high school high jumper painting

Girl high school high jumper, jumping and clearing the high bar
A high school high jumper painting by sports artist John Robertson is approximately 4 feet by 7 1/2 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Seventeen year old high school High jumper, Jaimee, from a small town a Northern Ontario, Canada high school, high jumps 1.55 meters and holds the record for her school.

I remember being in Junior high and then high school long before there was the high jumping technique the “Fosbury Flop” which I painted here.  In junior high school we started out using the scissors jump because it was safe and easy.  Couldn’t get much height using that technique which was basically you run towards the high bar and take-off on one leg kicking it upward near the bar and try and swing it over the bar.  On the other side you land on two feet.  Kind of scissoring in the air.  Then we graduated tpo the western roll (running up to the bar , throwing the outside leg up and rounding over the bar)  The Fosbury Flop came into use in about 1965.  That is what you see here in my high jump painting.  Here is a good article about The Fosbury Flop and its beginnings

A high school girl hjigh jumper clearing the high bar
Jaimee, High School high Jumper

All I know is that I was not successful in any technique no matter what I tried.  As I said to my gym coach,  “I think I am allergic to the high jump.”  He answered, “You will get over it.”

Baseball Paintings Jim Bouton Knuckleball Atalanta Braves

Sports artist John Robertson'sBaseball Paintings. Jim Bouton is 5 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.
Baseball paintings. Jim Bouton pitcher for Atlanta Braved by Sports artist John Robertson is 5 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Baseball painting of Jim Bouton was a pitcher in the major leagues for a number of years playing for the New York Yankees, Seattle Pilots, Houston Astros and ended his career with the Atlanta Braves.  The longer he played in the Major Leagues he was able to extend his playing days developing the knuckleball.  As you see in the painting he is demonstrating how the knuckleball is held in the hand for throwing a pitch.

Jim Bouton who became a really good knucklball pitcher for the Atlanta Braves  wrote the classic baseball book, BALL FOUR.  The painting is  5 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.

One of things he is best known for is his memoir of his playing years with the New York Yankees, Seattle Pilots and the Houston Astros.  He had played in the 1962 World Series and was in the 1963 MLB All-Star game.

In Jim Bouton’s book “Ball Four” broke baseball’s code of silence where the athletes did not speak about what went on in the background of baseball.  The book is a memoir that described the petty jealousies on the team, as well as camaraderie, raucous tomcatting, game-winning heroics, routine drug use and the pain professional athletes endure.  One of Bouton’s important line in the book: “You spend your life gripping a baseball,” Jim Bouton wrote, “and it turns out that it was the other way around all along.”

Here is one of the the interesting stories from the book “Ball Four”

“I think the big deal was, I said Mickey Mantle had a home run with a hangover. And, you know, it was more of a story about what a great hitter he was, what a great player he was.

“We have been out the night before, having a few drinks, and Mickey came to the clubhouse the next day, and he was a little hung over. So, you know, Ralph Houk said, ‘Don’t worry about it. Sleep it off in the trainer’s room. We’ll put somebody else in center field.’ Anyway, the game goes extra innings. We need a pinch-hitter in the 10th. Somebody went to wake up the Mick. He comes out, put a bat in his hands. He walks up to home plate, takes one practice swing and hits the first pitch into the left field bleachers, a tremendous blast.

“Guys are going nuts. He comes over, crosses home plate. Actually, he missed home plate. We have to send him back for that. He comes over to the dugout, and he looks up in the stands, and he says, those people don’t know how tough that really was. Then after the game, the sportswriter said, ‘Mick, how did you that?’ … And he said, ‘Well, it was very simple. I hit the middle ball.’ ”


Painting Linebacker Patrick Willis SF 49ers Art

Painted Patrick Willis for my Cardiologist

My first painting of Patrick Willis was a small piece that I did for my cardiologist after my heart surgery.  I knew he was a 49ers fan so I asked the head nurse in his office to find out who was his favorite player on the 49ers without tipping him off about me painting something for him.  She said, all the other cardiologists in the office talked football every Monday morning so she would ask them without letting him find out.  Patrick Willis was his favorite.

My next appointment after the surgery I gave him the painting.  He was shocked and excited.  He immediately took a photograph of the painting and started texting it to all his friends.  He even sent it to his mother.  Obviously he liked it.

About Patrick Willis

Sports Artist John Robertson's painting of San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis (retired) is 4 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas
Sports Artist John Robertson’s painting of San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis (retired) is 4 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas

Patrick Willis came into the NFL in 2007 and was defensive player of the year.  A great start.  But not the best way to go out – as he had a toe injury in the 2014 season and surgery that left him with feet that were painful and tender.   A seven time Pro-Bowler he never got his Super Bowl ring – a big disappointment to him.  He went into retirement because of the toe and all were disappointed as he was a favorite and backbone of the defense.  There were rumors that he might return for next season but he will be thirty-one years old – still not too old but in his physical condition it may pose s problem.

Some of you who follow my blog know that I created five large-scale pieces of art for the San Francisco Forty Niners, Levi Stadium. You can see some of the pieces on this blog.

Painting taekwondo martial arts Fighting stance art

Painting Tae Kwon Do fighter in Stance ArtSports Paintings Taekwondo

Kayla is age 9 and a purple belt in TaeKwonDo.” Kayla is very interested in training in taekwondo which boosts self confidence and self esteem.  This makes her become more sure of herself and gains confidence in her approach to life. Here is a little story about Kayla that demonstrates what she has learned in her training.

About Kayla

Kayla takes pride in her sport and is goal orientated.  She had to personally raise money to travel to a tournament and chose to sell candy bars.  So Kayla set up a table in front of a local store and waited patiently for someone to come and buy something.   Tae Kwon Do teaches patience.  Finally a man approached her table and wanted 3 candy bars.  Three cost nine dollars.  The man handed her a ten dollar bill.

Painting Taekwondo fighter in Stance ArtBeing polite (another skill learned in Taekwondo) she smiled and put the money in a small box.

The man waited a minute then asked, ” May I have my change?”

With great respect and courtesy (taught in Tae Kwon Do) she responded, “Change must come from within.”

For those of you who didn’t know Taekwondo you can see that Taekwondo is a great learning tool for children. It does this by  combining combat and self-defense techniques with sport and exercise.

About The sport:

A good definition of tae kwon do comes from a book titled Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts written by Donn F. Draeger and Robert W. Smith. “Taekwondo is an empty-hand combat form that entails the use of the whole body. Tae means “to Kick” or “Smash with the feet,” Kwon implies “punching” or “destroying with the hand or fist,” and Do means “way” or “method.” Taekwondo thus, is the technique of unarmed combat for self defense that involves the skillful application of techniques that include punching, jumping kicks, blocks, dodges, parrying actions with hands and feet. It is more than a mere physical fighting skill, representing as it does a way of thinking and a pattern of life requiring strict discipline. It is a system of training both the mind and the body in which great emphasis is placed on the development of the trainee’s moral character.”

