Monday

skateboarder skateboarding painting art

Skateboarding


 Now I am really going to date myself (as if the photograph of me with the painting does not already do that) by writing about my first experience with skateboarding.   I lived on a hill in a neighborhood of hills and for fun we made coaster wagons or cars and coasted down the hills.  Some of us would
make the steering out of ropes, then extend the ropes and stand in the cars while we coasted.  Lots of crashes into curbs and cars.  But one kid had a sister who would roller skate down the hills.  We didn't want to be on roller skates (that was a girl thing) so somebody had seen somewhere, where someone hammered roller skate wheels on a two by four and rode it.  So that is exactly what we did - we nailed metal roller skate wheels to two by fours and started riding them down thehills.

Major Problem With Metal Wheels 


What's the problem?  Well, the first problem was that, idiotically, we were trying to ride a two by four.  We were too stupid to put the wheels on a wider piece of wood.  You have to also remember, there were no trucks for the wheels so the board was difficult to turn.  It was a straight shot down the hills and speed became a factor - too much of it.   Things got in the way.  Manhole covers, dogs, cars parked, moving cars, other kids, etc. (I had a friend that fell in front of a car and got run over - not literally- as they only ran over his arm.  He just stood up and shook it off - not his arm, but the pain).  And after not too many trips down the hills the metal wheels flattened out.  We were going at a speed that warmed up the metal and the rough asphalt streets squared out the wheels - bumpy rides and sudden stops.

Skateboard Wheels Technology Catches Up


 Slowly technology caught up to us with the invention of clay wheels.  This was a big improvement. But we were still coasting the hills and if you hit rocks or the manhole covers the clay wheels shattered which led to more scrapes and bruises. 

Then came the newest in the evolution of wheels, Polyurethane wheels which were much more tough and resilient, with good traction and better shock absorption than the older metal or ceramic wheels.   There were other things that moved the whole skateboard thing forward; skateboard trucks, loose
ball bearings, design of skateboards; the original flat board, kick tail boards, double kick tail board, long board short boards, etc.  Even our Keds got outdated and a whole new design of skateboarding shoes came into existence.

By the time all the changes came in I felt I was too old toskateboard, although I would skateboard in front of the house sometimes.  One of my memories towards the end was when I had been married for a few years and had a couple of small girls.  Some of the boys in the neighborhood knew that I skateboarded and had seen me out front.  A couple of them knocked at the door and my wife opened it up.  One boy said,  "Can Mr. Robertson come out to play?"

 


Sports Artists John Robertson Painting


skateboard Art Painting is four feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Thursday

Dan Marino Miami Dolphins Painting Art

Dan Marino Miami Dolphins


Although Dan Marino was one of the greatest quarterbacks in the NFL he never one a championship.  (But in 1984 he did lead the Miami Dolphins to the Super Bowl, where the club lost to the San Francisco 49ers led Joe Montana win of  38-16).  For example Marino was first rookie to start at quarterback in
the Pro Bowl. That rookie year Marino threw for 20 touchdowns, led the Dolphins to a 12-4 record, and became the NFL's Rookie of the Year.  That's not a bad start for a quarterback who had five other quarterbacks in that year's draft taken before he was drafted.
 
At the time one of the greatest years any quarterback has had in the NFL was by Dan Marino.  In that 1984 Super Bowl season he threw for 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns, both single season records at the time, while also setting new NFL marks for completions with 362.  A quote from Dan Marino and his career says it best, " I just try to be myself, whatever that is. I don't think about how I'll be remembered. I just want to be consistent over a long period of time. That's what the great players do."

It is always interesting to hear what a quarterback has to say about his coach and how he may feel, as a quarterback, about his leadership role.  Marino said this about one of his games.  "We're not running the ball again until we get ahead. Shula was calling the plays, but I told them, 'I don't care what he calls. We're throwing every pass from now until we get the lead.' To Shula's credit, he always gave
me that option. "

Tim Ruddy Number 61 Miami Dolphins Offensive Center


Also in the painting is Tim Ruddy a six foot three inch center who was drafted in 1994.  When listing the all time top one hundred players for the Miami Dolphins Tim Ruddy comes out around number thirty -two.  He spent 10 seasons with the Miami Dolphins and started 140 games.

Howie Long Defensive End Oakland Raiders


The other image in the painting is of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long who played in the Super Bowl XVIII with the Los Angeles Raiders in 1984. He was an 8-time Pro Bowler and one-time Defensive Player of the Year in his career.  He recorded 91.5 career sacks and became an NFL sportscaster after retirement.

Sports Art Painting by Sports Artists John Robertson


The painting is three feet by six feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas. 

Monday

Vintage Football Quarterback Art Painting

Vintage Football Story

 I don't know much about this vintage football player that I painted from the past.  I ran across the image and thought it would be fun to paint.  I did some search on Google put could find out anything about him - so I thought I might make up a bit of his history.


About Alberte Mortensen - Quarterback

Alberte Mortensen was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1894 to immigrants from Denmark.  The family moved to New Jersey shortly after he was born.  As a baby he had medical complications with his digestive track which led to difficulties in eating anything that was not white.  He only ate white bread, white noodles, white rice, drank milk and, of course liked ice cream (vanilla).  Because he was unhealthy and the family lived in poverty the Mortenen's asked for help from their Norse church which worshiped the old Norse gods of the Viking age - Thor, Odin and Frigg.  The Norse oracle, Völva or “priestess” recommended that they give up Alberte for foster care

Foster Care


The Mortensen family gave up the four-year-old Alberte to an Irish Catholic family, the Hughes.  The Hughes had immigrated to the United States from Ireland during the potato famine.  Once in his new home he adapted quite nicely to a diet of white potatoes.  His favorite dish was colcannon which became a staple at most of his meals.  It is a mash of potatoes, cabbage or kale and butter or cream, flavored with scallions.

