This Memphis race is a big deal in our household. Elmore trains for it half the year or more, since it's the most competitive race he does. We regularly have a former Olympic champion come, along with other world medalists and former (sometimes current) team members from various countries. For the last several years, Elmore has been the fastest Memphian in the race, and it was a thrill to see him finish right up there with the fastest racers.
I actually saw him finish for the first time this year instead of doing the race myself (I don't see much from way back in the pack). Outdoors, Inc. had invited the Memphis Urban Sketchers to draw there, and I've been so busy this spring, I hadn't spent much time in my boat anyway. It was fun to meet up with the group and draw and see all the show, as well as seeing friends from the regular kayak racing circuit.
Above is a pretty fast watercolor of the racers coming into the harbor and toward the finish line. Below is an even faster sketch of the finish line itself with orange buoys and a crew of people right on the shoreline. Things were moving very quickly, so I was challenged to just get something down.
I did one more finished work before the racers got going. The Outdoors workers set up a tent at the finish to tabulate the results. I love the shapes and colors of tents.
And I finished with a sketch of people relaxing after the race. I'm still working on capturing people in a way that satisfies me.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.