About the painting

The painting by Sports Artist John Robertson is approximately 4 feet by 7 1/2 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas

Golf Art of A Boy Swinging a Golf Club Painting

Golf Art of Bear Huff

Golf Art painting with sports artist John Robertson standing with the painting
Sports Artist John Robertson’s painting of Bear Huff, 9 year old golfer

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!

You can follow Bear Huff on his facebook page.

A very little about golf

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” iGolf Art photograph of Bear Huff swinging a golf clubs 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?


Soccer painting Art boy playing Soccer

Soccer painting of Boy

I thought I might share a soccer painting I did for someone who has followed my paintings.  They took the photograph of their eight year old son playing soccer in his after school sports program.   The painting is 5 feet by 6 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Soccer Painting Boy Kicking Soccer Ball Art

As you can see by the way this boy approaches the ball that he knows how to kick a soccer ball. You can tell that he has a high soccer IQ.   Even being so young he looks quite impressive the way he is running down the field.  I’d say, a natural athlete.  I really don’t know anything about him other than receiving the photo.  But it is fun to make up stories about the boy in the painting.  So, the questions are:

  1.  How old is he?

  2. How long has he been playing soccer?

  3.  What position does he play?

4.Soccer Boy Kicking soccer Ball  Does he play other sports?

5,  Was one of his parents an athlete?

  1.  How is he doing in school?

7;  What does he want to be when he grows up?

The questions could be endless.


Dallas Cowboys Painting of Emmitt Smith Running Back Football Art

Painting of Dallas Cowboys Emmitt Smith

This is a painting of the All Pro, Dallas Cowboys, Emmitt Smith. It is 50" x 70" acrylic on unstretched canvas.
This is a painting of the All Pro, Dallas Cowboys, Emmitt Smith. It is 50″ x 70″ acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Here is a link to a great bio of the great running back for the Dallas Cowboys, Emmitt Smith on his official web site.  This is a short bit about him from the site.  “Smith first rose to prominence via an illustrious football career, which included three Super Bowl championships as a member of the Dallas Cowboys and the honor of being the only player to have won a Super Bowl MVP, NFL MVP and NFL Rushing Crown in the same season. Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2010, Smith is the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, having amassed 18,355 yards during his 15 seasons.

Emmitt Smith was inducted into the  Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.  Here is a link to his Hall of Fame speech. Very inspiring

To get an idea of what  gracious guy Emmitt Smith is one only needs to read what he had to say when DeMarco Murray became the all-time leading ball carrier for the Dallas Cowboys.   Smith’s single season record was 1,773 yards set in 1995. Murray also wrapped up the rushing title as the league’s top running back.  “I couldn’t be happier for him,” Emmitt Smith said. “He is very deserving of this recognition. This is something that I know DeMarco will share with the whole team, because he knows that they all had a hand in his success.” …. “I am proud of him because I know how hard it is to do what he did this year,” Smith said. “I am also proud because I’ve watched him bounce back from some injury setbacks in his first few years. He’s a worked through all that, and he deserves to have this record. I want him and the whole team to keep up this level of play and carry it into the playoffs.”

San Francisco Giants Baseball paintings Willie Mays Art Book

San Francisco Giants Willie Mays

Baseball images of San Francisco Giants Hall of Fame baseball player Willie Mays in a short book. There is a short narrative about Willie Mays that accompanies the 10 images in the book.  As most of you probably know Willie Mays is one of the greatest baseball players in history,

The “Say Hey Kid”

Willie Mays dad played semi-pro baseball and had the nickname of “Cat” and his mother was an athlete in high school running track as a sprinter.  The way Willie Mays got the nickname “Say Hey Kid” was that he played stickball with the local kids in Harlem and his his enthusiastic exuberance earning him the nickname, the “Say Hey Kid.”

Great Baseball Play

Willie May made one of the most famous defensive plays in baseball history – and it is among the paintings I did for a short Fox Sports interview.  I painted an image of Willie for an interview conducted by Derick Jeter and Ken Griffy Jr. during an all star game televised on Fox Sports.  The play was Willie running down a mammoth drive to deep center field in Game 1 of the World Series to help the Giants beat the favored Cleveland Indians for the championship.  The painting is also in this short booklet.  If you would like to see the 4 1/2 minute interview it is located on youtube here

Baseball painting Pitcher Sandy Koufax LA Dodgers Sports Art

Sandy Koufax “the Left Arm of God”

Painting image of Los Angeles Dodgers Sandy Koufax on the pitcher's mound showing his great follow through after he has thrown the pitch.
A client had seen an earlier version of this Sandy Koufax painting that is on this blog and wanted one for his father. This one is painted with acrylic inks on drafting film. The other Sandy Koufax painting was painted in oil. The overall size is 11″ x 14″

Sandy Koufax is considered one of the greatest pitchers ever to play the game.  His nickname was “The Left Arm of God”  He played his entire career with the Brooklyn and LA Dodgers retiring in 1966  because of arthritis in his left elbow at age 30.

One of the things Sandy Koufax is remembered for was his decision not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur.  It was a conflict between professional pressures and personal beliefs.  Koufax was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 1972 – the youngest ever inducted at the time at 36 years old.

Story about Sandy Koufax

Here is one of the great stories about Koufax that I found on Wired “Cruel Curveball Science; Nasty Koufax” BY DAVID DOBBS

“Koufax had to face the terrifying Mickey Mantle. The book on Mantle, Leavy explains, was never ever ever EVER throw him the curve. For he was so strong in his upper body and arms that even if you fooled him badly and got him to commit his hips too early, he could still crush the ball as long as his hands were still back. So don’t throw him the hook. Just don’t. And if you can throw 100 mph, like Koufax could, why throw the curve?

Because you’re Koufax.

So in the first game in which they meet — Game 1 of the 1963 World Series, Dodgers v Yankees — Koufax faces Mantle three times. On the first at-bat he strikes out Mantle throwing nothing but fastballs.

Mantle’s second time up, Koufax gets two strikes on him. Everyone in the park is thinking heat. But Koufax shakes off the fastball sign once, twice. Catcher catches on, puts down two fingers to call for the curve. And Koufax’s curve was a horrid thing to a batter, possibly the best curveball ever, a nose-to-toes diver that just killed batters, flummoxed them utterly, destroyed their minds.  Yet still, he’d been told NOT to throw this thing to Mantle. So he decdies he’s going to. And he does.