Plays Football


Alberte grew heartily on the diet, eventually played on his high school football team, and because of his athletic ability was recruited to play with the a local football "club".  Even though he was only sixteen his skills as a quarterback made him locally famous.  He played for a  "pay for play" football
team which generated a small income for the Hughes family.  Because of his success his biological parents, the Mortensens wanted him back.

The Hughes gave a negative response.  As there is no actual word for "no" in Irish Gaelic, they actually said, "Ní hea," which literally means, "It is not."  The Hughes won in a short court battle and Alberte went on to play college football.  He disguised himself as an Indian  and went to Carlisle Indian Industrial School where he played with Jim Thorpe, the great all-american.

Alberte, was now known as, Abukcheech, which means mouse.  Hid first season as quarterback at the Indian school he dedicated to his foster Irish mother, Chloe  Hughes.  When Alberte turned twenty-one he requested Irish citizenship to play soccer in Ireland.  At twenty-two he left for Ireland   Upon boarding the boat back to his adopted homeland he said, "I am Irish, I feel Irish, I will play forever in Ireland."

THE END 

Sports Artists John Robertson Vintage Football painting is 4 feet by 7 1/2 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Thursday

Surfer Painting Art Artists John Robertson

Surfer

As I live only a couple of blocks from the beach and my studio is even closer, it is only natural I would paint a surfer.  This surfer is standing on the rocks at Ventura, California Surfer's Point.  This surfing break is only a few hundred yards up the beach from the Ventura Pier and the "C" Street

break.  "C" Street is more of an inside break as apposed to the "Point" break.

Surfing


I first started surfing many, many years ago.  How Long?  Well I do not want to give away my age but when I started surfing there were some guys using redwood planks and wore knit swim suits.  Women still wore bonnets to the beach.  The boards were ten to twelve feet of solid redwood and weighed a hundred pounds.  To get one of those things off the beach was like dragging a dead seal back into the water.   It was like paddling a canoe with a chance of splinters.  I actually started out on the old balsa boards - no splinters and slippery when wet.  We used candle wax for the surface.  By the way - no wet-suits either and we surfed year-round.  Living about 6 miles from Malibu it was the natural place to surf.  We sometimes went up to Leo Carrillo and County Line and never went south.  Few surfed the Santa Monica and Venice breaks because - well, just because.   Because Malibu was close and just about the best break anywhere - and few surfers then.  A crowded day was about a dozen guys out.

Body Boarding Now


Even though I live close to a couple of great breaks I do not surf anymore.  I do get into the ocean regularly, body-boarding, but surfing has lost it's appeal.  Main reason?  The same as many.  Too many people.  But just north of us is a nice shore break.  A few boards come out but not enough to interfere with the body-boarders.   It is more about just being in the water and not on top of it.  I feel more part of the environment.  And most of the year without a wet suit.  When the water drops below 60 degrees then that is about the time the wet suit comes out.  But that is what so great about living in sunny Southern California - living outdoors and you can be in the water all year long without wearing a big rubber .... suit.

About Sports Artists John Robertson Surfer Painting

The painting is four feet by eight feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.  It hangs like a tapestry or banner.

Monday

NFL Football Offensive Linemen sports artists John Robertson

NFL Offensive Linemen The "Big Boys" of Football


The offensive linemen plays one of three positions, center, guard or tackle, and usually the biggest players on the team.  I can't think of anything more intimidating in football, or in  most sports, than to have an offensive lineman out in front of a running back.  His job is to make space for the runner.
   Visualize a wedge, snow plow train barreling down deep, snow covered railroad tracks.  And with speed and power this huge wedge plow on the front of the iron, diesel engine throws the snow hundreds of feet off the tracks.

Most offensive linemen are just anonymous monsters, part of this wall of other brutes.  But there are some that have stood out in the NFL.  Some had great nicknames like, " Smash-Mouth" or "Night-Train" or "The Jordon Spreader".  

Gene Upshaw Oakland Raiders


There was Gene Upshaw, Oakland Raiders and a Hall ­of ­Famer.  He played 15 seasons at guard between 1967 and 1981. Upshaw started 207 out of 217 career games and was named to seven Pro Bowls. Upshaw was also a two­-time Super Bowl champion­­ with rings in 1977 and 1981.

 Art Shell Oakland Raiders


 Another great Raider offensive linemen was Art Shell.  At his playing size of 6’5″ and 265 pounds, Shell would  drop his hips and use pounding leverage to clear space for running backs or put up a shield and protect his quarterbacks.

Forrest Gregg Green Bay Packers


One of my favorites is Forrest Gregg of the old Vince Lombardi, Green Bay Packers.  Lombardi said Gregg was greatest player that he ever coached. As a Packer, Gregg brought back five championships to the Green Bay “Frozen Tundra.” In the twilight of his career, he won Super Bowl VI with the Dallas Cowboys.  Gregg played in a then-record 188 straight games between 1956 and 1971. Gregg made nine trips to the Pro Bowl and seven appearances on the First­-Team All­-Pro list.

Anthony Muñoz Cincinnati Bengals


 And who some considered the best offensive lineman of all time is Anthony Muñoz - left tackle, Cincinnati Bengals.  He was the "real deal"  with size, strength, athleticism, and technique.  He played at six feet six inches and weighted two-hundred and seventy-eight pounds. He could create an alleyway that a truck could drive through - or "wall off " a blitzing linebacker.  Munoz played in nine Pro Bowls between 1976 and 1985 and named lead guard on the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All­-Time Team.

About Sports Artists John Robertson Painting



The Lineman painting is approximately 48 inches by 70 inches, acrylic on unstretched canvas.  (That means no stretcher bars or frame)  It hangs like a tapestry or banner.

Friday

Receiver Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings Receiver Making Catch Painting

Over the years the Minnesota Vikings have had some of the great receivers in the NFL - players like Cris Carter, Randy Moss, Steve Jordan, Anthony Carter, Jake Reed, Ahmad Rashad, etc. etc. etc. So when I went to paint this receiver for the new Minnesota Vikings, US Bank Stadium Art Collection
there was not one particular player I used as a model.  It would be too hard to single out one player for an individual painting.

