Tag Archives: sports artist

Painting art of California State Parks woman lifeguard with her liefguard tube under her arm as she looks towards the ocean for a swimmer in danger

Rescue Lifeguard California State Parks

Lifeguard Tryout qualification

Painting art of California State Parks woman lifeguard with her liefguard tube under her arm as she looks towards the ocean for a swimmer in danger

Prior to summer the California State Parks have tryouts for State Parks lifeguards.  They hold the lifeguard tryouts up and down the California coast.  This gives a potential lifeguard an opportunity to see if they are physically fit for the job.

I photographed this woman lifeguard at the tryouts for a sport art painting. The tryouts were held at the Sycamore Canyon State Beach just outside of Oxnard, California.  All applicants are required to successfully complete a 1,000 yard open water swim. Time limit of 20 minutes. And then they have a continuous 200 yard run, 400 yard swim, 200 yard run. Time limit of 10 minutes.

After that strenuous test there is a qualification appraisal interview.  And then the applicant needs to complete the California State Park Lifeguard Training Program. (8 days/80+ hours) Includes department certification in CPR & AED, Public Safety First Aid, and open water search & rescue and other aquatic lifesaving techniques.

Lifeguard Challenge

At this particular tryout the surf was so big they cancelled the actual tryout but allowed people to practice the course and the high surf.  The surf was running about six feet, heavy winds and a strong rip tide.  This was a dangerous swim and the State gave warning, suggesting that you better be a strong swimmer to attempt the 1000 yard swim.  The regular state lifeguards put the swimmers into the water a couple of hundred yards up the beach, allowing for the drift of the current and the riptides.

It was a challenge for the lifeguards to get their jet skies and their rescue paddleboards into the water – which took a number of attempts.  I would guess about a dozen lifeguards went out on paddleboards and another dozen guards stayed in shallow water to help with any struggling swimmers.  Other California State Parks lifeguards were available on shore for any problems.

I took about a hundred photographs that day, documenting the tryouts.  This particular lifeguard caught my interest to paint.   The sports art painting by artist John Robertson is approximately 8 1/2 feet by 4 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.

 

 

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.

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.