Ball comes in eye-high, just buzzing … and just before reaching the plate it dives, crossing the plate at Mantle’s knees. Mantle flinches, just the tiniest bit,  but never moves the bat. Ump calls strike three. Mantle stands there an extra beat, then turns to the catcher and says, “How the fuck is anybody supposed to hit that shit?” And walks back to the dugout.”

Most of the paintings shown on the blog have been sold.  (They sell fast)  But there are a few available.  If you click on the link for Paintings for Sale you can see what is available.  What I suggest is that you contact me for your specific need and I can easily paint something specific for you.  Just clink on the contact page for information.

Football Art Players Tackle Running Back Painting

Image football art of two football players one is a tackle who is trhying to block down another playerFootball Art: Why didn’t I play football in high school?

Pain.  Suffering. Didn’t make sense to me when I could make football art instead of getting banged round.  Didn’t have the time either because I wanted to go surfing after school.  If I was going to hit anything it was never going to be the school books or another guy on a football field.  All I wanted to do was to hit the beach.  Actually I would climb over the chain-link gym fence at lunchtime and ditch school early to go surfing.  I had a Fifty-Five Ford business coup (great link to photo of a 55 Ford Business Coup similar to what I had) that had no back seat so the surfboard could slide in the trunk and go through where the back seat should have been.  In those early days of surfing there was no surf rack.  The boards either rode inside the car or rested on a towel and tied to the roof with straps wound through the windows.   We did take a football to the beach with us to pass around as we rested between times in the water.  After getting tossed into the ocean and soaked in saltwater a number of times the ball would dry out and become hard as a rock.  After a period of time the leather would get dried salt stains on it’s surface – and the dogs used it as a salt lick.

Most of the paintings shown on the blog have been sold.  (They sell fast)  But there are a few available.  If you click on the link for Paintings for Sale you can see what is available.  What I suggest is that you contact me for your specific need and I can easily paint something specific for you.  Just clink on the contact page for information.

Football paintings USC Trojans UCLA Bruins running back image art

Football art painting UCLA player running back image 1Jim Mora, as head coach of the  UCLA Bruins is 3 and 0 verses the USC Trojans.  UCLA wins big 38 to 20. Credit to both teams who, wanting to get at each other, fought hard with a high scoring game.  These teams are a classic cross town rivalry.   It was a fun game to watch, particularly if you are a UCLA fan.  Which I am.

Sports image of football running back from UCLA Bruins carrying the football.  The football art is painted on a 10″ x 10″ archival board covered with newsprint about the Bruins football team from 1990.  Painted with ink and acrylic.

Sports image ofFootball art paintingUSC Trojans player running back image football running back from USC Trojans carrying the football.  The football art is painted on a 10″ x 10″ archival board covered with newsprint about the Trojans football team from 1990.  Painted with ink and acrylic.

These paintings are already sold but if you would like something similar please email me through the contact page.


A pair of Tango Dancers dancing across the floor on wood drawn in Charcoal

A pair of Tango Dancers dancing across the floor charcoal drawings on wood panel 18" x 24".
A pair of Tango Dancers dancing across the floor charcoal drawings on wood panel 18″ x 24″.

These charcoal drawings of Tango Dancers are on wood panel 18″ x 24″ and was drawn for a solo exhibition of Tango drawings at Gallery 381 in San Pedro CA.  There were approximately 20 tango dancer charcoal drawings in the show – mostly on paper..  The fun part of doing this show was invitation to come down to San Pedro to take Tango lessons and photograph the tango dancers.   I clopped round the dance floor as if I had horse shoes on – stepping on a number of toes.

When I was in high school I certainly had the ability to play a sport for the school. There were two reasons why I did not play an organized sport.  One of the main reasons I did not play sports was that I did not like the body contact with other guys.  Although a very good athlete I was not into that whole male bonding, jock, locker room kind of thing that  athletes had going.  I certainly had more interest in body contact with girls and preferred to be up in the stands next to my girlfriend.  I had no interest in being down on the football field piling onto the top of other guys or on a basketball court banging into other guys.  If I was going to be in the gym I preferred dancing with a girl in my arms. If I was going to be on top of someone it certainly was not going to be a group of guys. My interest was more towards being on top of my girlfriend, That just seemed to make more sense to me.

A pair of Tango Dancers dancing across the floor charcoal drawings on wood panel 18" x 24".
A pair of Tango Dancers dancing across the floor charcoal drawings on wood panel 18″ x 24″.

And the second reason I didn’t play high school sports was that my grades didn’t allow for it.  One had to have a C average.  I didn’t even have a D average.  To give you an idea of how bad a student I was – our high school class had eight-hundred-and-thirty-seven students in it.  I was ranked eight-hundred-and-thirty-five. There were eight-hundred-and-thirty-four students that had better grades than me.   There were only two students that had worse grades than me – and those two were by friends.   Good friends.  I didn’t make the cut.  I didn’t graduate,

A pair of Tango Dancers dancing across the floor charcoal drawings on wood panel 18″ x 24″.I do not have many paintings in my studio available for sale,  If you are interested in a painting of a specific subject matter please do not hesitate to contact me for consultation.  I do many commissions for individual clients.  Please contact me through the aboutme/contact page for any questions or thoughts that you may have.

Drew Doughty #8 Hockey Painting of LA Kings Defenseman art

LA Kings Drew Doughty

I had a great opportunity one season to go to the first game of the Stanley Cup  in Los

Hockey Painting of Drew Doughty #8, Defenseman for the LA Kings skating with the puck towards the goal is 11” x 14” ink on drafting film.
Hockey Painting of Drew Doughty #8, Defenseman for the LA Kings skating with the puck towards the goal is 11” x 14” ink on drafting film.

Angeles and see Drew Doughty of the LA Kings play..  As my son-in-law says  “Drew Doughty is a superstar defenseman.”    He is an integral part of the well-oiled machine that is the LA Kings.  One of the nicest things a teammate can say about another is what teammate Justin Williams says,  “Doughty gets better as the season progresses.  The great thing about him is he doesn’t know how great he really is.

How Drew Doughty Started Playing Defensemen

Drew tells an interesting story about how he started playing as a defenseman.  “Back when I was a kid in London I was a forward all the way until major bantam hockey.  Then one day we were short some defensemen at camp so they asked if I would play back on defense for a couple games.  I had been on the team for a while and I had kind of established myself so I tried it out and it and I played well.  So my coach asked if I minded switching to defense and I was happy to and it worked out.”