What I wanted to represent was the flying aspect of a hero or warrior of the Vikings.  The Vikings had the best of the best warriors, and for so many years the Minnesota Vikings have had some great receiver players.  Like the gathering of the very best Viking warriors, the Minnesota Vikings, over the years, have gathered great receivers to play along-side each other. And this painting is a tribute to them.

Valhalla Suites Receiver Painting


The Minnesota Vikings have hung the painting in the Valhalla Suites area of the US Bank Stadium.  The painting is hung to the lobby area and the stairway entrance as you descend to the Valhalla Suites.  Here is a description of the suites from the Vikings website:  Located 17 rows from the field
and between the 20 yard lines members will have access to the private Owner’s and Medtronic Clubs featuring elite all-inclusive food and beverages. Suites range between 24-32 tickets and come with VIP parking, other event access, away game trips and much more.

Only 17 rows off the field
Private Medtronic Club Access
All-inclusive Food and Beverages
Situated between the 30 yard lines
Highest End Suite furniture and finishes in the building
12-24 tickets per Suite
Only 12 Suites at this level

About the Vikings Painting by Sports Artist John Robertson


The receiver painting is four feet by eight feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas. 

Tuesday

Sports Artist John Robertson US Bank Stadium Art Collection

US Bank Stadium Art Collection


Like myself Jim Marshall created work for the Minnesota Vikings US Bank Art Collection. The photograph is of me, sports artist John Robertson, with Jim Marshall, defensive lineman, for theMinneapolis, Minnesota.   I met Jim at the art opening for the US Bank stadium a week ago.
Minnesota Vikings  from nineteen sixty one to nineteen seventy nine (1961 - 1979)) In the photo he had just had autographed a page from a book that has one of my paintings of the famous "Purple People Eaters" .  They were the great front four linemen for the Vikings. "The Purple People Eaters" included; Carl Eller, Allen Page, Gary Larson and Jim Marshall.  The painting commission hangs in the new Minnesota Vikings US Bank stadium in in Minneapolis, Minnesota.   I met Jim at the art opening for the US Bank stadium.

Jim Marshall Art


Jim Marshall created from the nickname he gave himself "silver eagle".  He liked to draw an eagle on his football uniform that “became synonymous with the Viking legend,Marshall, and he began to fashion his own version of the symbol. His creation was a “silver eagle”.  
” according to the Vikings press release.  Jim Marshall said he was inspired by the Odin’s raven on the flags on medieval Vikings’ long ships. The bird’s ferocity held meaning for

It was really exciting for me to meet Jim Marshall as I was, and still am a big fan of the Vikings.  My wife is from Minnesota and I have been going back with her at least once or twice a year since we have been together.  Marshall is a few years older than me so we are contemporaries.  He is a big, big man standing six foot four and two hundred and forty five pounds. 

John Robertson "Purple People Eaters"About the painting


Sports Artist John Robertson's painting you see in the photograph is eight feet by twelve feet, acrylic on canvas.  The "Purple People Eaters' painting is in the Gold Suites lobby to Norsemen's suites in the US Bank stadium where the Minnesota Vikings play. This is a private area for the suite owners but the doors are sometimes left opened so one can see them from the public area. 

Wednesday

Minnesota Vikings Carl Eller

Vikings Carl Eller Autograph


The photograph is of me, sports artist John Robertson with Carl Eller, autographing a page from a book that has one of my paintings of the famous "Purple People Eaters" .  They were the great front four linemen for the Vikings. "The Purple People Eaters" included; Carl Eller, Allen Page, Gary Larson and Jim Marshall.  The painting commission hangs in the new Minnesota Vikings US Bank stadium in Minnesota 


It was really exciting for me to meet Carl Eller as I was, and still am a big fan of the Vikings.  My wife is from Minnesota and I have been going back with her at least once or twice a year since we have been together.  Eller is only a year older than me so we are contemporaries.  He is a big, big man standing six foot six and thick as a big tree.  What is interesting about him is that he makes ceramic art.  His bowls are beautiful and he created some pieces for the US Bank, Minnesota  Vikings art collection.  Here is a link to his facebook page that shows some of his work.  https://www.facebook.com/Carl-Eller-Studios-140010289424137/ 

 About Carl Eller

 Carl Eller was one of the defensive ends who played with the Minnesota Vikings from 1968 through 1979.  Starting in 1968, Eller's fifth campaign, Minnesota won 10 Central Division titles in the next 11 seasons. The Vikings won the 1969 NFL championship and NFC crowns in 1973, 1974, and 1976 and Eller was one of 11 Vikings to play in all four of their Super Bowls, all losses.

He was selected to play in six Pro Bowls (1968–1971, 1973, and 1974). After being traded with an eighth round pick to Seattle Seahawks for defensive tackle Steve Niehaus, Eller played his final season in 1979 with the Seattle Seahawks, where he ran his career total to 225 games. In his career, "Moose" only missed three games and started 209 out of the 225 he played.

About the painting

The painting you see in the photograph is eight feet by twelve feet, acrylic on canvas.  The "Purple People Eaters' painting is in the Gold Suites lobby to Norsemen's suites in the US Bank stadium where the Minnesota Vikings play. This is a private area for the suite owners but the doors are sometimes left opened so one can see them from the public area.  

Sunday

Purple People Eaters Minnesota Vikings US Bank Stadium

Purple People Eaters Painting

 One of my pieces (artist John Robertson) In the new Minnesota Vikings stadium is The "Purple People Eaters" which shows the legendary linemen Carl Eller, Allen Page, Gary Larson and Jim Marshall.   The painting you see in the photograph is eight feet by twelve feet, acrylic on canvas.  The "Purple People Eaters' painting
is in the Gold Suites lobby to Norsemen's suites.  This is a private area for the suite owners but the doors are sometimes left opened so one can see them from the public area. 

