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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.

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 Chicago Bears Linebacker Dick Butkus

“Dick Butkus” 20” x 24” ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old Sporting News, magazines, books, etc) about the NFL National League Conference. The painting is of the great Chicago Bears linebacker, Dick Butkus. Newsprint attached to ¾” stretched canvas.
“Dick Butkus” 20” x 24” ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old Sporting News, magazines, books, etc) about the NFL National League Conference. The painting is of the great Chicago Bears linebacker, Dick Butkus. Newsprint attached to ¾” stretched canvas.

Dick Butkus graduated from the University of Illinois where he was a two time All- American line backer. A first round draft pick of the Chicago Bears, Dick played for them from 1965-1973, and was named All-Pro linebacker seven times. Mr. Butkus was elected into the NFL “Football Hall of Fame” at Canton, Ohio in 1979. Many football garu’s consider Dick Butkus the finest line backer in the history of football.  The Chicago Bears retired his uniform number 51.

I Think I have painted or drawn Dick Butkus of the Chicago Bears five times.  As I have said before, he is one of my all-time favorite players.  A great number of years ago I was in a lumberyard in Malibu (The old Malibu Lumber, on Pacific Coast Highway) and I turned to see who the guy next to me was (in Malibu there is a good chance for celebrity sightings)  Lo and behold it was Dick Butkus.  I slobered all over him, telling him how much I had enjoyed watching him play.  He asked if I had seen him on the silver screen..  I said I did not find watching him act quite as enjoyable but I did like him in those old in Miller Lite commercials. (Probably way before your time)

He had a group of different nicknames:  “The Robot of Destruction,”  “The Maestro of Mayhem,”  “The Enforcer,” and “The Animal.”   Arthur Kretchmer in his article “Butkus: One Season And One Injury With The Meanest Man Alive” says, when speaking to Butkus,  “Dave Meggyesy, the ex-Cardinal, says that football is so brutal he was taught to use his hands to force a man’s cleats into the turf and then drive his shoulder into the man’s knee to rip his leg apart. That ever happen to you?” Butkus’ response; …”Hell, no! All you’d have to do is roll with the block and step on the guy’s face.”

I lke his closing lines to Dick Butkus’s Hall of Fame induction speech.  There is something very humble about it.  “I consider being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as the top of my dream. For only on the top can I see the whole view. And I can now see what I have done and what I can do from now on. I have a new vision and a new goal now and that is simply to be a better husband and a better father and a better person. Along with the other enshrinees, I will always try to be a proud representative of this the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Thank you very much.”