The Loudspeaker. The starting line. The lining up of the two boats – forward, back, forward. The pomp of the glorious costumes. Hats and wigs straightened.
Pencils, brushes, paint and paper are ready.
BANG! They are off. The digging in and the clash of the paddles. The water boils and spray hurtles upwards. Dragon Boat Racing is upon us.
They are round the bend now. Still in the distance. One slightly ahead of the other. Preliminary scurry of drawn lines. Pencil meets paper.
The drum beat! Smothered, dampened thuds at first. The cries and whoops of the crowd as the boats come scampering down the river towards us.
Drum beats get louder. More frantic. Boom…boom…boom! Brushes, watercolour, splash – get those colours down on the page.
They are upon us! Yelling, bellowing, a heaving mass of bodies, paddles, water, spray, dragons, pencils, paint, line and tone.
The drummer beats and shouts. The artist frantic – hands a blur.
It is close, very close, too close to call! Dragon heads straining forward, pulling and diving towards the finishing line…
It is over now. Paddles are shipped, and arms raised. The drums fall silent. The helmsmen serene, as the boats slide under the bridge.
The artist survives the carnage on the page, and the paint begins to dry.