JIM Edwards doesn’t usually include people in his paintings. But his latest commission to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Great South Run is a bit different to his normal work.
In 2005, Jim painted three pieces for the Great North Run in Newcastle, where he paints and lives.
Last year, the artist was invited by the Great South Run’s organisers to Portsmouth, in order to put a piece together for the event’s 25th year celebrations.
And now he is close to completing his work, which includes some of Portsmouth’s most iconic sites, including HMS Victory, the Spinnaker Tower and Southsea Common.
The 37-year-old artist told The News: ‘It started out when I was commissioned by the Great South Run.
‘A couple of years ago I did the Great North Swim and so I was asked to come down to Portsmouth for the event last year. I came down and watched the event and did some sketches for the organisers. They chose one and I’m in the process of finishing it off now.
‘The painting really focuses near the heritage area of Portsmouth.
‘I got HMS Victory on there as the main feature, with the runners filtering through the sights.
‘It was tricky to decide which ones to use as there are so many. I tend to work from memory and piece the city together in my mind.
‘Then I try to remember where buildings are.
‘It helps me to reimagine the city when I start working on pieces.
‘It’s been a difficult piece to do because I am so unfamiliar with the city. It’s so much easier with a city like Newcastle because I know where everything is.
‘I think it’s going to be finished over the next week. It’s just a case of getting the runners finished.
‘Normally my paintings don’t have people in so it’s a real change for me, but I am pleased with how it has turned out.’
The painting, which uses acrylic paint on a self-made canvas, will be made into a number of signed prints in time for the race in October.
David Hart, communications director at Nova International which organises the race, said a limited number of prints will be sold, but a decision has not yet been made on how many.
‘It’s 25 years since the start of the Great South Run and we wanted to make it a momentous occasion,’ he said.
‘There are some iconic points along the route and we chose this out of Jim’s four sketches because it shows runners passing HMS Victory which is a really iconic symbol.’