches and Nike +  equipment.  I logged the miles, ran tons of races including 12 half marathons and 3 full NYC marathons, training now for my 4th.  Through it all I am still 5' 9" and struggle to get that weight down.
Still, my love for the sport and the various challenges that arise keep it fresh for me.   However, I'm NOT built for running.  Plastering walls perhaps, painting obviously, but running is something I have to prepare for and think about to do well.   Relatively well.
I subscribe to Runner's World, one of the BEST magazines I've ever read.  When you're obsessed with running, even the ads are interesting.  Runner's World under the design skills of Kory Kennedy, uses illustration heavily throughout.  Many Drawgers grace their pages with imaginative takes on shoes, how to tie laces, fighting injury, fatigue and all issues of interest to the avid runner.  Like most of you, when you love a magazine you want to see your work in it.  So it was with great delight that I took an assignment from them.  The subject was one, Andrew Wheating, perhaps America's next great miler.

What I saw when looking at him was his physique and intensity.  He is long and unlike me, built for running.  I'm sure his strides are ridiculous.  I was on Martha's Vineyard when I took this assignment and on one misty day, ventured to a library to some sweet wifi and sketching.  I bring a small Wacom Cintiq screen and an iPhone as a camera.  I sketched some ideas and shot them and added tone quickly in photoshop.  These were quick sketches.
They liked the lanky runner sketch so when I returned to Brooklyn, completed the oil painting.  A little new territory for me.  I generally don't do distortion but this one needed some.  The reference of this guy was already that of a long limbed runner.  I just pushed it a bit more.  Fun to do.

I put a cloud behind him to put him on a stage and centralize him.  The light of that cloud against his shape made it work.  
Fun assignment and easy really.  I think this is how Andrew Wheating runs.  Fun and easy.
These clouds I see every summer, moisture filled and ever expanding.  I shoot photos of clouds all the time.

This was my first sketch. Andrew breaking through. Realism can sometimes work doing these kinds of things. The hook of the broken glass was my motivation here. It would have been fun.
I thought of doing a dark piece. There was this idea in the article that he came out of nowhere.


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