What was fun about the opening is meeting Carl Eller and Jim Marshall who autographed the photograph art book featuring the stadium's artists.  We also had a chance to meet the great Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant. 

Minnesota Vikings Stadium


We went to the art collection opening at the new  U.S. Bank Stadium where the NFL Minnesota Vikings will be playing their football games starting this 2016 2017 football season.  The stadium has a museum-quality art collection.  Both my wife and I have pieces of art in this collection.

U.S. Bank Stadium has some unique features in comparison to other NFL stadiums, It has the largest transparent roof in the nation and five 95-feet high pivoting glass doors that will open to a nearly three-acre plaza and the Minneapolis downtown skyline. While the stadium’s roof will be fixed, the transparent 200,000 square feet of glass throughout the building will give fans an outdoor feel in a climate-controlled environment. The stadium seats are just 41 feet from the sideline. Seven levels in the stadium and it has two of the largest and highest-quality HD video boards in the NFL that are located in both the east and west end zones.

About the US Bank Minnesota Vikings Stadium Art Collection


To see a short video of some of the collection you can go to : http://www.usbankstadium.com/about-the-stadium/art-collection/  You will see two of my paintings in the video.  What is an interesting side comment is that my name is not listed on the collection artist's list although my paintings are in the stadium. 

One of my large scale football paintings on the jumbotron at the new Minnesota Vikings' US Bank Stadium where several pieces of my work are installed
stadium.  My understanding is that only a couple of artists that were not from Minnesota were included in the collection - me being one of them.  This was intentional as the other artists not from Minnesota were also left off the list.  My wife, Lynn Hanson was included (see photograph above with our paintings shown together in the Gold Lobby to the Norsemen suites) as she is from Minnesota and her sister lives about an hour from downtown Minneapolis

Thursday

LA Dodgers Yasiel Puig right fielder

Fate of Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig - mega-talented right fielder of the Los Angeles Dodgers - and as of this writing and finishing of this painting may be destined to leave the Dodgers in s trade.   Here are a couple of links to other sites that write about the rumors more clearly than I ever could - as I am a sports artist and
not a writer.  I only try to provide a little background to the paintings I paint.  So if you are interested in what may happen or want to see what people were guessing before whatever happen, did happen, then check out these two links:



Yasiel Puig Journey to US

As most of you who are reading this know that Yasiel Puig left the island of Cuba and was smuggled into the United States with the help of people with special interests in Miami and Cancun.  Even with outside help, by anyone's imagination, it must have been a risky journey that few would be willing to take.  People make the trip for a variety of reasons - but most do so for economic or political motives.  And, apparently there is a lot of crazy stories surrounding Yasiel Puig's migration to the United States.   If you are at all interested in what Yasiel Puig faced in his travels to the United States, you might wish to read the article attached to the following link.  http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/10781144/no-one-walks-island-los-angeles-dodgers-yasiel-puig-journey-cuba

 Short Information about Yasiel Puig

He grew up in Cienfuegos, and played for the Cuban national team in the 2008 World Junior Championship, where they won a bronze medal. He then played in the Cuban National Series, but a failed attempt at defecting to the United States had him out for a season as punishment. He then tried several more times to defect to Mexico (so as to get to the U.S. by land), finally succeeding in 2012. Puig signed with the Dodgers in 2012.

About the Painting

The painting by sports artist John Robertson is approximately  4 feet by 6 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas

Saturday

Ryne Sandberg Chicago Cubs Second Baseman

Why Paint Ryne Sandberg


Ryne Sandberg nicknamed "Ryno" played in Major League Baseball as a second baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs.

I painted this sports art for my niece as a wedding present.  My sister lived in Chicago for a number of years and, as I remember, she went to graduate school there also.  She is a big fan of the Chicago Cubs and when her first daughter was born she named her Ryne after Ryne Sandberg.  Although they eventually moved away from the Chicago area they continued to be fans of Chicago.  Knowing that I am a sports artist, my niece asked for a Chicago Cubs painting.  So I have surprised her with this baseball painting.

Ryne Sandberg Interesting Stats

Sandberg was a perennial All-Star and Gold Glove candidate, making 10 consecutive All-Star appearances and winning nine consecutive Gold Gloves from 1983 to 1991. His career .989 fielding percentage is a major-league record at second base. Sandberg was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in January 2005; he was formally inducted in ceremonies on July 31, 2005. 

Ryne Sandberg Quotes

 In his  July 31, 2005, Cooperstown, NY Baseball Hall of Fame speech he said, "The reason I am here, they tell me, is that I played the game a certain way, that I played the game the way it was supposed to be played. I don’t know about that, but I do know this: I had too much respect for the game to play it any other way, and if there was there is a single reason I am here today, it is because of one word, "respect."¹ I love to play baseball. I’m a baseball player. I’ve always been a baseball player. I’m still a baseball player. That’s who I am."

One of my favorite quotes from Ryne Sandberg is because it has more meaning in to life and not just baseball.  He said, "In baseball, there's always the next day."  There  is always the next day to move on with your life.  Don't let the past haunt and weigh you down.  I like that thought.


The John Robertson Sports Art painting is 48" by 63" acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Wednesday

California State Parks Rescue Lifeguard

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

 Lifeguard Tryout qualifications

 I photographed this woman lifeguard at the tryouts that were held at the Sycamore Canyon StateBeach 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 painting is approximately 8 1/2 feet by 4 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Saturday

Muhammad Ali Shines in Nightly Honor

 "The Greatest" Muhammad Ali


 Although I had followed boxing when I was a kid, I did not become conscious of Muhammad Ali until I was in the Navy.  Before then, growing up I watched the Wednesday,  Friday and Saturday night fights on a black and white television with my step-dad.  At that time my favorite fighter was
Archie Moore who fought as a light-heavyweight and had one of the longest professional careers in the history of the sport.   I also liked his nickname, "The Mongoose"

I joined the Navy in 1961 and didn't pay much attention to boxing.  But in November of 1962 Muhammad Ali fought Archie Moore.  At the time I was on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the Pacific and as entertainment the ship broadcasted the fight over the ship's radio system.  Hundreds of sailors gathered in different recreation rooms around the ship and listened the fight.  Of course, I was for "The Mongoose" and was sorely disappointed when he lost.  But that is when I became aware of Ali.  After that the ship continued to broadcast the fights.   By the time Ali fought Henry Cooper in 1963, I was a die-hard fan.  And that continued all through his career.

