Thursday

Football Paintings Patrick Willis #52, Linebacker San Francisco 49ers Art

Patrick L. Willis (born January 25, 1985) is a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers painting is 11" x 14" oil on drafting film.

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)


As 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.  This painting for my Dr. was a great opportunity to paint one of my favorite players playing in the NFL now.  The photo at the left is of me in the owner's suite at Levi's Stadium with my painting on the wall.

Monday

Golf Painting Phil Mickelson PGA Champion art

Golf painting of Phil Mickelson is 4 feet by 8 feet, acrylic and ink on unstretched canvas.

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 fun part of the job was watching a golf hustler, who hung out at the driving range, hustling customers with his trick shots.  He was about 5 feet 4 inches tall, and had to be over two hundred pounds.  He wore crazy colored golf shorts and was as hairy as a fat, brown bear.  I found a mentor.

I saw him outdrive people with a shovel and a rake.  I saw him make a bet with a guy that he could stand on one picnic bench, tee up a golf ball on another picnic bench (he put the tee between the crack between the two strip of wood on the bench) and with his favorite garden rake, drive the ball off the bench over 175 yards and hit the target out on the range.  I saw him stand on one side of the golf shack and with a garden hoe, pitch the ball blindly over the shack and come within ten feet of the 75 yard target. I saw him pocket a lot of money.  The owner said when he came around, chase him off.  But the owner was seldom there and I was mentored and entertained.  Also, as the saying goes, "don't poke the bear."


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.  

Thursday

Basketball paintings Point Guards NBA Sports art

WHY PLAY SPORTS

“Point Guard”  24” x 36” ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old Sporting News, magazines, books, etc) about the NBA and point guards.  Newsprint attached to ¾” stretched canvas.  To view paintings for sale please visit: John Robertson sports Paintings for sale.

The quarterback on a basketball court is the point guard - and the most important.  He is the one who leads the team by trying to make the good decisions for the plays.  He generally handles the ball more than any other player on the court and passes the ball off to other players to lead them towards a goal.  All of this leads me to the good reason of why it is important for people to play sports.  I did as a child and as an adult participated in sports into my sixties and still exercise regularly.

One of the things sports taught me was developing teamwork.  This is a way to learn how to help others, and thereby themselves, to work together towards a specific goal, (winning).  We see this problem of teamwork all the time in the major professional sports.  I think the best example of that is in the NBA where there are "star" players and "winning" teams.  I will not point out the specific teams that have (as we used to call them as a kid)  "ball hoggers" as I am sure you know who they are.   But I will point out an example of a great NBA team, the LA Lakers when they were led by, what most consider the best point guard ever, Magic Johnson.  Some people have referred to Magic Johnson as the indisputable "Point God."   He was an absolutely great, all around player who probably sacrificed individual statistics for the greater good of the team - and in doing so, brought other teammates up to play at a higher level.  And, of course, won more games. 

Magic Johnson played in 12 All-Star games, won five NBA rings, three years the MVP awards and won most valuable player in three Finals.  His career Stats 19.5 points per game, 11.2 assists per game, 5.5 re-bounds per game and 1.9 steels per game.  Those 11.2 assists per game shows how much Magic was a team player.  At 6 feet 9 inches he dominated the point guard position.

To have a great team is to have a leader who will work to have all contribute to it's success.  And without that great leadership in the "point guard" position few teams have had a high level of successful seasons. 

Monday

Sports painting of baseball great Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees Portrait

My baseball portrait of Joe DiMaggio  is 50" x 70" acrylic on unstretched canvas.

As a boy and like so many others I thought Joe DiMaggio was the baseball player to follow and worship.  We did not have a major league team in Los Angeles at the time so the Yankees were the team we followed.  (What? No TV?  Nope.  Not then. This was 1948-1951) Joe was nicknamed "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper" and was what we all wanted to grow up to be - American Major League Baseball center fielder for the Yankees.  Dreams.  Boyhood dreams.


Even adults thought that Joe DiMaggio was something special.  Kevin Costner, who made that great baseball movie, “Field of Dreams” said about Joe DiMaggio, “There are certain people’s names that are reminders of what men can be like. To this day, when I hear the name Joe DiMaggio, it is so much more than a man’s name. It reminds me to play whatever game I’m in with more grace and pride and dignity…He is a man who speaks to us about how to walk through life and how to receive the admiration only the famous can know…and about how to wear defeat and disappointment as if it were just a passing storm. Men like Joe DiMaggio are not just of their own time. They are men for the ages.”

