Tag Archives: Football paintings

LA Rams Quarterback art painting

LA Rams Starting Quarterback Case Keenum

The start of this Los Angeles Rams season looks like will lead off with Case Keenum number 17 at quarterback.  Keenum, has made a career as backup but has worked hard to hold off the inevitable future of Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.  Keenum did a good job last year Image Los Angeles Rams quarterback Case Keenum handing football off to running back Todd Gurley painting artfor the LA Rams of taking away Nick Foles job who was later released.

Back when I was a kid my dad used to take me to the LA Rams games in the Los Angeles Coliseum back in the late forties and early fifties.  At the time I remember there were two quarterbacks fighting for starting quarterback position; NormVan Brocklin who signed with the Rams out of the draft  and joined the Rams who already had a star quarterback, Bob Waterfield. So beginning in 1950, the Rams coach Joe Stydahar solved his problem by platooning Waterfield and Van Brocklin.  Later on, In a few more years they brought in Bill Wade.  So I was fortunate to see all of them play in Los Angeles.  Saw other great LA Rams players also – the great end Tom Fears and the fun running back, “Crazy Legs” Hirsh.

While I mentioned the fabulous nickname of “Crazy Legs”  I should also mention my favorite football nickname of all time.  Los Angeles Rams defensive back Dick “Night Train” Lane.   “Night Train” Lane had gotten the nickname after taking the night trains to away games because of his fear of flying.  Lane had the record for most interceptions in an NFL season (14), a record that has stood for over 60 years. He went from an undrafted football player, who worked in a factory but was good enough to be later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

NFL Rookie of the year Todd Gurley

The other player in the LA Rams painting art is running back Todd Gurley. As the NFL football season starts  The Topps Company announced that Todd Gurley, is the cover athlete for theImage LA Rams quarterback Case Keenum handing football off to running back Todd Gurley painting art Topps NFL HUDDLE® 2017 app.  And we all know why he was selected – because he is the reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.  That is why.

Gurley had an absolutely great first season and will try to live up to the great Los Angeles Rams running back Eric Dickerson who in his second season ran for over 2,000 yards.  That is almost a “Mission Impossible” but hopefully his offensive line will help him with the goal.

About the  Sports Art painting by sports artists John Robertson

The Case Keenum, Todd Gurley NFL football art painting is to honor these two players, one who has had a great beginning and another who has worked hard in his years to become a starting quarterback.  I hope they both have a great season.  The painting is  4 feet by 6 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Football paintings Jim Thorpe Football Baseball and Olympic athlete art

As A Boy – Jim Thorpe – My Favorite Athlete

I have no idea when Jim Thorpe showed up in my conscientiousness.  But he seemed to always be there.  I am sure it had to do with my step-father who loved football. In my youth we

Football painting of Jim Thorpe, Olympic gold medal athlete of the century, in a football uniform holding his helmet. Football painting is 4 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Football painting of Jim Thorpe, Olympic gold medal athlete of the century, in a football uniform holding his helmet. Football painting is 4 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.

used to go to the old LA Rams games at the LA Coliseum in 1952 -53 to see quarterback Bob Waterfield, and Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsh, and my favorite of all nicknames for a football player, Dick “Night Train” Lane.

I am sure my step-dad told me the stories that most people heard about Jim Thorpe  – winning the gold medal in the pentathlon in 1912 Olympics, crowned by the King of Sweden as “the greatest athlete in the world.  In which Thorpe said, “thanks King.”   This is what Thorpe said about track and field;   “…Track and field, because it was something I could do by myself, one-on-one, me against everybody else.” And then my step-dad would go one about Thorpe’s college football career at Carlisle and becoming an All American in 1912 and 1913.  He played professional football for seven different teams and signed with the New York Giants baseball team in 1913.  He had different feelings about playing college football and professional football.   Thorpe said, “[T]he college game…brings out that something which is lacking in the pro game–I guess you could call it spirit. The college player…will willingly sacrifice his leg to gain the necessary yards that spell victory for his team. That’s spirit. The professional gridder will play it safe, because he wants to be in condition to earn more money in his next game. That’s business.”

