For 21 days, Dutch artist Rob Ijbema creates multiple acrylic, canvas paintings that capture the big, important, and decisive moments from each stage of this year’s Tour de France. With his many years of experience as a painter, he is in his third year of “Painting Le Tour.”
Ijbema now has three collections of Tour De France paintings starting from 2013-2015. His past collections can be purchased in the form of a book or a calendar. He has been painting since he was 12 years old, growing up in Holland, where he began painting race cars. When he wasn’t creating art with a brush, he was building model cars from scratch.
“First, painting was mainly racing cars, but modern tracks are boring,” he said. “I caught a glimpse of the Tour, and the light went on. It reminded me of my childhood in Holland. The best bit about cycling is I can combine my passion for speed, movement, light, colors, and beautiful scenery. The painting I’m most pleased with from this year’s Tour is Rafa [Rafal Majka] winning his stage.”
After years of creating models for car racing teams, he decided that he needed a change of medium, which was when he decided that painting was going to be his new ambition. But eventually, painting cars, flowers, and buildings didn’t interest him anymore. He was looking for something new and invigorating to fuel his passion and artwork.
“[I] built lots of model cars from scratch … plastic, cardboard, paper clips, etc. The models took over and after hitching from Holland to Monaco the drivers and teams started buying them. So I moved from Holland to England where I made models for all the famous names in racing. I have always been painting since I was 12, copying the old Dutch masters like Rembrandt, Vermeer, etc.
“My first love was racing cars, so painting them was natural. After 10 years it was time for a change so painting it was. I learned from en plein air painting … outside in nature where you have to finish a painting in two hours. Light, shadows, and in Wales, the weather changes quick. Hence my impressionistic style … which can move from expressionistic to almost abstract.”
Ijbema’s paintings have become so popular that by the Tour’s end, almost all the works are sold. If you would like to own a unique piece of art, go to his website to see the collections or you can find his work through his Facebook page for “Painting Le Tour.” From Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick-Step) taking yellow, to Simon Geschke’s (Giant-Alpecin) incredible ride in stage 17, Ijebma’s collection is kept up to date at the end of each stage and highlights memorable moments and riders.