I remember in 1952 collecting Topps Baseball Cards – buying packs and packs of gum to get that Topps, Joe DiMaggio 1952 card. So I gathered about one-hundred-and-seventy-five cards before discovering that he retired before the production of the 1952 cards were printed. (I still have the 1952 Topps cards I collected as a boy.  And no they are not in good condition.  Who knew then.  I glued the cards into a paper scrapbook so on the back of the cards there are these great hunks of Elmer’s Rubber Cement and bits of paper attached to the cards.)

I continued to follow the Yankees until the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles for the 1958 season and my allegiance changed.  But, to me, baseball was never the same with DiMaggio gone from the game.  I really didn’t have much thought about DiMaggio being gone or what it might have meant to me until 1967.  The was the year one of my favorite movies came out, “The Graduate”  a coming of age movie about a college graduate entwined in the process of adulthood, the loss of innocence, manhood, etc.  And in the movie soundtrack is one of the great Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel songs, “Mrs Robinson.”  The classic lines in the lyrics:

”Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you, wo wo wo
What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson
‘Joltin Joe’ has left and gone away, hey hey hey
Hey hey hey”

At that time I kicked and fought not to be an adult.  I had dropped out of high school - did my stint in the Navy,  tried college a number of times  and struggled to find direction.  Somehow the movie helped.  I was not alone but “Joltin Joe’ (had) left and gone away.”

Joe" DiMaggio November 25, 1914 – March 8, 1999) played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak (May 15 – July 16, 1941), a record that still stands.  DiMaggio was a three-time MVP winner and an All-Star in each of his 13 seasons. During his tenure with the Yankees, the club won ten American League pennants and nine World Series championships.  At the time of his retirement, he ranked fifth in career home runs (361) and sixth in career slugging percentage (.579). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955, and was voted the sport's greatest living player in a poll taken during the baseball centennial year of 1969.  ---- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is what a couple of other great baseball players said of Joe DiMaggio:

(Joe) DiMaggio was the greatest all-around player I ever saw. His career cannot be summed up in numbers and awards. It might sound corny, but he had a profound and lasting impact on the country." - Ted Williams


"Heroes are people who are all good with no bad in them. That's the way I always saw Joe DiMaggio. He was beyond question one of the greatest players of the century." - Mickey Mantle

Thursday

Baseball Painting Josh Beckett Pitcher LA Dodgers Sports Art

Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Josh Beckett baseball painting is 5 feet by 6 feet, acrylic and ink on unstretched canvas.

There is always that observation that baseball-is-a-metaphor-for-life.  A young baseball player goes out and plays through his youth and when he gets old enough he tries to make a living at it.  He makes a team.  He has good days and bad days.  He goes home and his wife and children are happy to see him.    When he plays he is part of a team of workers but he has his individual job to do, pitch, strike, hit, catch, etc.  - all of which he does on his own.  There is nobody to help him on those things.  Either he has learned his skills or not.  Yes, his co-workers help him out on some of his skills, but the bottom line is - he is on his own.  Josh Beckett says to others, "... I just tell them, 'You have to deal with some of this and some of that, but you're going to get this and get that.''

Here it is, time for the LA Dodgers post-season play-off, a run toward the World Series and there is no Josh Beckett, who, at 23 received the award as the 2003 World Series MVP while with the Marlins, and with the Red Sox for the win in the 2007 World Series.    -   At 34 this season he pitched a no hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies on May 25.

Living in Los Angeles most of my life it would be nice to see the Dodgers, who have not won a World Series since Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda did so in 1988, get a good jump at the series. "I think we're going to get to the Fall Classic," Lasorda said, "and then the Big Dodger in the sky can take me away!"  But Beckett won't be there to help them out with that challenge. 

Beckett was one time speaking about his time with the Red Sox and, his winning the World Series. "There are only about 45 guys who have won a World Series (as a  Red Sox) in about 100 years," he said. "I know they want to win a World Series every year, but it doesn't happen. It doesn't happen anywhere. I don't care how much money you spend. I think if you look back I feel very honored I got to win a World Series ... because who knows how long it will be again? Shoot, it might be next year, it might be another 100 years. I don't know."  For Beckett there may never be another time. 