As an Athlete

There were years Thorpe played in both pro sports of football and baseball at the same time.  And then the bad news came that he had played sports for money during the Olympic years and was stripped of his medals.  As Thorpe said about it, ” “I went to play baseball in North Carolina for a couple of summers and paid for it the rest of my life.”

As I loved to play sports, particularity football I knew his story well. We always thought of Jim Thorpe as the great football player from his success at Carlisle Indian Industrial School.  (as an aside:  The link is to the Wikipedia information about Carlisle and very interesting – about early turn-of-the-century college football and Indian affairs)   I, like a lot of boys wanted to be a football player.  This was long before there was any real organized football for children.  (We were called children then, not youth.)  So we got shoulder pads and helmets (with Ram colors and insignias) and banged into each other on the grass and sidewalks in front of our houses.  In those days the helmets had one single bar in front of the face so it was easy to catch an elbow or knee into the face.  Sixty years have not erased some of the scars.

Hall of Fame – Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe was eventually inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1963 in the inaugural class of 17 athletes.  Grantland Rice, a legendary sportswriter said that Thorpe was the greatest football player ever.  It wasn’t because he was the best at any particular aspect of the game, passing, running, tackling but that he was really good in all of them making for a great, all around football player.

Here is a good place for a lot more information about Jim Thorpe “The World’s Greatest Athlete”

 

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.

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.”

Football Painting Quarterback Payton Manning Denver Broncos Art

 Image is Denver Broncos Payton Manning.  24” x 30” ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old Sporting News, magazines, books, etc) about the NFL/AFC West.  Newsprint attached to 1 ½”  stretched canvas.

Image is Denver Broncos Payton Manning. 24” x 30” ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old Sporting News, magazines, books, etc) about the NFL/AFC West. Newsprint attached to 1 ½” stretched canvas.

Payton Manning, quarterback for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL) had one of the greatest seasons of his career in 2013.  It will be interesting to see if he can duplicate his success that he had last year – he is thirty-eight years old.

As five-time league MVP, he played for the Indianapolis Colts for 14 seasons from 1998 to 2011. He is a son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning and an elder brother of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

Payton is about the most competitive player to play the game.  As Adam Meadows said, (who played with Manning with the Colts,) “He lives, eats, breathes, smokes, snorts, chews football. … “He’s just a machine. That’s all he wants to do.”  Meadows was one of Manning’s linemen for a few years as a Colt.  They had a close relationship of one that a quarterback would have with his linemen.  But one time Payton wanted to have Meadows around and talk about plays and watch game films.  Meadows ‘ wife was having their second baby and he needed to leave for the baby’s birth.   Manning wanted to know why why they couldn’t have babies in the offseason.

All that review of films is what makes Manning the great quarterback that he is.  This philosophy can be applied to anyone who wants to be successful in their field – constant review and analysis of your previous actions and decisions.   Manning says,   “If you ever feel like that’s not important — like, ‘Hey, I don’t need to watch last season; I know what we did; I know what I did wrong’ — no, you don’t know,” Manning said. “You need to watch it. Watch the bad plays. It’s not fun to watch bad plays, to sit there and say, ‘That’s a bad decision’ and ‘That’s a really bad decision’ and ‘Horrible read.’ … No matter how old you are, you need to go into that prepared to be constructively criticized and learn how to grow out of the mistakes every year.”

What I always like about watching Payton Manning quarterbacking is when he comes to the line and is checking out the defense – the glancing around, the pointing of the finger, etc.  Dan Patrick in an interview with Payton Manning asked about his eye contact with defensive players.

“Patrick: Do you make eye contact with the defense? Is there a player you look at?

Manning: I check the middle linebacker, kind of come with that eye on him because you can see if he’s cheating one way or the other. And then I’ll find the two safeties.

D Patrick: But you’ll look at them.

