Motorsport art by John Ketchell

Detailed and wild at the same time

I’ve said many times that showing speed on a flat art canvas is difficult. But not impossible. John Ketchell proves that with his version of motorsport art. His depiction of historic race cars is painted with great care and precision. There is great detail in those race cars that are readily identifiable.

But then they come blasting out of backgrounds painted with broad paint strokes. Coupled with narrow vertical strokes, the combination gives that elusive appearance of speed and movement. 

A historic mindset

Mr. Ketchell concentrates on the racing of the 50s, 60s and 70s for the most part. Iconic race cars and their drivers populate virtually all of his motorsport art, to great effect. Cars charging at you at all angles brings excitement. Background paint strokes give atmosphere to the subjects. This is best used when depicting a rain a thorough soaking-- motorsport art by john ketchellrace, headlight beams bouncing off the raindrops and water flowing out the back in great rooster tails. In the piece featured at the top of the page, Night Vision, a Ferrari 512S seems to charge into the night’s darkness at LeMans fronted by fog and pummeled by rain.

In A Thorough Soaking, another Ferrari 512S charges up the pit lane straight at Brands Hatch in 1970 through the rain. Thin stilettos of white rain pelt down on the race car while race crews bide their time in the pit lane. A Gulf Porsche gives chase in the background, just making its way onto the pit straight.

Now for something completely different

speed addict-- motorsport art by john ketchellSpeed is everything in Speed Addict. That’s Donald Campbell and the 1967 Bluebird Hydroplane charging to insane speeds on water. The boat seems to be flying through the air, just inches above the water that could rip the boat to shreds given one false move or errant wave.

looking into it-- motorsport art by john ketchellMotorsport art by John Ketchell also veers to the pensive and calm of the Monaco pit lane in Looking Into It. Mechanic and driver  pause to consider their next move under the hood of the Maserati GP car of Louis Dreyfus. The crank-started car is the center of attention as the mechanic figures in white tend to the human and mechanical needs of a team competing at a race meeting as important as the Monaco Grand Prix.

There’s so much more to the motorsport art of John Ketchell

From Indy to LeMans, F1 to Daytona and on the speed record venues of the world, John Ketchell centers on the iconic vehicles that excite and entertain us. You can see more of Mr. Ketchell’s work on his website.

To purchase prints or original Ketchell art, go to the Historic Car Art site.

For an extended preview of Ketchell artworks, see below.

Even more racing art here.

A gallery of motorsport art by John Ketchell