With Beckett it would be such an easier task but the variety of injuries and the time spent in rehabilitation did not make for a nice ending to the season for Beckett.  And it looks like he will be in for surgery again next year with a long time-out.  He has said that this may be his last year playing.  Josh does become a free agent but retirement may be the way he goes. 

Becket said,  "As far as the future goes, for next year, I think I'm going to have to think about that and talk to my wife a little bit more......  I think the decision would have been more difficult if health had not been an issue.  The last three years have been just been one thing after another for me. When we do get to the off season, the decision will be tough, but it still makes it a little easier."     In a different context but similar circumstances Josh said this about change, "As much as I'm looking forward to the next chapter, I enjoyed the last one. Even during the tough times I met so many people who were just awesome. They were real fans."

I always liked what Beckett had to say about his pitching and which could apply to almost anything anyone does.  He said, “I think I've always been prepared for this. I know what I have to do. You can't make rocket science out of it. You just have to execute pitches. Don't let exterior distractions in. It just takes away from what you're trying to do.”

Josh Beckett's season and his career may be over.  "Everybody has to make up their own mind." Beckett says, " It's a special place to play. As much as I'm looking forward to the next chapter, I enjoyed the last one. Even during the tough times I met so many people who were just awesome."

Monday

Football paintings Jim Thorpe Football Baseball and Olympic athlete art

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 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."  There were years he 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 insignia 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. 

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"

Thursday

Painting of 1929 Ford Model “A” Ford Hot Rod Pickup Truck “Wicked in Suede”

A few weeks back I was at a street car show of about a hundred-and-fifty cars and this one I found to be the best.  And, of course, as an artist I admired the craftsmanship and artistry of the truck - and wanted to paint it.   It is a 1929 Model “A” Ford Pick-up built by Johnny Martinez.  The truck runs a small block 384 horsepower Chevrolet with a 200R overdrive.  It’s chopped 3 inches.  The interior has old style tuck-n-roll stitching.  And the exterior is a beautiful “suede” black finish.  The nickname for this machine is “Wicked in Suede” Johnny has won over 40 assorted awards with his hot rod and was a winner at the 2013 Grand National Roadster Show – the “Rod Trucks” category.  To fully appreciate this vehicle there is a great video on youtube at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojcRkKJ_F90   The painting is 6 feet by 10 feet, ink and acrylic on unstretched canvas

I have only painted a couple of other cars large-scale, a 1949 Merc (James Dean Model) and a 1931 Model “A” roadster street rod.  This pick-up  fits perfectly into the series of three that I have now painted. 


I started painting these cars as a diversion from my other “sports” paintings.  I was always fascinated with the Model “A’s”.   As a teenager I had two Model “A’s ” a 1930 and a 1931 five window coupe.  Bought them each for $25.00 (when I was 15 a long, long time ago) and kept them for 8 years.   They were both wrecks, but derivable.  I drove one of them to high school regularly.  The object was to make one good Model “A” out of the two.  Never finished the project.  When I went into the Navy I put both of them into storage and when I got out I didn’t have- much interest in working on cars.  I did keep them for a couple of more years – again driving one of them all over the place.  In 1960 I drove one of the Model “A’s”s  from Santa Monica Ca. to Flagstaff, Arizona, along old route 66 - long before the interstate 40 was completed.  As I recall it took me about 15 hours to make the drive between Santa Monica and Flagstaff.  Top cruising speed with the “4banger” engine was about 45 mph.  And you couldn’t keep it at that speed.  Lots of hills to cross.  It sure gave me a taste of what the “John Steinbeck” migration from the east and mid-west to California was like during the 30’s.

Monday

Basketball paintings Shooting Guards NBA Sports art

WHY I PAINT SPORTS FIGURES

“Shooting Guard”  24” x 36” ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old Sporting News, magazines, books, etc) about the NBA and Shooting Guards.  Newsprint attached to ¾” stretched canvas.  To view paintings for sale please visit: John Robertson sports Paintings for sale.