When anyone asks about his ability to play his supporters tell you all Doughty needs to do is go out and play his game. “Drew is a very simple kid – what you see is what you get,” veteran Sean O’Donnell says. “He doesn’t over think things. Whether he makes a good play or a bad play, he moves on. He’s got a short memory.”

Once again, it all goes back to his mindset. “On the ice I’m not worried about making a mistake,” Doughty says. “I’m never thinking, ‘If I make this play, what can go wrong?’ I’m thinking, ‘When I make this play, it’s going to happen the proper way and I’m going to make it.’ That helps me. I don’t get down on myself. Of course I’m angry for a little bit, but I get over it pretty quickly. I go back out there and I’ll make that same play again.”

Baseball paintings Willie Mays “The Say Hey Kid” art

Willie Mays Painting

This is about the sixth time I have painted a large scale painting of the great center fielder, Willie Mays, nicknamed The Say Hey Kid”  who played for the old New York Giants and the San Francisco Giants.  He finished his baseball career with the NY Mets. Painting of San Francisco Giants Willie Mays swinging a baseball bat and the catcher squatting behind him with the text The Say Hey Kid st the top. The first I painted Willie was for Fox Sports, a number of years ago.  Willie Mays was interviewed by Derek Jeter and  Ken Griffey Jr. during the 2007 Major League Baseball All Star Game for Fox Sports. If you watch the Willie Mays video on YouTube  or see it below,  you will see three large-scale paintings behind the three great baseball players  in the interview  The two portraits in the
interview are 5 feet by 6 feet and the famous Willie Mays “Catch”  was approximately 3 1/2 feet by 8 feet.   Like the paintings you see above, they were all painted with acrylic and on unstretched canvas.

Willie Mays interview All Star Game

Wille Mays Famous Catch

The famous catch Willie Mays made refers to a great catch he made during game 1 of the 1954 World Series between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Indians at the Polo
Grounds in New York.  It was September 29, 1954.  score was tied 2–2 in the top of the 8th
inning. Vic Wertz was at bat.  The count  to two balls and one strike,  Wertz hits
a ball approximately 420 feet to deep center field. Willie Mays, who was
playing in shallow center field, made an on-the-run, over-the-shoulder catch on
the warning track to make the out. Having caught the ball, he immediately spun
and threw the ball to hold a runner, who was at second, from scoring.  If Willie had not made “The Catch”  the two base runners would have been able to score and the game would have been at 4 to 2 in favor of the Indians.  The play saved the game and the  New York Giants went on to win the game and eventually the World Series in four straight games.
Willie said of the catch, “People talk about that catch and, I’ve said this many times, that I’ve made better catches than that many times in regular season. But of course in my time, you didn’t have a lot of television during the regular season. A lot of people didn’t see me do a lot of

Some of the more interesting facts about Willie is Mays is that he won two MVP awards and shares the record of most All-Star Games played (24) with Hank Aaron & Stan Musial.   Ted Williams said, “They invented the All-Star Game for Willie Mays.” Mays ended his career with 660 home runs, third at the time of his retirement, and currently fourth all-time. He was a center fielder and won a record-tying 2 Gold Gloves starting the year the award was introduced six seasons into his career.  In 1979 Willie Mays was inducted into MLB Hall of Fame on the first vote

1938 Buick Century Automobile Car Painting

Old Buick Car Painting

Tom Brizuela’s 1938 Buck Century car painting.  I met Tommy at a recent street car show on Main Street in Ventura, Ca. (Classics on the Coast).  There were over 300 cars on display and IPainting of Tom Brizuela's 1938 Buick Century from the Ventura, Ca. Artist John Robertson is standing next to the large scale painting that is 6 feet by 10 feet, ink and acrylic on unstretched canvas took the opportunity to photograph this beautiful Buick Century. Tom has worked for BMW for

a number of years, and, as you can see his main hobby is auto body restoration on pre-1960 vehicles and he does  custom car painting.


Facts about 1938 Buick

Some of the interesting facts about a 1938 Buick Century is that the base price started at $1,297. They made a little over 12,000 of these cars.   It had an Overhead-valve straight-eight, cast-iron block and cylinder head with a displacement of: 320.2 cubic inches.  Horsepower @ rpm: 141 @ 3,600 and Torque @ rpm: 269 @ 2,00.0.  The transmission was a Three-speed manual, floor lever.  Steering – Saginaw worm and roller. I just put this information in about the steering because I liked the sound of the words ” Saginaw worm and roller.”

My First Cars

When I was growing up in the 50’s my step dad had a gas station and garage.  It had one bay and he did every imaginable kind of work on a car.  He did ton’s of engine exchanges outside with block and tackle suspended from an “A” frame wooded structure,  besides rebuilds from the ground up.  Anything a customer wanted he could do.  I grew up around a lot of different cars, first working as a gas station attendant, pumping gas, washing all the windows around on the car, checking the oil, water, etc.  Later, as I got older I helped out in the shop with the engine work, starting with cleaning parts and working my way up to assembly.  I learned a lot about mechanical cars.

My first car was a 1940 Studebaker half ton pickup.  I was 15 years old and would get  about to get my driver’s learners permit in a half of a year..  My step dad brought the truck home from work (as I recall I paid $100 for it with the money taken out of my earnings at the station) and parked it in the driveway.  I had already driven a few cars around so I had some confidence driving.  I remember getting into the driver’s side of the cab, with my dad next to me.  He was going to let me back it out of the driveway.  I promptly engaged the clutch, put the three speed floor shifter into reverse to back out of the driveway.  I popped the clutch and promptly drove the truck forward through the garage door.  I had put it into first instead of reverse.  Thus began my experience of driving my own car.

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ Honus Wagner, a dead-ball era baseball player’s hands painting

Painting of MLB Baseball player Honus Wagner Shortstop Pittsburgh Pirates is approximately 54” by 68” acrylic on unstretched canvas.
Painting of MLB Baseball player Honus Wagner Shortstop Pittsburgh Pirates is approximately 54” by 68” acrylic on unstretched canvas.  John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ Honus Wagner, a dead-ball era baseball player who is widely considered to be one of the best players of all time.  Most people know him as having the most valuable baseball card.  The reason it is so valuable is because it was recalled in 1909 and all were destroyed except for a few that got into circulation.

