Alexander O'Connell Blog

Friday, 30 October 2009

Getting started and finding my inner artist (part 1)

Hi everyone,

Here is my long awaited (and I hope soon to be much-anticipated) first blog entry.

My name is Alex O'Connell, and since graduating from university in the summer, I have moved back to Brentwood, Essex and started training full time for (everyone breathe in deep with me) the 2012 Olympic Games to be held in London. I compete in fencing by the way - men's sabre is my event for any afficionados... I'm excited. And so should you be - in about 1000 days time, the greatest sporting event the world has ever seen will be right here on our very doorstep - we're all going to be a part of the magic that happens that summer.

I will be here along the way, guiding any intrepid followers I am fortunate enough to pick up through my highs (hopefully there will be loads) and lows (just one or two, you know, becuase they are inevitable).

First off, I was lucky enough to be invited to Shenfield High School last week to work with the Art Department and some of the school's most gifted young people on a project with professional artist Ben Dearnley. I had a great time working with Ben last summer on a project called Avenue of Champions and was even invited to a very classy showing of the collection in a West London gallery.

The brief this time was very different, and gave both Ben and myself a lot more room for using our imaginations! Alongside the Journey to the Podium programme run by Essex County Council, Ben, myself and all of the students must come up with a display based around my own sport, fencing, to be shown at a Cultural Conference run by the council later in the year.

After a few words from Ben, the students got to work drawing me in a number of still life poses, difficult for them and for me to stand still for 10-15 minutes at a time. The results, however, were amazing! As someone who rather struggled as a budding artist in my school days, I was so thrilled to see all of the awesome work the guys and girls came up with.

I had a lot of fun at the school, and next week Im heading back with Ben for a second session where al the students will take a turn donning some of my kit to have a closer look at the art of fencing, and then it will be my turn to take some snaps for the display - I'm excited.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Ben, Gemma Tremain and all of the SHS students ofr making my afternoon there so much fun. Fingers crossed we do a great job with the rest of the project guys!

Apart from that, training is going well, my physio is fixing up my back nicely and my coach is making sure I'm putting in the hard hours now in what is really my off season.

Hope everyone's enjoyed this, do tune in next time!


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