There are these perfect little moments in any sport where, for the player, time stops.  And there nothing is their mind except the feeling of making that perfect play.  What I tried to do is capture that moment in this painting of a shooting guard.  His concentration is focused on the hoop.  There is nothing in his mind except for that feeling of making the shot.  He is not thinking, … “Did I jump high enough?  Are my hands extended high enough?  Am I holding the ball correctly?”  Those thoughts are all gone.  He left them on the practice court with the thousands and thousands of shots he has taken before.  There is no thought – only letting his instincts take over.

Something is very lyrical about a basketball player going up for a jump shot and the release and the follow-through, that is quite beautiful in it’s action.  It is like watching a baseball batter taking a swing at the perfect pitch and making a connection and watching a home-run hit ball, fly off the bat and see the follow-through of the batter’s swing. 

Any athlete has had those moments.  Even the most inept person playing a sport has those moments, when, for some odd reason one make the perfect shot or hit the perfect ball or makes the perfect catch.   It can be anything. 

For me it was in volleyball.  I played at a competitive level – well enough to have been asked to “try-outs” for the Olympics.  But I was not good enough to make it any farther than the try-outs.  I like to think that I lasted the whole day.  But, unfortunately after a few hours I was kindly asked to leave.  As the Paul Simon songs says about leaving your lover (In this case me leaving my serious love for the game of volleyball), “Slip out the back Jack.  Make a new Plan Stan.”   So I went back to playing on the beach and even without great success as a volleyball player I had a lot of those moments where an athlete is  “lost in action” – the perfect “dig”, the perfect “spike”,  etc. 

When the weekend athlete makes a really good play I don’t believe his feeling of success is any less greater than a professional making a great play.  I know it is nice to make the play in front of thousands of people and be paid highly for it but the real reason any athlete plays a sport (professional or amateur) is for those moments of success. That feeling you get when you make the perfect move.  It is like a drug that you want to take over and over – repeat that great action. 


Actually it is exactly why I paint.  I love the feeling I get when I make a mark on the canvas that I feel is just the right mark, just the right brush stroke.  And when I do, like an athlete making a good play,  I am lost in time.

Thursday

Boxing paintings Floyd Mayweather Jr boxing art

I had painted this image of Floyd Mayweather Jr. a couple of years ago and it probably is posted on this blog - but I thought  I would post it again because of his unanimous decision over Marcos Maidana in their WBC welterweight championship  fight a little bit ago.  At thirty-seven Mayweather is still going strong.  He remains unbeaten in 47 fights.  Tough to argue that he is not one of the great fighters.  The boxing art image of Floyd Mayweather Jr. is 4 feet by 5 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.  To view paintings for sale please visit:
John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale.

I’m not sure why I never really understood what boxing means.  The loneliness of the fighter in the ring, the sweat and smell of the fighters, the grunting and groaning, the grappling and the punching just inches away from each other.  It is about as basic as it can get.  Primitive.

When I was a boy with my little baby face, I watched The Pabst Blue Ribbon bouts on Wednesday, Gillette Friday Night Fights and Saturday night fights with my father on a black and white TV.  We watched a lot of fights – some of the great ones.   There was the legendary Sugar Ray Robinson,Rocky Marciano, Jersey Joe Walcott, Archie Moore (my favorite but hated his fight with Ali), Ezzard Charles, Joe Louis and Floyd Patterson.  Some of these guys lasted into the 60’s.

At the time, all I could see was that two men trying to hurt each other for no reason that I knew of.   I didn’t know about the money, the power over someone else, or that the pure love of fighting were reasons to fight.  I didn't see the discipline and control.   I didn’t understand what it meant to a fighter who was blasted into the ropes, knocked there by a combination of devastating jabs and cross hooks. And as he crumbles to the canvas how his great goal was coming to an end.   As Mike Tyson said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

And what else I learned is what is so contrary to our basic, primitive instincts - that to be successful as a fighter you have to step into it.  Maybe that is why I found it so captivating – the ability of a fighter who may be under a barrage of punches to the face, to lean in, to step in, instead of backing away from the assault.  Because that is the life lesson I take from watching all those fights with my father.  You have to stick your face out there. 

Floyd Mayweather Jr. quote which should apply to everything we do: “I approach every fight like it’s my last fight.”