Honus Wagner was an eight time National League batting champion, with a lifetime batting average of .328. He also led the league five times in stolen bases, five times in RBIs, eight times in doubles and three times in triples. He played nearly 2,800 games during his career, with 3,430 hits, 651 doubles, 252 triples and 722 stolen bases. Along with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson.  If you want all his stats here is the link to MLB site on Honus Wagner

Honus Wagner’s Hall of Fame Induction Speech June 12, 1939.  Cooperstown, NY.    “Ladies and gentlemen, I was born 1874, and this organization was started was 1876. When I was just a kid I said, “ I hope some day I’ll be up there playing in this league.” And by chance I did. Now Connie Mack the gentleman that preceeded me here at the mike, I remember walking fourteen miles just to see him play ball for Pittsburgh. (crowd laughs) Walking and running, or hitchhiking a ride on a buggy, them days we had no automobile. I certainly am pleased to be here in Cooperstown today, and this is just a wonderful little city, or town, or village or whaever we’d call it. It puts me in mind of Sleepy Hollow. (crowd laughs) However I want to thank you for being able to come here today.”  Honus Wagner was one of the first five inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.

close-up of a hand of Honus Wagner holding the sat
close-up of a hand of Honus Wagner holding the sat

Here is an interesting story about the baseball card from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.  The most famous T206 Honus Wagner is the “Gretzky T206 Honus Wagner” card. The card’s odd texture and shape led to speculation that it was altered. The Gretzky T206 Wagner was first sold by Alan Ray to a baseball memorabilia collector named Bill Mastro, who sold the card two years later to Jim Copeland for nearly four times the price he had originally paid. Copeland’s sizable transaction revitalized interest in the sports memorabilia collection market. In 1991, Copeland sold the card to ice hockey figures Wayne Gretzky and Bruce McNall for $451,000. Gretzky resold the card four years later to Wal-Mart and Treat Entertainment for $500,000, for use as the top prize in a promotional contest.

The next year, a Florida postal worker won the card and auctioned it at Christie’s for $640,000 to collector Michael Gidwitz. In 2000, the card was sold via Robert Edward Auctions to card collector Brian Seigel for $1.27 million. In February 2007, Seigel sold the card privately to an anonymous collector for $2.35 million. Less than six months later, the card was sold to another anonymous collector for $2.8 million. In April 2011, that anonymous purchaser was revealed to be Ken Kendrick, owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks.[3] These transactions have made the Wagner card the most valuable baseball card in history.  In October 2013, Bill Mastro pleaded guilty to mail fraud in U.S District Court — and admitted in the process that he had trimmed the Wagner card to sharply increase its value.

LA Kings Jonathan Quick Goalie art

Hockey Painting of Jonathan Quick #32, Goalie for the LA Kings blocking a shot photo is 11” x 14” ink on drafting film
Hockey Painting of Jonathan Quick #32, Goalie for the LA Kings blocking a shot photo is 11” x 14” ink on drafting film.  John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale.  

Because of the quality of play Jonathan Quick, who is considered one of the best hockey goalies in the NHL, it surprised me to find out that he was picked 72nd overall in the 2005 draft.  72nd?   With the LA Kings he had won two Stanly Cups, 2012 and 2014, and awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable player of the 2012 Stanly Cup playoffs.

In an article by Lisa Dillman, Dustin Brown was talking about the line between confidence and arrogance, and described how Jonathan Quick sets the tone for the veteran-heavy Kings by trending toward the first quality.  “It’s more of the same with Quickie,” Brown said. “It’s just the type of confidence he exudes, really. It’s a trickle-down effect. When you have a goalie who is not arrogant but very confident, it goes a long way in the demeanor of the whole team.  “Quickie’s quiet. He’ll make a glove save and he won’t do the big ‘I-saved the puck’ [flourish]. I guess that’s the only way I can explain it. He’ll make a save that he has no business making and he’ll act like it’s a routine save.”  Including what was considered by many to be the save of the season, on Blake Wheeler of the Winnipeg Jets at Staples Center on March 29. Quick was down, on his belly, and raised his leg to make an incredible kick save.  “The Scorpion Kick or whatever they call it,” Brown said. “It’s like that. Saves like that he shouldn’t make. He doesn’t make a big deal about it. But if you’re looking from the other team, you’re like: ‘Did he really just make that?

My son-in-law, who first got me interested in hockey and especially the LA Kings, plays in a hockey league.  His team is named the “Ice Holes” and he is the most penalized player on the team.  I will write about that some other time.  The interesting part is their goalie – who is a woman.  I did not realize this until after watching a number of his games.  With her pads, gloves, chest/arm protectors, pants, etc., she stands well over six feet with her skates on.   One would never know she was hidden under all that gear.  I have seen her do an incredible butterfly save and pop back up in a second. In front of the goal she can move side to side like the fabled cat.  To grab a puck on the ice I have seen her crawl on her belly like a reptile.  As the saying goes, she “controls the space.”   A puck coming in at 8o+ miles per hour as a good hard (amateur) slap shot to the body is not always  painless.  Getting knocked down is close combat can lead to other pain.  Yet she takes the pain better than a man.  No whining.  She has been through childbirth.  Try that for pain Mr. Hockey Player.   So when it is time for teams in my son-in-law’s league to choose players they – “pick the girl”

Football Painting Linebacker San Francisco 49ers Patrick Willis #52, Art

Football painting of Patrick L. Willis, a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers painting is 11" x 14" oil on drafting film
Football painting of Patrick L. Willis, a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers painting is 11″ x 14″ oil on drafting film.  John Robertson sports paintings for sale

I did this painting recently for my cardiologist as a gift for his good care. His favorite team is the 49ers and his favorite player is Willis. When I was having stitches removed by him after my procedure the pain brought tears to my eyes. I asked him if he had a stick to bite down on and he, in his best bedside manner, said, “I’m not taking your leg off”. That really gave me comfort but I still continued to whine and cry. The hospital nurse, who held me down as I squirmed with the pain, was very sympathetic to my agony. Pinning my shoulders onto the bed, and In a very soft and loving voice she whispered in my ear, “try child birth”

Patrick Willis is a pretty spectacular football player. In 2007 Willis  was drafted by the 49ers in the first round. He played college football for (“Ole Miss”) the University of Mississippi and received All-American honors.  As a senior at Ole Miss, he received the Butkus Award and the Jack Lambert Award as the nation’s top linebacker. A year later as a member of the 49ers, Willis led the NFL in tackles, earned first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors while being named the 2007 AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Willis has earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in all six years he has played in the NFL. He is the only player to receive the Butkus Award for best linebacker in more than one category. He won the college Butkus Award in 2006 while at Ole Miss and in 2009, he won the professional Butkus Award while with the San Francisco 49ers.  (Info from Wikipedia)

San Francisco 49ers Levis Stadium paintingAs some of you know I was contracted to paint five paintings for the San Francisco 49ers Levi’s Stadium art collection.  I had hoped to have the opportunity to paint Patrick Willis for the stadium but they had me do some other paintings.  The painting for my Dr. was a great opportunity to paint one of my favorite players playing in the NFL now.  The photo at the leftt is of me in the owner’s suite at Levi’s Stadium with my painting on the wall.

