Image of the Month: The Runner’s Dilemma by Barry Harrison SGFA


“The Runner’s Dilemma” pencil on paper, 21 x 27.9 cm, Barry John Harrison SGFA

My crayons definitely decorated the walls when I was a child, but the trauma of chastisement is forgotten; all I know is that in my teens I started drawing and since then I have never stopped, slowed sometimes, but never stopped. In true artistic tradition I was the child with the sick note and managed to stay well away from most exercise. Then, oddly, in my mid 40s I tried long and then longer distance walking which led to running, then marathons and ultramarathons. So now I had two obsessive compulsive disorders (actually more, but I won’t bore you), drawing and running.

People I meet find this an odd combination, but mentally they are very similar, physically one is a little more perilous; yes I have cut myself sharpening a pencil, but the injury has never needed physiotherapy. A run and a drawing are difficult to start, the horror of the blank white page, dare you mar it; the thought of leaving a warm house and going out in the usually inclement weather. Then when you do start it’s mark after mark, or step after step. Sometimes brain and body enter a state where everything feels possible, at other times it is all frustration, but something keeps you going. And it is the keeping going that is the real pleasure. A marathon is a runners high, but it is the 30/40+ miles you run week after week that is the real thing. When your picture, in its neat frame, goes on the wall there is the feeling of achievement, but it’s the making of the marks that is important.

Further Information: Barry Harrison SGFA

The Society of Graphic Fine Art has a history of supporting the AGBI, Artists General Benevolent Institution. The charity is best known for being set up by J.M.W. Turner. Many artists are self-employed and work to a strange flow of commissions and projects. This can result in too much or too little work coming in, making financial planning difficult. The AGBI was set up to help artists who become ill or who die leaving young children with no financial support.

On the 24th of April this year Barry Harrison SGFA is running the London Marathon for the AGBI. If you would like to support Barry’s run you can send a pledge of a set amount or price per mile to

Charlie Kirkham SGFA is Editor of the Society of Graphic Fine Art Journal and a contributing writer. For more information please see

This entry was posted in Image of the Month and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s