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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 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, Cornerback Deon Sanders San Francisco 49ers Dallas Cowboys

Deon Sanders painting 12" x 16" ink and acrylic on canvas board..The background is newsprint (from old Sporting News, newspaper about baseball) attached to the canvas board. The paper is then distressed to give it a old and beat-up, used look old.
Deon Sanders painting 12″ x 16″ ink and acrylic on canvas board..The background is newsprint (from old Sporting News, newspaper about baseball) attached to the canvas board. The paper is then distressed to give it a old and beat-up, used look old.

Deon Sanders was a star cornerback who played 14 NFL seasons from 1989-2005.  Here is what I think is the best part of Deon Sanders    – Hall of Fame enshrinement speech of Aug 7, 2011.   Deon Sanders was a star cornerback who played 14 NFL seasons from 1989-2005:

“This game, this game, this game. And I went at this game and attacked this game because I made a promise that I needed this game to fulfill.

I made a promise when I was seven years old to this young woman at the age of 27. She was working two jobs just to see if ends could see one another because they never met. And she was slaving over pots and pans on that precise day. I can remember, it was a little high chair right by the kitchen. In the kitchen there was a high chair right by the stove that she was cooking.

And I said, mama, because I was tired of seeing her go to work and come home all tired. I said I’m going to be rich one day. Mama, “I’m going to make a lot of money, and you will never have to work another day of your life.” My mama said “that’s fine, but until then you get that lawnmower and go out there and cut that grass.”

14 years later, that’s why you can’t give up on your dream, your promise, because 14 years later, this dream, this promise came. That I was able to allow my mama to go into a job and say I’m not doing it anymore. My son has blessed me.

But there is something inside of me, mama, that I never told you. That I never could admit, and I’m going to share it with all of you, because now we’re family. I played for a youth team called the Fort Myers Rebels and they blessed me. They took me all over the country to expose me to things, to expose you to things.

Everybody on their team, their parents owned something. Their parents were doctors or lawyers or the chief of police. It was that type of organization. Me and one of my friends were the only African American kids on that team. It was a very affluent team, and I was ashamed of my mama because my mama worked in the hospital. She cleaned up the hospital, and I was ashamed of my mama who sacrificed, who loved me, who protected me, who gave me everything. I want to make sure I was best dressed in school and I had everything that was laid that came out. I had it first.

I was ashamed of my mama because one of my friends in high school, he saw her in a hospital one night pushing a cart, and he came back and he clowned me, he ridiculed me and he mocked me because of my mama.

So I made a pledge to myself that I don’t care what it takes, I don’t care what it may take, I’m not going to do anything illegal, but my mama would never have to work another day of her life.”

Deon Sanders was a star cornerback who played 14 NFL seasons from 1989-2005.  Sanders Played for a variety of NFL football teams and used both # 21 and #37.   He was sometimes called “Neon Dion” because of his flashy style on the field and in his personal dress code. Sanders once said, “I never wear the same shoe twice.” As a continuation of his thoughts about being flashy he said, ““If you look good, you feel good, If you feel good, you play good, If you play good, they pay good.”

Sanders played football primarily at cornerback, but also as a kick returner, punt returner and occasionally as a running back or wide receiver.  Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame running back and Sanders’ teammate from 1995-99 said about him,  “You don’t get to this level by not performing. A lot of guys play the game, but when you start looking at his performance and what he’s been able to accomplish in the period of time that he played, you know he shut down one side of the football field. That says a lot about an athlete and a player.

He played for the Atlanta Falcons, the San Francisco 49ers, the Dallas Cowboys, the Washington Redskins and the Baltimore Ravens, winning the Super Bowl with both the 49ers and the Cowboys.  Sanders was a perennial All-Pro and one of the most feared pass defenders to ever play the game.   While at Dallas – Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys owner, president and general manager said of Deon Sanders,  “I think he could be, and you can make a good argument, the best to have played the position. I think it’s noteworthy of the impact he made. At one time he had the most touchdowns per touching the ball of anybody in the National Football League. When he got his hands on it, if anybody could, he could take it to the house. I think that’s pretty interesting and that’s why we made him a receiver when he was here. That’s why we started using him on punt returns when he was here as well, just because of his entire career.”