Golf Painting PGA Champion Phil Mickelson art

Golf painting of Phil Mickelson is 4 feet by 8 feet, acrylic and ink on unstretched canvas.
Golf painting of Phil Mickelson is 4 feet by 8 feet, acrylic and ink on unstretched canvas. John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale

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.

Basketball paintings NBA Sports art Point Guards

“Point Guard” 24” x 36” ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old Sporting News, magazines, books, etc) about the NBA and point guards. Newsprint attached to ¾” stretched canvas. To view paintings for sale please visit: John Robertson sports Paintings for sale.
“Point Guard” 24” x 36” ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old Sporting News, magazines, books, etc) about the NBA and point guards. Newsprint attached to ¾” stretched canvas. To view paintings for sale please visit: John Robertson sports Paintings for sale.

The quarterback on a basketball court is the point guard – and the most important.  He is the one who leads the team by trying to make the good decisions for the plays.  He generally handles the ball more than any other player on the court and passes the ball off to other players to lead them towards a goal.  All of this leads me to the good reason of why it is important for people to play sports.  I did as a child and as an adult participated in sports into my sixties and still exercise regularly.

One of the things sports taught me was developing teamwork.  This is a way to learn how to help others, and thereby themselves, to work together towards a specific goal, (winning).  We see this problem of teamwork all the time in the major professional sports.  I think the best example of that is in the NBA where there are “star” players and “winning” teams.  I will not point out the specific teams that have (as we used to call them as a kid)  “ball hoggers” as I am sure you know who they are.   But I will point out an example of a great NBA team, the LA Lakers when they were led by, what most consider the best point guard ever, Magic Johnson.  Some people have referred to Magic Johnson as the indisputable “Point God.”   He was an absolutely great, all around player who probably sacrificed individual statistics for the greater good of the team – and in doing so, brought other teammates up to play at a higher level.  And, of course, won more games.

Magic Johnson played in 12 All-Star games, won five NBA rings, three years the MVP awards and won most valuable player in three Finals.  His career Stats 19.5 points per game, 11.2 assists per game, 5.5 re-bounds per game and 1.9 steels per game.  Those 11.2 assists per game shows how much Magic was a team player.  At 6 feet 9 inches he dominated the point guard position.

To have a great team is to have a leader who will work to have all contribute to it’s success.  And without that great leadership in the “point guard” position few teams have had a high level of successful seasons.

Baseball Painting, Portrait of Baseball Great Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees

Baseball sports painting, portrait of New York Yankees Hall of Fame center fielder Joe DiMaggio is 50" x 70" acrylic on unstretched canvas.
Baseball sports painting, portrait of New York Yankees Hall of Fame center fielder Joe DiMaggio is 50″ x 70″ acrylic on unstretched canvas.

As a boy and like so many others I thought Joe DiMaggio was the baseball player to follow and worship.  We did not have a major league team in Los Angeles at the time so the Yankees were the team we followed.  (What? No TV?  Nope.  Not then. This was 1948-1951) Joe was nicknamed “Joltin’ Joe” and “The Yankee Clipper” and was what we all wanted to grow up to be – American Major League Baseball center fielder for the Yankees.  Dreams.  Boyhood dreams.

Even adults thought that Joe DiMaggio was something special.  Kevin Costner, who made that great baseball movie, “Field of Dreams” said about Joe DiMaggio, “There are certain people’s names that are reminders of what men can be like. To this day, when I hear the name Joe DiMaggio, it is so much more than a man’s name. It reminds me to play whatever game I’m in with more grace and pride and dignity…He is a man who speaks to us about how to walk through life and how to receive the admiration only the famous can know…and about how to wear defeat and disappointment as if it were just a passing storm. Men like Joe DiMaggio are not just of their own time. They are men for the ages.”

I remember in 1952 collecting Topps Baseball Cards – buying packs and packs of gum to get that Topps, Joe DiMaggio 1952 card. So I gathered about one-hundred-and-seventy-five cards before discovering that he retired before the production of the 1952 cards were printed. (I still have the 1952 Topps cards I collected as a boy.  And no they are not in good condition.  Who knew then.  I glued the cards into a paper scrapbook so on the back of the cards there are these great hunks of Elmer’s Rubber Cement and bits of paper attached to the cards.)

I continued to follow the Yankees until the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles for the 1958 season and my allegiance changed.  But, to me, baseball was never the same with DiMaggio gone from the game.  I really didn’t have much thought about DiMaggio being gone or what it might have meant to me until 1967.  The was the year one of my favorite movies came out, “The Graduate”  a coming of age movie about a college graduate entwined in the process of adulthood, the loss of innocence, manhood, etc.  And in the movie soundtrack is one of the great Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel songs, “Mrs Robinson.”  The classic lines in the lyrics:

”Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?

A nation turns its lonely eyes to you, wo wo wo

What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson

‘Joltin Joe’ has left and gone away, hey hey hey

Hey hey hey”

At that time I kicked and fought not to be an adult.  I had dropped out of high school – did my stint in the Navy,  tried college a number of times  and struggled to find direction.  Somehow the movie helped.  I was not alone but “Joltin Joe’ (had) left and gone away.”

Joe” DiMaggio November 25, 1914 – March 8, 1999) played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak (May 15 – July 16, 1941), a record that still stands.  DiMaggio was a three-time MVP winner and an All-Star in each of his 13 seasons. During his tenure with the Yankees, the club won ten American League pennants and nine World Series championships.  At the time of his retirement, he ranked fifth in career home runs (361) and sixth in career slugging percentage (.579). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955, and was voted the sport’s greatest living player in a poll taken during the baseball centennial year of 1969. — From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is what a couple of other great baseball players said of Joe DiMaggio:

(Joe) DiMaggio was the greatest all-around player I ever saw. His career cannot be summed up in numbers and awards. It might sound corny, but he had a profound and lasting impact on the country.” – Ted Williams

“Heroes are people who are all good with no bad in them. That’s the way I always saw Joe DiMaggio. He was beyond question one of the greatest players of the century.” – Mickey Mantle

Baseball painting LA Dodgers Pitcher Josh Beckett art

Baseball painting by Sports artist John Robertson of Los Angeles Dodgers No hitter pitcher Josh Beckett as he winds up for a pitch and delivery art.
Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Josh Beckett baseball painting is 5 feet by 6 feet, acrylic and ink on unstretched canvas

Here it is, time for the LA Dodgers post-season play-off, a run toward the World Series and there is no Josh Beckett, who, at 23 received the award as the 2003 World Series MVP while with the Marlins, and with the Red Sox for the win in the 2007 World Series.    –   At 34 this season he pitched a no hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies on May 25.