Floyd Mayweather Jr.  is currently undefeated as a professional and is a five-division world champion.  Super featherweight, Lightweight, Light welterweight, Welterweight, and Light middleweight.  He has won ten world titles in the four different weight classes. EPSY has awarded Mayweather Best Fighter ESPY Award in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Mayweather is a two-time Ring magazine Fighter of the Year (winning the award in 1998 and 2007); he also won the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) Fighter of the Year award in 2007.  Nicknames: Pretty Boy

Money,TBE (The Best Ever).  Height 5 ft. 8 in.  Reach 72 inches.  47 wins – no losses.  Olympic Games in Atlanta (1996) received a Bronze Medal as a featherweight.   Information from From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  

Monday

Baseball painting Andre Ethier MLB outfielder for Los Angeles Dodgers art

 The baseball painting is of Los Angeles Dodger outfielder, Andre Ethier sliding into home plate as the catcher tries to protect the plate and tag Either out.   32” x 39”  ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old Sporting News, magazines, books, etc) about the MLB and image of LA Dodgers.  Newsprint attached to 1” stretched canvas.  To view paintings for sale please visit: John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale.

Andre Ethier is a MLB left-handed outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He’s a he’s a 2-time All-Star with a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove in his history.   Andre does have an interesting ritual before every game—ever since he was in the minors—he eats a peanut butter and honey sandwich on wheat bread and two spoonfuls of tuna.  One of the interesting things Ethier has said about himself is, “I wasn't an all-American, and I wasn't drafted until the second round. I wasn't that guy everybody said to watch out for the next couple of years because I was going to make a big impact. I guess that lights a little fire under you and makes you want to show what you can do.”

Ethier has played his whole major league baseball with the LA Dodgers.  He did start in the Oakland farm system but he’s never did play in the Major League with Oakland and started with the Dodgers in 2006. 

There is something valuable in a player that has only played for one team. They seem more real, not a rent-a-player, moving from one team to another.  They care more about their own team.  In his eight years with the Dodgers he has seen the good, the bad and the ugly – the success in October and the failures that can start in the July’s - and the seasons with the injuries.  

Because he has been able to perform under pressure he was given the nickname “Captain Clutch”.  In one season he had six walk-off hits which included four walk-off home runs that tied the Major League record for most in a season.  When asked about it in a Sporting News interview he said, “It’s one of those funny things. People understand that I’m pretty intense when I go up there, pretty focused and locked in; I can have that tight, whiteknuckled- grip look to me. I wasn’t that good in those situations early in my career; I was awful in those big, game-changing at-bats. I think I established that you can learn to become good at that but it takes a certain easiness and calmness to do it. There’s nothing better than having a feeling going up there: I want to be in that situation; I can’t wait to get that at-bat. Then you hit the ball and you look as you run around the bases—you just ended a game like that with one swing. It’s a great feeling. You’ve got to want to be in that situation because a lot of times you’re going to fail. But it’s what you look for. If anything, I’ve shown that I’m able to handle that situation and come through.”  A couple of his accomplishments:  He broke the Dodger record for most consecutive at-bats with a hit. He’s the only Dodger to have more than 30 doubles in six consecutive seasons.

As Don Mattingly, manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers said, “It’s like you’d rather have Andre up with the game on the line in the ninth…”   Mattingly continued, “That’s kind of the thinking there. You save for the biggest at-bat in the ninth.”  This gives the Los Angeles Dodger fans those great “Captain Clutch” late-inning heroics. 

There has been some question about Ethier batting against left-handers.  In a GQ article Andre addressed a the question asked by Nathaniel Penn :  “Against right-handed pitchers, your numbers are spectacular. Against left-handed pitchers, you've struggled throughout your career. This spring your manager, Don Mattingly, had to defend you and affirm that he's not going to platoon you this season—i.e., bench you when the Dodgers are facing a left-handed starting pitcher. At this point in your career, how do you go about improving your ability to hit lefties?

[This area] is one where I think more than anything this spring we—I mean me and [Dodgers hitting coach] Mark McGwire—have been working really hard. Nothing mechanical, just more the mental side: visualizing and making ourselves better and really figuring out a way to just be confident in all situations.

