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You are in: Manchester > People > profiles > Spotting a champion

Nikki Douthwaite and her portrait of Lewis Hamilton

Nikki and her portrait of Lewis

Spotting a champion

Art and Formula One might not seem like the most obvious mix, but for Nikki Douthwaite, they have always been her twin passions, which is why she’s brought them together for her latest picture – a portrait of the new world champion, Lewis Hamilton.

Nikki has loved F1 for as long as she can remember, so it’s no surprise that when she was looking for inspiration for her next picture, the subject jumped out as the most obvious choice – especially after one glorious day in July.

Nikki's portrait of Lewis Hamilton

Nikki's portrait of Lewis Hamilton

"I went to the British Grand Prix two days before my graduation, and was already thinking what next? I am a McLaren fan, always have been, and when Lewis at Silverstone, I just thought I know what I'll do next!"

Nikki’s had faith that her hero would take the championship crown ever since, though she admits that those gripping last moments in Brazil were nail-biters.

"I nearly had a heart attack in the last few laps of the race. I was literally using my McLaren flag as a hankie, sobbing when I thought he'd just lost out, then screaming when he won.

"It's been a long time coming for all the McLaren fans out there – it’s nine years since we won a drivers championship, and we’ve twice missed out by one point, not to mention what happened last year; so it was total elation for Nikki!"

Nikki Douthwaite at Silverstone in 2005

Always an F1 fan: Nikki at Silverstone in 2005

Quite why Nikki is such an F1 fan, she isn’t sure, but she says her love of cars goes back as far as her love of art, and that the two things aren’t as disparate as people might think.

"I just have always been into cars, even when I was little. My mum said my present for my second birthday was a garage and cars; I guess I was never a girly girl.

"I think my art and F1 aren’t that far apart. Driving an F1 car is an art form, they are made up of lots of parts that are carefully put together to make one large finished piece. Each season they find out what they did wrong or how they can improve for the next year, just like I do with my pictures, not to mention the dedication and the approach tactics. Is it really that different?"

"Getting the colour mixture right on Lewis wasn't easy. I actually did a week and threw it away because he was looking rather yellow."

Nikki on how difficult it is to get her dots right

You certainly can’t question the dedication argument. The work that goes into one of her dot pictures means that Nikki has spent most of her time between the British Grand Prix and Lewis’ championship drive in Brazil sticking the tiny circles to canvas – though she says this picture was a little easier than the last one she did (a reimagining of Georges-Pierre Seurat’s pontillist classic, 'Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte').

"This time I had learnt a few ‘what not to do’ tips from the first one. The two pictures are very different though, in that the composition on the first one was harder, but getting the colour mixture right on Lewis wasn't easy.

"I actually did a week and threw it away because he was looking rather yellow."

Some of the dots that make up Lewis Hamilton

Some of the dots that make up Lewis

Having paid tribute to F1, her greatest love, with her art, Nikki isn’t certain just what she’ll create next – though she says that whatever it is, it won’t be started for a while.

"I am sure that there are more dots to come, I just can't face any at the moment. 825,000 dots in two pictures in one year is enough dots for me right now.

"Besides, I am not sure how I will top Lewis!"

last updated: 03/11/2008 at 09:45
created: 03/11/2008

You are in: Manchester > People > profiles > Spotting a champion

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