Joe Montana “Too Tall” Jones famous “The Catch” play of the SF 49ers

Joe Montana "Too Tall" Jones famous "The Catch" play of the SF 4This San Francisco 49er’s painting of mine hangs in Levi’s Stadium depicts one of the most memorable events in NFL history – the January 10, 1982, NFC Championship Game between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers.

The story behind the painting. The Cowboys defensive end Ed “Too Tall” chases a backpedaling Joe Montana toward the sideline, and seems certain to either send him out of bounds or sack him. But at the last moment, and after pump-faking to get 6-foot 9-inch “Too Tall” Jones to jump, Montana throw a high pass to the back of the end of the end zone to Dwight Clark for the wining touchdown. Montana said that “Too Tall” Jones knocked him to the ground so he didn’t see Dwight Clark make the catch. “Too Tall” Jones reacted to the play by saying to Montana “You just beat America’s Team”. Montana said to Jones, “Well, you can sit at home with the rest of America and watch the Super Bowl.”

The 5 foot by 6 foot painting, acrylic on canvas hangs in one of the hallways of the new e49er’s Levi’s stadium in Santa Clara, Ca. One an earlier post you can see it photographed on the stadium’s large video screen.

San Francisco 49ers Levi’s Stadium Owner’s Suite with John Robertson Painting

San Francisco 49ers Levis Stadium artThese photos show one of my paintings in the owner’s suite of the San Francisco 49er’s in their new Levi’s Stadium,  http://www.levisstadium.com/   I have 5 paintings in the new San Francisco 49er’s Art Collection at Levi’s Stadium,  It is part of over 200 original paintings.  If you go to a previous post you will see one of my paintings shown on the large LED video display screen that are in the end zones of the stadium.

My wife,http://www.lynnhanson.com/LynnHanson.com/home.html has 14 drawings also in San Francisco 49ers Levis Stadium paintingthe San Francisco 49er’s art collection.  We traveled to the stadium a few days ago for the opening of the stadium with the 23 other artists that are in the 49er’s collection.  We toured the stadium, met some really nice 49er people and had a great reception for the artists and the press.



San Francisco 49er’s new Levi’s Stadium opening

One of my paintings at the new SF 49ers stadium. It was fun to see my work on the 48 foot by 200 foot LED video display screen at Levi's Stadium art collection  opening August 1st
One of my paintings at the new SF 49ers stadium. It was fun to see my work on the 48 foot by 200 foot LED video display screen at Levi’s Stadium art collection opening August 1st

Her is some information about the art from the Levi’s Stadium website: http://www.levisstadium.com/art/

“The Art Collection at Levi’s® Stadium celebrates the 49ers legendary history, the organization’s current success and the vibrant culture of the greater San Francisco Bay Area. No other multi-use stadium contains the quantity and scope of original artwork that this collection has procured. The galleries highlight diverse, local artists and include pieces that have personal ties to the 49ers organization. The 49ers are thrilled to present a collection that enhances the building by creating a fully integrated visual experience.
Guests will encounter larger than life portraits of 49ers greats, alongside charcoal sketches that celebrate notable regional figures such as Steinbeck and Kerourac. Visitors may marvel over pieces from the Ranchos of the Santa Clara Valley and the timeless psychedelics of the storied Fillmore Music Hall. The collection has been crafted to engage and provoke everyone from the casual fan to the art aficionado.”

“The Art Collection at Levi’s® Stadium is home to over 200 original pieces and more than 500 photographs. The museum-quality artwork featured is comprised of mixed mediums such as acrylic, charcoal, enamel, oil, pastel, pen and ink, stencil, metals and sculptures. Of the 23 original artists showcased, 20 hail locally from California. The photographs in the collection are from the archives of the 49ers and their esteemed group of team photographers, as well as from the San Francisco Chronicle and many local libraries and historic centers.