Sometimes as a baseball player or just an athlete in general you stick to the things you do well and you keep practicing those things. Those areas where you have issues you try to fix 'em but at the same time you try to limit your exposure to those. But in baseball you gotta go up there and face everyone in every situation. I think it's a thing where now lefties are coming out of the bullpen earlier in the game to face left-handed hitters. There's maybe two lefties in the bullpen that are there every day just to try to get you out when those big at-bats are coming. You gotta learn those guys; it's just how the game's really been evolving.”
  
Although he is not having his best offensive season he does have a good perspective on his play.  Andre said, “I just want to take advantage of every day that I'm in the lineup.”

Thursday

Football painting Steve Young Quarterback San Francisco 49ers art

Steve Young 22” x 28” ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old Sporting News, magazines, books, etc) about the NFL and San Francisco 49ers.  Image of the 49ers’s great left-handed quarterback Steve Young..  Newsprint attached to ¾” stretched canvas.  To view paintings for sale please visit: John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale

Left-handed quarterback Steve Young 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.

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. –

 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.

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.

Funny story Steve Young told at his induction speech to theFootball 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.” 

Tuesday

Venice Family Clinic Surf and Skate auction donation


The skateboard deck has an old gas mask and an old Venice hat attached to the surface.

This was my donation to the Venice Surf and Skate auction (Photos of the event at https://plus.google.com/photos/107411629987584991934/albums/6054543005757560881 ) which was held a couple of weeks ago at Bergamot Station Art Complex to raise funds to support the Venice Family Clinic http://www.venicefamilyclinic.org/#1  Venice Family Clinic serves 24,400 men, women, children, teens, and seniors annually. Ninety-seven percent are low-income and nearly three-quarters are uninsured. Most live on the Westside of Los Angeles County.

Venice Family Clinic provides more than 106,000 primary care, specialty care, mental health, dental, and health education visits annually. Services include diagnosis, treatment, medications, follow-up care, and laboratory tests. Particular emphasis is placed on the needs of women, children, the homeless, and those with chronic diseases. Click here for more information about programs and services.

The 4th Annual Surf & Skate Silent art auction was a great success! Couldn’t make it? You still have the chance to purchase a one-of-a-kind skate deck or surfboard here http://www.vfcshop.com/collections/surf-skate

. Check out pictures from the summer celebration here. http://www.vfcshop.com/collections/surf-skate  

Sunday

Football Painting Payton Manning Quarterback Denver Broncos Art

 “Payton Manning  24” x 30” ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old Sporting News, magazines, books, etc) about the NFL/AFC West.  Image is Denver Broncos Payton Manning.  Newsprint attached to 1 ½”  stretched canvas.  To view paintings for sale please visit: John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale.
  1. As five-time league MVP, Payton Manning played quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts for 14 seasons from 1998 to 2011.  He now plays for the Denver Broncos 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.  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 they couldn't have babies in the offseason. 

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."

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."

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..."

Thursday

Soccer Painting Striker European Football Player World Cup

Soccer Player  Striker “Swift Action” 14” x 20” ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old Sporting News, magazines, books, etc) about soccer (football)..  Newsprint attached to stretched canvas. To view paintings for sale please visit:
John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale.

I did not want to be a footballer when I was a child, and with good reason - I  was born to early for the game in the United States.  As a boy nobody played it.  That was in the late forties.  Yes 1948.  Football was the LA Rams playing in the LA Coliseum.   Not World Cup Soccer.  There was little chance to flourish in soccer, as a sport at that time.

But that changed when my daughters were in grade school – and they started to play soccer.  On weekends their school had parent, teacher, student soccer games.  Everyone played and it was a madhouse.  But fun.  From that experience I found an interest in soccer.  I started following it a little bit and found more games to play in. 

One thing I do the night before I played as game was to sleep with a soccer ball in the bed beside me.  My wife did not find that amusing.  She was very jealous of my football because, well, because she knew the next day I would be gone, sometimes with the girls.  And when I returned in the evening I was worn out from the experience.  But still, the night before the game I look at the football, bounce it around with my feet, even talk to it. This might seem brainless, but it gives me confidence. I talk to the football, I tell it to do it’s job properly by flying in the net for me.  Actually I was mainly concerned about tripping over the football or kicking it into the opponent’s net.

