WHILE artists may be accustomed to painting backdrops, one Oxfordshire painter has created a drop of a different kind.

Nigel Fletcher, from Sibford Ferris, created five different pieces of art depicting Mount Fuji which have now been used at the Tokyo Olympics.

His paintings of the famous volcano have together been coined the ‘Mount Fuji drop’ whilst being used in the equestrian cross-country events.

Mr Fletcher, 67, was afforded the opportunity by his son, Carl, who works as a course builder for equestrian events.

At the beginning of last year – before the Olympics were postponed due to the pandemic – Mr Fletcher was asked by his son if he could paint something for the course.

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Mr Fletcher, who has been a professional painter for 25 years, said: “Usually I’m painting a landscape in the field but this time I was in a barn using images of Mount Fuji online.

“It was quite difficult to set up as normally I’d work with an easel, and paint something a foot and a half wide.

“Instead, I had these six feet wide wooden panels – it was a completely different working process.

“I wanted them all to look different, using different angles and capturing Mount Fuji at different times of the year.

“I was using big brushes and just letting rip with them – it was really good fun and I enjoyed it.”

Banbury Cake: The course featuring artwork by Nigel FletcherThe course featuring artwork by Nigel Fletcher

It took a week for Mr Fletcher to complete the paintings, before they were sent off to Tokyo.

“Once I’d finished, they had to be wrapped very carefully before being sent to Tokyo,” he said.

“Most of the course was put together last year before it got cancelled.”

Banbury Cake: Course builders put the track togetherCourse builders put the track together

Despite the postponement, the Olympics is now well and truly underway this summer – without fans, however.

“It’s a bit unfortunate there’s no spectators who’ll be able to see all the hard work that’s gone into this,” said Mr Fletcher.

“However, seeing it on the TV was amazing – it brought it home.

“I did these paintings in a barn and then to see them at the Olympics is quite a big deal.

“When you get these famous Olympians jumping over the fences, it’s quite surreal and I’ve had plenty of people get in touch – it’s quite bizarre really.

“I’ve never done anything on this scale before.

“I did a big mural at the entrance to Banbury rail station back in 2001.

“That took three weeks, and I got all the commuters going to and from London every day checking it out and asking how it was progressing.”

When the Olympics finishes, Mr Fletcher is unsure on what will happen to the paintings that started off in a barn in Hook Norton and appeared on televisions across the globe.

“I’m not sure what will happen with them afterwards, whether they get auctioned off or not, we shall see,” he said.