 Muhammad Ali Inspiration


 Individual fans have their favorite quotes of Ali.  My favorite is, ""The fight is won or lost far away from the witnesses, behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights."  Why this quote so inspirational to me is that, as an artist (painter) their are years of time spent at a canvas trying to paint a good painting.  I've painted hundreds of  large-scale portraits.  The first fifty portraits were terrible and I would not show them to anyone.  But I knew I had to put in the time and the hard work would pay off.  And soon I could paint a descent portrait - now, I get three good ones for every ten I paint.  I understand what it takes for an artist to have created a body of work for an art or museum show. 

Another quote that is just as inspirational to me is: "Impossible is just a word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing."  My experience with this quote is certainly not one of overcoming a huge impossibility - but - I didn't start painting until I was forty-seven years old.  And before that had shown no interest in art, museums or galleries.  But someone suggested I paint to help relax me.  I was a businessman and had been an English major in college. Pretty far away from art.  But I fell in love with painting. and by the time I was in my fifties I started selling paintings and now am a professional artist.  Anybody who knew me before I was an artist would say "impossible"

 About the painting


The Muhammad Ali painting by sports artist John Robertson is approximately 50" x 70' acrylic on unstretched canvas

Wednesday

Baseball slide rule change image

New Baseball Slide Rule

 Under the new baseball slide rule into second, "both baseball players have to wear a dress."  At least, that is what one of the Major League baseball managers was quoted as saying.  His point being that the MLB was taking all of the "sport" out baseball.   If the baseball player can't go into second base
with "spikes up and wide" in an attempt to break up the double play, then where is the excitement and risk of the game?  One of the new rules state: "A runner sliding into second has to make "a bona fide attempt" not just to slide into the base, but also to "remain on the base."   In other words,  "no interference".  In the case of this baseball painting the base runner is trying to interfere with the shortstop.

 Keep Baseball Entertaining

 It seems to me, part of the reason to slide into second base, during the possibility of a double play, is to interfere with the play.   Another way to break up the double play is to run the base path so the baseman can't throw straight to first base.  So, instead of taking the danger of the play out with the baseball slide rule they should put a rule in to make it a greater risk for the base runner to run the bases.  And that would be that the base runner has to run the bases in a straight line between the bases.  But, with the new rule, the  baseman may throw the ball at the base runner, but the base runner is not allowed to duck.  That kind of evens out the whole "fairness" of a need for a slide rule.  Let's make sure both basemen and base runners are, "at risk"  and keep the game as entertaining as ever.  Maybe, even more entertaining.

If the League thinks it is protecting baseball players, it is eliminating not the most dangerous aspects of the game.  The most dangerous?  - getting hit by a pitch.  The next change is coming:  protect the batter by putting him into a batting cage. 

Sports Art Baseball Painting by artist John Robertson is 11" x 14", ink and acrylic on drafting film. Available.  

Sunday

Football Linemen Painting Art NFL

Football Linemen Painting

 In football linemen get little glory but the real football battles are fought there, as they say, "in the trenches" My favorite linesmen’s were from the "old school" Green Bay Packers. During late summer of 1963 I spent a couple of weeks in Green Bay and had the opportunity to watch the Packers daily
practice. In those days the practices were open and we could actually sit on the player’s bench and talk with them.

 My Favorite Linemen

 My two favorite players were Frederick "Fuzzy" Thurston and Jerry Kramer. They were key member of the Packers' offensive line during the team's glory years from 1959 through 1967, when they won five NFL Championships and the first two Super Bowls. Kramer was an All-Pro five times, and a member of the NFL's 50th anniversary team in 1969. Thurston was named to the 1961 and 1962 All-Pro teams. Kramer , 6'3", 250 lb. right guard, (and "Fuzzy" (Fuzzy was at left guard) were an integral part of the famous "Packer Sweep", a signature play in which both guards rapidly pull out from their positions on the line and lead-block for the running back going around the end.
"Fuzzy" is famous for his quote in response to a sportswriter's question asked of him how he prepared for the famous Ice Bowl game (where the game-time temperature was 15 degrees below zero). Thurston's response was "about 10 vodkas."


This photo gives you a sense of the actual size of the painting.  Painting of football linemen by sports artist John Robertson is approximately  88" x 60" (approx. 7 1/2 feet by 5 feet)

Monday

Sports Baseball painting of Minnesota Twins Joe Mauer

Joe Mauer Old Catcher Now First Baseman


This painting of Joe Mauer first baseman and used to be catcher of the Minnesota Twins major league baseball team is approximately 8” x 10” on a 11” x 14” piece of drafting film. Ink and watercolor.

Joe Mauer's main position when he started playing was catcher and sometimes first baseman.  When asked to paint him for a relative he wanted a painting of Joe as a catcher.  As a catcher Joe took a few hits to the head causing some concussions.  On November 11, 2014 the Twins announced that Mauer would permanently move to first base in order to protect their star player from further concussions and the day-to-day physical wear of being a major league catcher.  Since then, like in the past he has performed nicely.

 Painting Inspiration

This painting was created for a  gift to my nephew-in-law.  He is my wife's sister's son who absolutely loves the Minnesota Twins and goes to as many games as he possibly can.   My wife's family is from Minnesota and her sister lives just about a hour north from the Twin Cities.  When my nephew left Minnesota to take a teaching job in Mexico he wanted something that would remind him of his home state.  His mother suggested a baseball player and we somehow found out his favorite player was Joe Mauer.

