Final Furlong

by Brett Lohn

Measuring 24 by 44 inches this oil painting is brimful of atmosphere. The precision and skill required for the draughtsmanship in this work required great preparation. Brett attended nearly every evening meeting at Epsom Downs Racecourse, from this vantage point, over a period of six years before even commencing the piece. He felt that this was the only way to understand the unique cloud formation and movement of the sky over this, the home of the Derby.

Dark clouds clear as the sun’s fading glow spreads its rays across the evening. The cars and buildings echo the sun’s footprint with flaming tangerine flashes that flicker like sparks throughout the painting. Flags flap enthusiastically as the strong post-downpour breeze teases them relentlessly. In the distance the closing race reaches a thrilling conclusion before the thronging stands at Epsom, their cheers rebounding across the rapidly darkening landscape.

Brett cites drawing the stands themselves as one of the most difficult parts of this piece of art. Due to the strong breezes that can blow at Epsom on even the calmest day, he was forced to spend much of his time sketching inside a van at the racecourse.

The painting itself is composed from a series of bold horizontal plains. The rays of sunlight break this pattern, standing in stark vertical contrast to the swathes of cloud. It seems almost as if the racecourse winning line extends via one of these rays into the sky itself. All of this helps to accentuate the drama and atmosphere of this oil painting by drawing our eye towards the light.

Nature constantly throws up these fleeting moments of great beauty and drama, seemingly without effort. It is Brett’s hope that he has managed to capture one of them and make it last.