Living in Los Angeles most of my life it would be nice to see the Dodgers, who have not won a World Series since Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda did so in 1988, get a good jump at the series. “I think we’re going to get to the Fall Classic,” Lasorda said, “and then the Big Dodger in the sky can take me away!”  But Beckett won’t be there to help them out with that challenge.

Beckett was one time speaking about his time with the Red Sox and, his winning the World Series. “There are only about 45 guys who have won a World Series (as a  Red Sox) in about 100 years,” he said. “I know they want to win a World Series every year, but it doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen anywhere. I don’t care how much money you spend. I think if you look back I feel very honored I got to win a World Series … because who knows how long it will be again? Shoot, it might be next year, it might be another 100 years. I don’t know.”  For Beckett there may never be another time.

With Beckett it would be such an easier task but the variety of injuries and the time spent in rehabilitation did not make for a nice ending to the season for Beckett.  And it looks like he will be in for surgery again next year with a long time-out.  He has said that this may be his last year playing.  Josh does become a free agent but retirement may be the way he goes.

Becket said,  “As far as the future goes, for next year, I think I’m going to have to think about that and talk to my wife a little bit more……  I think the decision would have been more difficult if health had not been an issue.  The last three years have been just been one thing after another for me. When we do get to the offseason, the decision will be tough, but it still makes it a little easier.”     In a different context but similar circumstances Josh said this about change, “As much as I’m looking forward to the next chapter, I enjoyed the last one. Even during the tough times I met so many people who were just awesome. They were real fans.”

I always liked what Beckett had to say about his pitching and which could apply to almost anything anyone does.  He said, “I think I’ve always been prepared for this. I know what I have to do. You can’t make rocket science out of it. You just have to execute pitches. Don’t let exterior distractions in. It just takes away from what you’re trying to do.”

Josh Beckett’s season and his career may be over.  “Everybody has to make up their own mind.” Beckett says, ” It’s a special place to play. As much as I’m looking forward to the next chapter, I enjoyed the last one. Even during the tough times I met so many people who were just awesome.”

There is always that observation that baseball-is-a-metaphor-for-life.  A young baseball player goes out and plays through his youth and when he gets old enough he tries to make a living at it.  He makes a team.  He has good days and bad days.  He goes home and his wife and children are happy to see him.    When he plays he is part of a team of workers but he has his individual job to do, pitch, strike, hit, catch, etc.  – all of which he does on his own.  There is nobody to help him on those things.  Either he has learned his skills or not.  Yes, his co-workers help him out on some of his skills, but the bottom line is – he is on his own.  Josh Beckett says to others, “… I just tell them, ‘You have to deal with some of this and some of that, but you’re going to get this and get that.”

Painting of “Wicked in Suede” 1929 Ford Model “A” Ford Hot Rod Pickup Truck

Model “A” Ford

My firstr large-scale automobile painting was of this Model “A” Ford pickup.  I started painting these large scale paintings cars as a diversion from my other “sports” paintings.  I was always fascinated with the Model “A’s”.   As a teenager I had two Model “A ” Fords, a 1930 and a 1931 five window coupe.  Bought them each for

Car painting of Johnny Martinez's 1929 Ford Model “A” Ford Hot Rod Pickup Truck “Wicked in Suede” 2013 Grand National Roadster Show winner in "Rod Trucks" Artist John Robertson. 6 feet by 10 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.
Artist John Robertson with car painting of Johnny Martinez’s 1929 Ford Model “A” Ford Hot Rod Pickup Truck “Wicked in Suede” 2013 Grand National Roadster Show winner in “Rod Trucks” Artist John Robertson. 6 feet by 10 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.

$25.00 (when I was 15 a long, long time ago) and kept them for 8 years.   They were both wrecks, but drivable.  I drove one of them to high school regularly.  The object was to make one good Model “A” Ford out of the two.  Never finished the project.  When I went into the Navy I put both of them into storage and when I got out I didn’t have- much interest in working on cars.  I did keep them for a couple of more years – again driving one of them all over the place.  In 1960 I drove one of the Model “A’s”s  from Santa Monica Ca. to Flagstaff, Arizona, along old route 66 – long before the interstate 40 was completed.  As I recall it took me about 15 hours to make the drive between Santa Monica and Flagstaff.  Top cruising speed with the “4banger” engine was about 45 mph.  And you couldn’t keep it at that speed.  Lots of hills to cross.  It sure gave me a taste of what the “John Steinbeck” migration from the east and mid-west to California was like during the 30’s.

I have only painted a couple of other cars large-scale, a 1949 Merc (James Dean Model) and a 1931 Model “A” roadster street rod.  This pick-up  fits perfectly into the series of three that I have now painted.

Model “A” Ford Pick-up built by Johnny Martinez

A few weeks back I was at a street car show of about a hundred-and-fifty cars and this one I found to be the best.  And, of course, as an artist I admired the craftsmanship and artistry of the truck – and wanted to paint it.   It is a 1929 Model “A” Ford Pick-up built by Johnny Martinez.  The truck runs a small block 384 horsepower Chevrolet with a 200R overdrive.  It’s chopped 3 inches.  The interior has old style tuck-n-roll stitching.  And the exterior is a beautiful “suede” black finish.  The nickname for this machine is “Wicked in Suede” Johnny has won over 40 assorted awards with his hot rod and was a winner at the 2013 Grand National Roadster Show – the “Rod Trucks” category.  To fully appreciate this vehicle there is a great video on youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojcRkKJ_F90  The painting is i6 feet by 10 feet, ink and acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Basketball paintings NBA Shooting Guard Sports art

Why Paint a Shooting Guard

A shooting guard have these perfect little moments like in any sport where, for the player, time

Shooting Guard 24” x 36” ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old Sporting News, magazines, books, etc) about the NBA and Shooting Guards. Newsprint attached to ¾” stretched canvas.
“Shooting Guard” 24” x 36” ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old Sporting News, magazines, books, etc) about the NBA and Shooting Guards. Newsprint attached to ¾” stretched canvas.

stops.  And there nothing is their mind except the feeling of making that perfect play.  What I tried to do is capture that moment in this painting of a shooting guard.  His concentration is focused on the hoop.  There is nothing in his mind except for that feeling of making the shot.  He is not thinking, … “Did I jump high enough?  Are my hands extended high enough?  Am I holding the ball correctly?”  Those thoughts are all gone.  He left them on the practice court with the thousands and thousands of shots he has taken before.  There is no thought – only letting his instincts take over.