I did paint Joe as a surprise and it eventually the painting ended up in Mexico.  My nephew comes back to the states for all vacations and, of course back to Minnesota.  And one of the first things he does is go to a Twins game.  We get to see him every summer and a few times he has come to California to visit.   Also, he is moving on from Mexico after three years there he is not sure where his next job will be.  But he does like teaching in a foreign country except for missing the Twins

Nephew likes Minnesota Vikings



What is going to be fun this upcoming summer 2016 is the opening of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium.  Both my wife and I have painted large-scale sports artwork for the new stadium and will be able to take her nephew to the opening in July.  He is excited about the whole process as football and the Vikings is his next big passion.  Don't tell him but I will probably get some prints of the images I painted for the Vikings and they will be a great gift for his return.

Saturday

Hand Jam Rock Climbing Hand Hold painting

Rock climbing Hold Hand Jam  Painting

 There is two types of hand jams in rock climbing - Thumb-up hand jam - jamming the hand in a small crack with the thumb in an upward position, enabling greater reach between holds. And the thumb-down hand jam - as with the thumb-up hand jam, but with the thumb placed downwards, a less maneuverable but more secure hold.

 You re not a rock climber if:

You think trails need to be wider so people can walk while holding hands
You think reflectors need to be placed on rocks every 5 feet so people can climb at night with flashlights
You think rocks should be stacked in a more orderly fashion.
You think it is kinky to wear a harness
You think it is okay to use your dog on belay.
You think that you think you don't need a helmet.
You have to unwind your climbing rope from your SUV's winch.
You think escalators would help while rock climbing.

Why paint a rock climbing hold?

 My daughter and son-in-law are rock climbers and own an outdoor recreation store in Ventura. - Real Cheap Sports, Ventura’s Outdoor Store is located in the city of Ventura on the Southern California coast. The store was originally founded by Jeff and Yvon Chouinard and opened in 1981 as Patagonia’s original outlet store, just one block from Patagonia’s corporate headquarters just west of downtown Ventura. Today, Real Cheap Sports resides in its original location, but has an expanded store space. Operating independently since 1998 as an "Outlet Dealer," Real Cheap Sports is Southern California’s largest outlet store for Patagonia closeout merchandise and features discounts on clothing and equipment from a variety of reputable outdoor manufacturers for backpacking, climbing, hiking, sea kayaking, and international travel. Come and visit them sometime. They are always be happy to see you. Or visit their web site http://www.realcheapsports.com/

Wednesday

Fist Jam Rock Climbing Hold Painting

A Fist jam in rock climbing is jamming the hand into a crack with a clenched fist position, the expanded muscles securing the hand.


 Give Up Rock Climbing?  Here's Why


 If you are a rock climber and wonder if you should continue the sport these are the things you do that suggests you should give up the sport.

1. You've chopped the rope with your axe while ice climbing.
2. Your climbing partner uses you to "test" for rock stability.
3. You fell off the tailgate of your pick-up truck.
4. People ask if you're a park ranger.
5.  You buy shoes a size too big.
6. You aerate your lawn with your crampon.
7.  If you wear baggy shorts and no underwear
8.  If you say "I think it might be this way"

Why Paint a Hand Hold in Rock Climbing?



My daughter and son-in-law are rock climbers and own an outdoor recreation store in Ventura. - Real Cheap Sports, Ventura’s Outdoor Store is located in the city of Ventura on the Southern California coast. The store was originally founded by Jeff and Yvon Chouinard and opened in 1981 as Patagonia’s original outlet store, just one block from Patagonia’s corporate headquarters just west of downtown Ventura. Today, Real Cheap Sports resides in its original location, but has an expanded store space. Operating independently since 1998 as an "Outlet Dealer," Real Cheap Sports is Southern California’s largest outlet store for Patagonia closeout merchandise and features discounts on clothing and equipment from a variety of reputable outdoor manufacturers for backpacking, climbing, hiking, sea kayaking, and international travel. Come and visit them sometime. They are always be happy to see you. Or visit their web site http://www.realcheapsports.com/

Monday

Abstract Basketball Painting with Hoop and Basketball

Basketball Painting In Abstract Style


A few years ago I was approached by a sports art agent to do some paintings for the (at the time) a new Amway sports arena in Orlando, Florida - where the NBA Orlando Magic plays basketball. The paintings were to be used on the walls and in spaces for the arena.  I don't recall how many paintings
I did for them but I do remember a couple of them were basketball related and this contemporary basketball hoop painting was among the different paintings.

This abstract painting of the basketball hoop is good size: sixty inches by seventy-two inches  (five feet by six feet) acrylic on unstretched canvas.  What I was asked to paint was something bright and colorful and represented basketball in an abstract way.  A couple of the other paintings I did for them were basketball paintings of Venice Beach street players I had photograph at Venice, Ca.  This is where the great basketball  movie "White Men Can't Jump" was filmed and in our neighborhood.  (These paintings are posted somewhere on this blog)


Basketball Idea from Alley


At the time I had not done many non-figurative paintings so it was a bit of a challenge for me.  I wasn't really sure where to start.  But one evening my wife and I were walking the alleys of Venice.  We always liked seeing the backs of the rundown properties and the deterioration of the neighborhood.  There is something very human seeing old garages and backs of old cottages.  My wife actually owned a small cottage that was held up by the wings of termites.   As we walked in the alleys I kept seeing old, rusted and unused basketball hoops attached to dilapidated garages.  And growing over some of the garages were vines and flowers.  One in particular captured my imagination - a garage with Nasturtiums (yellow orange flowers on long green vines) draped through the hoop and over the garage doors.  Perfect.