Manning: Yeah, I’ll look at their eyes as opposed to their jersey numbers and it’s like a second of staring. My first year, I didn’t really do it quite as much. I was kind of scared they might, like, tell me to quit looking at them. But now I’ve gotten to the point where I look at them. Especially if they’re a young player, I think it might make them a little bit uneasy.”

One of my favorite lines that Payton Manning reportedly said according to writer Michael Silver of Sports Illustrated was prior to a Super Bowl a few years ago.  The Colts had banned hotel-room visits from relatives and friends the week before the game. Manning said during a team meeting, “I don’t want any crying kids next to me while I’m trying to study,”

If you are a football nerd and want some great insightful information and detail (more than any normal fan would want to know) in how Manning has run an offense here is a great article about it by Chris B. Brown …” a return to the simplicity of Peyton Manning…

Painting for San Francisco 49ers Levi’s Stadium

SF 49ers owners conference room Levis Stadium 1

We walked into a small conference room at the San Francisco 49er’s Levi’s Stadium.  We were there for a tour of the art collection in which the 49er’s had purchased five paintings from me for their collection. All three of the monitors in the room had one of my images on the screen.   The original is 6 feet by 8 feet acrylic on canvas.  We did not have access to where the original had been hung as that part of the stadium had not been totally finished.

SF 49ers painting for Levi Stadium Football“You can do high-end art, and it can depict sports and the environment and still be fine art,” said Tracie Speca-Ventura, founder of Sports & the Arts, which has handled art at venues such as Yankee Stadium and Marlins Park and has drawn interest from the Kings about their new arena.  “Everyone looks down on sports art,” she said. “So that’s what my fight was, and it’s something the 49ers really got behind. The (York family) became invested and so did management. It became very intimate with this building.”…  “It goes back to, art’s not for the elitist,” she said. “Art can really be for the people. We are all impacted by it…  It captures a moment and an era.”

Football art USC Trojans running back image art

Sports image of 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.  The painting was in the recent Santa Monica Museum “Incognito” show in Santa Monica, Ca.  

Football art painting UCLA Bruins player running back image

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.  The painting was on the recent Santa Monica Museum “Incognito” show in Santa Monica, Ca.

Football Art Walter Payton Chicago Bears

Running back Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears image.  Payton has a couple of quotes that represents what kind of guy he was.   The first one lives up to his nickname of “Sweetness”.  The quote is, “Most important thought, if you love someone, tell him or her, for you never know what tomorrow may have in store.”  And the second quote speaks of his about the way in which he played the game. “Running alone is the toughest. You get to the point where you have to keep pushing yourself.”  Payton is one of my grandson’s favorite player so I painted this as a gift to him for his 21st birthday.
The sports art image painting is 24’ x 36” acrylic and ink on canvas.

Football art Payton Manning Denver Broncos image

Payton Manning Denver Broncos quarterback broke Tom Brady’s season touchdown record throwing 51 touchdown passes. He regained the NFL record for touchdown passes in a  Denver’s 37-13 win over the Houston Texans that gave the Broncos their third straight AFC West title. Sports Art Painting is 48″ x 60″ ink and acrylic on paper.

Football Art image Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson running back image

Sports Art football painting of Minnesota Vikings  Running back Adrian Peterson who is one of my favorite running backs.  I think I have painted him four times.  He has a strong work ethic and plays with an abandon that calls out for injuries.  As one of his teammates Toby Gerhart said, “It’s not just his work ethic, it’s his positivity. He’s always at 100 miles per hour, pushing himself. But he never complains. You’ll never hear him say, ‘I’m sore. I’m tired. My legs feel heavy today.”  Adrian Peterson said, “I’ve been running like this since I was seven.”
Painting is 40” x 96 “ ink and acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Football art Dick Butkus Chicago Bears

One of my favorite players, Dick Butkus, Chicago Bears. I had asked for suggestions on Facebook who to paint nest. My friend Greg suggested Butkus.  Favorite quote from Butkus “I’m not so mean. I wouldn’t ever go out to hurt anybody deliberately – unless it was, you know, important, like a league game or something.”  The image is about 6 1/2 feet on a 4 feet by 8 feet piece of paper using ink and acrylic.