A Shooting Guard is Lyrical

Something is very lyrical about a basketball player going up for a jump shot and the release and the follow-through, that is quite beautiful in it’s action.  It is like watching a baseball batter taking a swing at the perfect pitch and making a connection and watching a home-run hit ball, fly off the bat and see the follow-through of the batter’s swing.

Any athlete has had those moments.  Even the most inept person playing a sport has those moments, when, for some odd reason one make the perfect shot or hit the perfect ball or makes the perfect catch.   It can be anything.

For me it was in volleyball.  I played at a competitive level – well enough to have been asked to “try-outs” for the Olympics.  But I was not good enough to make it any farther than the try-outs.  I like to think that I lasted the whole day.  But, unfortunately after a few hours I was kindly asked to leave.  As the Paul Simon songs says about leaving your lover (In this case me leaving my serious love for the game of volleyball), “Slip out the back Jack.  Make a new Plan Stan.”   So I went back to playing on the beach and even without great success as a volleyball player I had a lot of those moments where an athlete is  “lost in action” – the perfect “dig”, the perfect “spike”,  etc.

When the weekend athlete makes a really good play I don’t believe his feeling of success is any less greater than a professional making a great play.  I know it is nice to make the play in front of thousands of people and be paid highly for it but the real reason any athlete plays a sport (professional or amateur) is for those moments of success. That feeling you get when you make the perfect move.  It is like a drug that you want to take over and over – repeat that great action.

Actually it is exactly why I paint.  I love the feeling I get when I make a mark on the canvas that I feel is just the right mark, just the right brush stroke.  And when I do, like an athlete making a good play,  I am lost in time.

Football painting San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Steve Young art

Image of the 49ers’s great quarterback Steve Young. 22” x 28” ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old Sporting News, magazines, books, etc) about the NFL and San Francisco 49ers. . Newsprint attached to ¾” stretched canvas.
Image of the 49ers’s great quarterback Steve Young. 22” x 28” ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old Sporting News, magazines, books, etc) about the NFL and San Francisco 49ers. . Newsprint attached to ¾” stretched canvas.

Steve Young was named the MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the NFL twice in 1992 and 1994, and the MVP of Super Bowl XXIX. All-Pro four times and named seven times to the Pro Bowl. Young also won a record six NFL passer rating titles.  He was in the National Football League (NFL) for fourteen seasons during the 1980s and 1990s.  He is 6-2, 205 lbs and played from 1985-1986 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and 1987-1999 San Francisco 49ers

Young is also member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. At the time of his retirement, he had the highest passer rating among NFL quarterbacks who have thrown at least 1,500 passing attempts (96.8), and is currently ranked third. He is also still ranked highest amongst retired players.

To me, one of the interesting aspects of Steve Young is that he is a left-handed quarterback – obvious in my painting of Steve Young. I find that interesting because I am also left-handed and aware of other lefties.  It was reported  (just kidding Steve)) that when Steve Young first picked up a football he asked if it was a left-handed one.

What I had not considered is that being a left-handed quarterback puts more of a burden on the right tackle as he has to protect the blind side of the left-handed quarterback (something the right tackle probably didn’t get much practice at in college)   As it is the left tackle for a right-handed quarterback who is protecting the blind side of the normally right-handed quarterback.  This is why (generally) a left tackle makes more money than the right tackle – because he is protecting a right-handed quarterback – protecting that blind spot.

There are only a couple of left-handed quarterbacks playing now. And the question arises, why not more?  The retired quarterback Phil Simms has an interesting theory

“There’s no conspiracy against left-handed quarterbacks or anything,” he says.. “They’re just all playing baseball now. They’re all pitchers, making much more money in a different sport. It starts at a young age, too. Once the coaches see a lefty with a big arm, they turn him into a pitcher. Percentage-wise, you see far more left-handed pitchers in baseball than you see left-handed quarterbacks in football.”

During his NFL career, Steve Young the left-hander threw for 3,000 or more yards six times and had 20 or more touchdown passes in a season five times, and posted a passer rating of 100 or higher six times.  Aside from his passing ability, Young was a constant threat as a runner.  He ran for 4,239 yards and scored 43 rushing touchdowns. –

Funny story Steve Young told at his induction speech to the Football Hall of Fame.  “Ironically it was my mom who kicked off my football career with a bang as she charged the field when I was 8 years old. She was upset that another kid had neck tackled me and knocked the wind out of me. She knew that neck tackling was illegal and since no penalty was called she felt it imperative to rush the field and help her little boy. I was scared to death as I saw her sprinting across the field, with good speed I might add, assuming she was coming to give me a kiss or something. Imagine the visual: late 1960’s—20’s aged woman, lady, in a dress, on a football field, purse on her shoulder, big sunglasses, high-heeled shoes aerating the field. In horror, she passed by me and grabbed the kid from the other team. Adrenaline pumping, she picked up the boy by the shoulder pads and told him that the hit was illegal and that he better not do it again! Mom, now you know why we never gave you any field level tickets over the last 17 years. My greatest cheerleader.“

Here is an interesting comment by Steve Young about his seven concussions he suffered before retiring in 1999.  The interview was on PBS FRONTLINE.  Young told FRONTLINE he worries about the toll that routine head hits are taking on linemen and running backs. This is the edited transcript of an interview conducted with FRONTLINE’s Jim Gilmore on March 27, 2013.

Jim Gilmore: “One last thing on the way you played and stuff, and it says something about the intensity of how players play. Your rep was always that you would refuse to be taken out of the game, that you would be basically ready to go back, sort of hide from the coach and whatever and be ready to go back on the field before a replacement or anything else.”

Young: “Sure.”

Gilmore:  “What was that all about?”

Young:  “I think that’s the nature of the game, too. It demands all of you. And the culture is that you can play hurt; you can play wounded. And the culture is that you can get through all. Guys did it all the time, so that’s the hard part.

And that’s what, as we get into concussions, that’s the nefarious nature of concussions, because you can have a bad knee and the doctor looks at it and they watch you run and everyone has 100 percent knowledge. You might say, “Oh, I feel this way.” If you can run, if they can tape it up and you can go, then you can [play], and the doctor can see stability. We know what we’re dealing with, and now we can kind of generally take a pretty good assumption of the risk.

As a player, that’s why concussions are so difficult, because even the experts, even the people that you say, “OK, am I OK?” “I don’t know. How do you feel?” You know, it’s a really tough one.”

In conclusion one of his quotes sums ujp how he felt about playing the game.  Steve Young,   -“It was a lot of fun. I love coming out here to play. I had a couple of tackles.”