I took a bunch of photographs from a variety of angles for reference material.  Back in my studio I painted the scene in a realistic manner, recreating the alley and garages and trash cans and the hoop and the flowers.  And then I took a big brush and slashed paint all over the canvas.  And what you see is the result of my effort - a contemporary, modern sort of basketball hoop abstract painting.

Sunday

Basketball Painting Layup Art Becoming a Sports Artist

How I became a Sports Artist by Painting a Basketball Layup Painting


I have been asked a number of times how I became a sports artist - which started with basketball layup paintings.  Most people assume that I was an avid sports fan and painted what was of most interest to me.  Actually, it was strictly by accident I became a sports artist.A painting of a left hand holding a basketball layup getting ready to dunk the ball through a hoop

A number of years ago I was painting large-scale portraits of the musicians in a night club in Santa Monica, Ca. named The Temple Bar.  The completed portrait paintings hung in the windows that faced Wilshire Blvd, a well traveled street.  I frequented the club, one or two nights a week for about five years.

Fox Sports Calls


One afternoon I got a call in my studio from a person claiming to be a director for Fox Sports Net and he had seen my paintings in the window of the Temple Bar.  He said they had been looking for an artist for a NBA basketball commercial and wondered if I was capable of doing some large-scale West Los Angeles.
sports paintings.  It seemed like a foolish question as he had already seen my work in the windows - and I thought it was just a friend messing around with me.  Yeah.  Right.  Fox Sports is calling me to paint some paintings for a NBA commercial.  He convinced me he was for real and invited me down to their studios in

Painting the Basketball Layup


Once there (he was serious) we discussed a few concepts he had.  I told him I could do any of them he wanted.  The one that was selected was of five feet by seven feet basketball layup paintings of a hand in different stages of doing  the layup and dunk into a basketball hoop.Photograph of my
paintings on the set for shooting a basketball layup commercial for Fox Sports showing hands in different position dunking a basketball

As you can see by the photograph the paintings were put in a circle and the camera spun around to animate the look of the basketball layup being made.   They also showed an artist painting the basketball paintings in a very expressive, impressionistic way.  I was not in the commercial as they hired a young kid to play my roll as the artist.  The director said, as an older person, I was not the demographic they wanted as the artist.


The commercial ran nationally in spot markets for the season and the basketball layup paintings were used as the front and back bumpers for the commercial and the middle part announcing what game was to be televised. Photograph of set of Fox Sports Commercial for the NBA basketball season showing the back side of my basketball layup paintings

Fox Sports then hired me to paint portraits of Willie Mays for an MLB All-Star game in which  Ken
Griffey Jr. and Derek Jeter interviewed Willie for 4 1/2 minutes. Again, my sports paintings were featured in the interview.

I was now identified as a sports artist.  An artist sports agent contacted me and started representing me for big commercial jobs - stadiums and arenas, restaurants, corporate offices, etc.  And I have been doing that ever since.  The bottom line of it all is that I was very lucky to have been "discovered" by someone at Fox Sports and then by the agent who promoted me.

Tuesday

Sports Baseball Catcher MLB

Baseball Catcher

 It was once said about baseball catchers that they are like a backstop with a good arm.   But it is not always recognized early on in a player's career.  A good example of that is Johnny Bench.  Johnny Bench was one of the great catchers of all time but it is interesting to note that he did not start out in that position.  Here's what he said about playing baseball as a youth. 
"I played American Legion ball starting when I was 14. But I didn't catch until I was 17. I was 75-3 as a high school pitcher, but it was like everybody knew that I was supposed to be a catcher. When the scouts would come around, and I was pitching, they'd make me take infield practice so the scouts could watch me throw."

Catchers are the defensive leader on the field. They position players on the field, call the pitches and can and have a pragmatic view of baseball. One of the best pitcher ever, Bob Feller said, "If you believe your catcher is intelligent and you know that he has considerable experience, it is a good thing to leave the game almost entirely in his hands." A good catcher will have psychological insight and have a list of behaviors for each player approaching the batting box. His eyes are continuing to move across the field of play and his mind running the different offensive scenarios in his head. All of this going on with a baseball bat menacingly inches from his head.

About the Painting



Baseball, painting art Catcher and Base runner painting by sports artist John Robertson.  Baseball art player image is approximately 8" by 10" on a oil on a 11' x 14" piece of drafting film.

Thursday

New York Yankees Derek Jeter

Couple of Derek Jeter Quotes


Some of what Derek Jeter says can be directly applied to being an artist.  .  For example Jeter said, " There may be people who have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do - and I believe that." 
I am a perfect example of that thought.  Although there are a lot of great artists out there - a lot of them do not make a living as a painter.  I am fortunate - and lucky - and I work very hard at what I do.  I am in my studio every day painting or finding a way to sell a painting. 

Of course, the problem with that work ethic is that I tend to forget to feed the cat, or water the flowers, or make the bed in the morning.  Now, that was okay when I wasn't married.  I mean, who cares?  Nobody was coming into my studio to check and see if the bed was made.  And the cat could find it's own food - and the flowers?  What flowers?  They were dead long ago.  But now that I am married things have changed.  I will make the bed and sometimes even change the sheets.  As Derek Jeter says, " I have feelings. I'm not emotionally stunted."  But as my wife says,  "Who would know?  You're in the studio all day painting and thinking about yourself."

A little About Derek Jeter


Derek says it again. " I don't really see myself getting a Twitter account..."  You want me out there emoting?  When Derek Jeter was playing do you think he had time for expressing his feelings?  No.  He was busy.  Hw was born on June 26, 1974, in Pequannock, New Jersey and grew up playing baseball.  He enrolled at the University of Michigan, but his time on campus was brief as he rapidly ascended the ranks of the Yankees' farm system. After batting .344 with 50 stolen bases in 1994, he was selected as "Minor League Player of the Year" by several publications, including The Sporting News and Baseball America.

