Sports Artist John Robertson's most recent commercial project (upcoming Milwaukee Bucks 2018) the remodel of the NFL Green Bay Packers football stadium suites area that opened in July 2017 – (8 paintings) and three (8 feet by 15 feet) baseball paintings for the new MLB Atlanta Braves stadium that opened in April 2017. Click on the “About” link for more commercial sports stadiums and arenas work.
As a sports artist one would think that I played golf as it is a leisurely sports activity for a guy getting into my age bracket. There are not many sports I can play at my age, much less in the Masters. I once managed a golf driving range and took quite a few lessons so you’d think I would want to get out on the links and bang the ball around. But that is the problem – I would just bang the ball and chase it in to high grass on either side of the fairways. I lugged my golf bag around with two ball retrievers – just in case I broke one. Even after all the practice and golf lessons and videos I watched the only way I could lever lower my score was to cheat. My best method was
using the “close enough to the hole” as if you were tossing grenades. That grenade method of measurement of success (close enough) could turn a four put into a two.
Time-lapse Video (34 seconds) Speed Painting of Golfer
So for relaxation I took up the “sport” of painting – with a bit of success. If you visit some of the newest sports stadiums or arenas in this country you may stumble upon a few of my paintings. (See Bio) . The time lapse golf video you see here is a sample of what I do with paint. It’s short – the demonstration painting in an expressionistic and impressionistic manner is about 34 seconds and the actual sports art is about seven feet. If you are on my blog you surely know that I am a sports artist, painting professionally for sports stadiums and arenas and other commercial projects. I take commissions and would be happy to do a sports selfie of you playing your favorite sport. You can reach me through my contact pages and I will be happy to discuss the possibilities with you.
The golf painting of PGA player Bubba Watson with hid perfect swing by sports art is John Robertson is 4 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.
When I was in college I managed a golf driving range for about a year. It could be boring standing at the counter asking, “premium or regular” which referred to the quality of the practice golf balls and not the quality of gasoline that was served at the “service” stations where I also worked. Among the other jobs at the golf driving range I had to do was to drive the “golf picker” which was an old Willies Jeep towing a raker that scraped up the golf balls from from the brown dirt. There were targets on the driving range at 50 yards and 100 yards and 150 yards and 200 yrds and 250 yards. But the main target was me driving the golf picker.
The fun part of the golf job was watching a golf hustler, who hung out at the driving range, hustling customers with his trick shots. He was about 5 feet 4 inches tall, and had to be over two hundred pounds. He wore crazy colored golf shorts and was as hairy as a fat, brown bear. I found a mentor.
I saw him out drive people with a shovel and a rake. I saw him make a bet with a guy that he could stand on one picnic bench, tee up a golf ball on another picnic bench (he put the tee between the crack between the two strip of wood on the bench) and with his favorite garden rake, drive the ball off the bench over 175 yards and hit the target out on the range. I saw him stand on one side of the golf shack and with a garden hoe, pitch the ball blindly over the shack and come within ten feet of the 75 yard target. I saw him pocket a lot of money. The owner said when he came around, chase him off. But the owner was seldom there and I was mentored and entertained. Also, as the saying goes, “don’t poke the bear.”
This golf art came about when Sonia posted a photograph of her son Bear Huff on my Facebook page . This is what she said “This is my son playing in the World Jr Masters Golf Tournament in Las Vegas, NV last year at 9 years old. Bear has been playing golf since he was 1 1/2 and in tournaments since he was 4.” He began his love of the game from watching his biggest fan and coach…his Daddy!
What I like about the game of golf is some of the interesting words used, like: “Birdies, Bogeys, and Bump and ” which to the to the uninitiated has little meaning. I always think of it in terms of football when a defensive back lines up in front of a wide receiver and bumps the receiver as he leaves the line of scrimmage (in the old days of football that was a slap to the helmet) to disrupt his route. In Nascar racing a “bump and run” is when a car from behind bumps intentionally the car in front of him (like a police pit maneuver) and then passes him by. Back to golf. The “bump and run” is, unlike a standard chip shot, where you want to carry the fringe of the green (that’s the hairy stuff around the green’s edge,), the goal with the bump-and-run is to get the ball to bounce a few times short of the green and roll to the hole.
Stupid Golf Joke
Which leads me to a stupid golf joke. Two golfers were trying to figure out which ball belonged to who as both were using a Titleist number three. Unable to decide they went to the clubhouse and asked the golf pro for a ruling After hearing their story and congratulating them both on their fine golf shot asked, “Now who was playing with the yellow ball?
As I had never painted a golfer before and have shown little interest in golf, some of my friends asked why I painted the great PGA champion golfer, Phil Mickelson. They know I am a sports fan but didn’t think I had any connection with golf.
In my early twenties – twenty, to be exact, I was just out of the service and I needed a job. To paraphrase William Makepeace Thayer, I wanted to become wealthy, influential, virtuous and a honored man. The mother of the girl I was seeing was dating a man who owned a golf driving range. It was on Wilshire Blvd. in Westwood, Ca and only a few blocks from UCLA. Originally I was hired to drive the picker – an old, opened army jeep with a wire mesh cage around the driver’s area. Behind it dragged the picker, which scoured the earth for golf balls and rolled them up into a bin. I was on my way to great success.
When driving the picker the people practicing on the driving range found great sport in trying to hit the moving target – me in the jeep. When the golf balls hit their target they bounced off the cage with a loud bang the scared the crap out of me. The golf balls could never penetrate the cage but sometimes they embedded themselves in the wire mesh. I never got used to the balls ricocheting off the wire and jeep.
After picking up the balls they were then brought into the golf shack and dumped into a big, upright, wringer washing machine and cleaned. Then they were pulled out onto huge drying trays. And now I was able to make my own, very important decisions – sort the golf balls by quality. Uncut golf balls went into the premium basket, slightly cut went into a good basket and the badly cut golf balls went into a third, really crappy basket of golf balls. Each was then put out front for the golfers to choose the price and quality of golf balls they wanted to hit.
I drove the picker and sorted balls for about three months, and then the manager quit. The owner promoted me (with a raise in salary) and I became “The Manager.” Greater success was coming faster than I had anticipated. I think I made about $1.45 an hour. Yes, it was a long time ago. Minimum wage was $1.25 an hour. My responsibility, as manager, was to stand behind the counter and hand out golf balls. “Premium or cut?” I would ask. It was better than working at Uncle John’s Pancake House but not as fun as working at the Wilshire Gas Station (where premium gas sold for 29.9 cents. Yes. 30 cents a gallon.
The golf range land was leased from the Federal Government and after about a year of working there the government cancelled the range owner’s lease, (something to do with not paying his rent) took back the land and eventually built a whole Federal Government Complex in Westwood – the Wilshire Federal Building. And there went my interest and success in a golfing career.
While I was in college I managed a golf driving range and had an opportunity to hit a lot of golf balls. I always remember the golf hustler that would hang around the golf shack trying to get bets on different shots off the tee. His favorite line to me was “Swing at it again.” I think the only reason he stood behind me was so I wouldn’t see him laughing at me. I saw him hit golf balls off the picnic tables and benches set up in front of the shack. He took a garden hoe from the tool shed and hit the the 200 yard sign from the roof of the golf shack.
Artist John Robertson Golf Ball painting is 50″ x 70″ acrylic on unstretched canvas