Sunday, September 18, 2011

Colors of the Tour de France, Stage 21

What is it about that last little bit of a project that's always so difficult to finish? Maybe it's the final piece of trim on a new window you installed, or that oil painting you spent months working on that now sits up against a wall, simply waiting for a frame.

Or maybe you assigned yourself the project of painting a watercolor for each stage of the Tour de France, and after twenty paintings completed and posted on your blog, you just can't bring yourself to do that last one!

A deadline really is a wonderful thing. There's no way I could have done twenty-one paintings had I sat down after the Tour and said: "I think I'm going to do a painting for each stage of the 2011 Tour de France." It was the challenge of doing them quickly during the Tour itself that kept my inner critic quiet. "Just leave me alone," I'd tell it, "I have a blog to write! It's good enough!"

But the final Stage 21 painting was different. There was no Stage 22 coming up the next day. No future stages that would pile up saying, "paint me now or else you'll fall hopelessly behind!" I had all the time in the world ... which really meant I had no time at all, because when tomorrow is an option, so many more mundane things start crowding into today.

So at long last, here is my Stage 21 Tour de France watercolor!

...or maybe I should say "post-Stage 21" painting. I think I'll call it: Tour de France, The Day After. Or maybe: A Tour de France Fan Lives Here.

Unlike football, baseball, hockey, or nearly any other sport, there's no stadium for road cycling that stands during the off-season. There are only scattered remnants of races past to remind us of all the fun and excitement of a remarkable Tour, like photos, articles, blogs, books, and journals ... and a few very special jerseys, hung out to dry until next year.

In my painting, life goes on down below on the street, but you never know where a Tour de France fan might live in the windows up above, reminiscing about Tours from earlier days, keeping the magic alive.

So to all the riders, team managers, mechanics, t.v. announcers, Tour organizers, journalists, wild & crazy roadside fans, and fellow television viewers, thanks for a wonderful 2011 Tour de France! I loved every minute of it. Vive Le Tour!