  He was drafted by the Yankees in 1992. During 1996, his first full season in the majors, his performance helped the Yankees win the World Series against the Braves. Since then, he's seen four more Yankees World Series wins in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009. Jeter is the all-time Yankees hit leader and was named team captain in 2003. When he officially retired in 2014, he ranked sixth in MLB history with 3,465 hits."  Thank you for the information from http://www.biography.com/people/derek-jeter-189311


And when it was all over Jeter could start living a normal life, one away from the "bright lights, city lights"   He told NBC that starting a family and raising kids was one of his reasons for retiring from baseball. "I want to have a family," Jeter said. "Who knows when it's gonna' be? But I look forward to it."

Wednesday

Jump Shot Basketball Painting artist John Robertson

Frogs Have A Better Jump Shot


 As you can see from the painting this player has a nice jump shot with a nice hand and arm extension above his head. It is suppose to be an easy shot to make from a distance but I could not do it very well from any distance. Frogs have a better jump shot. A Kangaroo Rat could jump higher than I
could.  And, even if I could get off the ground I was easy to block – being short. And being short the only thing I can dunk is cookies into milk - and the only good move I had after that was dribbling.


The Mindset to Play Basketball

Basically I could not, nor did not have the mindset to play basketball very well or often.  When I met my (at some point in the future) wife she was playing in a mixed, men's and women's basketball game, weekly. She was not particularly good which made no difference to her.  Her jump shot was no better than mine.  Only her teammates were critical of her playing and like the last kid picked in the gym class she avoided being chosen by both teams at almost any costs.  But she loved to play.  If the tenth player did not show up she started jumping around the court like a grasshopper. She knew she was about to be chosen.  She was never discouraged and just waited it out.  And enviably there would be spot for her.  The last team to choose a player would look at her, look forlornly towards the parking lot and the bike rack with hopes that a car or bike would be just pulling up.  Nobody.  The team would let out a collective sigh, and ask her to play.   She has long, grasshopper legs and arms so, to the annoyance to some of the shorter players,  she could actually block jump shots - and did so without malice.  She ran up and down the court like a shuttle which showed she was a happy and eager to play and did so with all the enthusiasm of a small child.

"The Jump Shot" basketball sports art painting by artist John Robertson is 48" x 60" acrylic on unstretched canvas.

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

Thursday

Art Show for the Super Bowl Artist John Robertson

The Acme Packers, Green Bay
 Packers, painting is 4 feet by 7 1/2 feet,
 acrylic on unstretched canvas.
  (No stretcher bars or frames).

 ART OF THE NFL

This is another one of my paintings that is in the Celebration of Super Bowl 50, a group Super Bowl Art Show (with three large-scale football paintings)

Early on in their history (in 1919) , the founders of the Green Bay Packers got money for their uniforms from the Indian Packing Company, a business specializing in canned meat. Even after the company was bought by another meat processor the Acme Packing Company they kept the Packers name and called the team the Acme Packers.  Though the original sponsor of the team was the Indian Packing Company, it was under Acme that the team joined the American Professional Football Association (soon to be the NFL) in 1921

The Acme Packers, Green Bay Packers, painting is 4 feet b y 7 1/2 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.  (No stretcher bars or frames.

The Super Bowl is being held in the San Francisco 49er's Levi Stadium this year which is right down the road from the gallery.

JCO'S Place - Fine Art  Los Gatos
45 North Santa Cruz Ave.
Los Gatos, CA 95030


The show is up from Jan 12 - Feb 7

Sunday

Super Bowl Art Show - Artist John Robertson

Tom Brady, quarterback for the
 New England Patriots




ART OF THE NFL

 In Celebration of Super Bowl 50 will be in a group Super Bowl Art Show (with three large-scale football paintings)

OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, January 14th | 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Special Guests

Dwight Clark (#87, Former 49er) was the receiver in the famous "Catch" which  refers to the winning touchdown reception by Dwight Clark off a Joe Montana pass in the January 10, 1982, NFC Championship Game between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers. The Catch is widely regarded as one of the most memorable events in NFL history. The game represented the end of the Cowboys' domination in the NFC since the conference's inception in 1970, and the beginning of the 49ers' rise as an NFL dynasty in the 1980s. (source: Wikipedia)

Also on hand will be Kyle Nelson (#86, Current 49er, Tight End & Long Snapper)

The Super Bowl is being held in the San Francisco 49er's Levi Stadium this year which is right down the road from the gallery.

JCO'S Place - Fine Art  Los Gatos
45 North Santa Cruz Ave.
Los Gatos, CA 95030

The show is up from Jan 12 - Feb 7

RSVP REQUIRED for reception 

Monday

Basketball Painting LA Lakers Dribbling Basketball

Basketball Painting LA Lakers Dribbling Basketball
John Robertson Sports Art Basketball Painting LA Lakers
 Dribbling Basketball  is 10 inches by 10 inches ink and acrylic on old
 news clippings of LA Lakers.
I am one of those typical Los Angeles fans who like the Lakers when they are winning and do not pay much attention top them when they are losing.  I try and only root for teams that are winning.  I'm a fair weather friend.  You're not feeling well?  Sorry to hear that.  Please pass the salt. 

As far as the Lakers are concerned, at least they have somewhere to go and that is up.  Maybe.  Here is the "no brainer" comment.  "They have to re-build."  What does that mean?  I don't know what that means.  I don't know much about basketball.  I can't even build my own life properly much less tell someone how to rebuild their lousy basketball team.  But I know there are plenty of people out there quite willing to tell anyone how to do anything.

I know. How about picking in the draft or getting a couple top-level free agents to "elevate" the team.  I think they know that too.  All I know is how to "elevate" on the escalator to the third floor level of the Century Mall to find Fatburgers  for a Kobe Bryant XXL Cheeseburger with fries. I find I need to put on more weight with the remote possibility that I can float better in the "Y" pool.


But what I do know is this:  Please, Lakers, no more wins this season.  Don't do anything that may jeopardize your critical draft position.  We want to win - so you need to lose.