What I eventually figured out was that with the growth of soccer competition in the United Stated and, in particular, World Cup Football, many of us had been glued to the TV cheering our country on. And no matter what country you are rooting for, soccer is a sport that brings the whole world together. In keeping with the spirit of the World Cup, I decided to paint a few soccer inspired images from various photos from around the world.   I am just getting started but look forward to the challenge.  It is the start of something interesting for me and maybe the way soccer is going in the United States a greater interest in the sport.   And what is the most interesting position of a player to paint?   A striker.  

Tuesday

Football painting Gail Sayers running back Chicago Bears

“Gail Sayers”  10” x 14” ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old newsprint,) Gail Sayers considered one of the great players with the Chicago Bears.  Newsprint attached to stretched canvas.  To view paintings for sale please visit:
John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale.

Gail Sayers said, “"give me 18 inches of daylight that's all I  need", which meant that all the offensive line had to do was to open up a small hole in the defensive line for him of 18 inches and he could squeeze and zig-zag through for some good yardage.  Mike Ditka, who played for Chicago and later coached the Chicago Bears for 11 years and New Orleans Saints for three years said of Sayers, “if you’re talking about making people miss and cutting back, nobody was ever better than him.”  Dick Butkus, the great linebacker who played with Sayers (and one of my all time favorite players) said of Sayers “He had a great ability to come at you and then…he’s gone.  He was something to play with.  I’m just glad he was on our team.”

Gail also known as "The Kansas Comet" was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for seven seasons during the 1960s and early 1970s. He played college football for the University of Kansas, and was twice recognized as an All-American. He was a first-round pick in the 1965 NFL Draft, and played his entire pro career for the NFL's Chicago Bears.  Selected to the Pro Bowl four times (1965, 1966, 1967 and 1969) and five times in consecutive All-Pro (1965, 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969), he is part of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame since 1977. His number 40 was retired by the franchise of the Chicago Bears. It is also part of the NFL team of the 1960s and the team's 75th anniversary of the NFL. His friendship with fellow Chicago Bear Brian Piccolo was the basis for the 1971 movie Brian's Song. During his seventh season in Chicago, Sayers suffered a career-ending knee injury. He retired from the sport in 1972

George Halas,was the iconic founder and owner of the National Football League's Chicago Bears.  Halas didn`t believe in starting rookies, but with Gail he felt a little different and Sayers delivered.  In his first heavy pre-season action, he raced 77 yards on a punt return, 93 yards on a kickoff return, and then startled everyone with a 25-yard scoring pass against the Los Angeles Rams. –Sayers' records include most touchdowns in a rookie season,  (22 in 1965).  Also in Sayers record book he had the most touchdowns in a game (6, tied with Nevers and Jones), highest career kickoff return average (30.56), and most return touchdowns in a game. 

Gail Sayers said, “There's no way I would have made the Hall of Fame or set any of the records I did by myself. No matter how many yards I gained, whether it was three or 300, someone had to be there to make the block.

Here is a portion of Gail SayersHall of Fame speech, July 30, 1977, that I like best, “God gave me a great gift and I had a lot of help developing for this occasion. Reaching this point, however, is not as important as striving to get here. This is true in all professions and all of life's activities. There are doctors, lawyers, schoolteachers, plumbers all who strive to do their very best with their abilities. We hear a lot today about how the American people have lost their dedication to excellence. I don't believe that is true. Each  of us excels at different things, sometimes in areas that are only a hobby, more often in our life vocation. The most important thing, however, is to strive to do our very best. Nothing is more of a waste than unrealized potential. Sometimes failure to use one's talents to the fullest is often the fault of the individual. Nothing could be more tragic. I am sure many of you have been to a Special Olympics and if you have, I am sure you have felt the same exhilaration I have felt in watching young people with disabilities strive as hard as they can in various events. The sense of satisfaction they get from striving is to them much more important than where they finish in the competition. As Robert Rawlings said, 'A man's reach should exceed his grasp'. It is describing to reach a goal that is important and if you should reach that goal, set new goals and strive for them.” 

A Friend In Deed.  While at his first training camp, Sayers met fellow running back Brian Piccolo. The two became close friends and were the first racially mixed roommates in the history of the Bears. After cancer brought Piccolo’s life to an untimely end, Sayers’ book documenting their friendship became the basis for the TV movie "Brian's Song" starring James Caan and Billy Dee Williams. The film won the 1972 Golden Globe Award as the Best Film Made for Television and spawned a cult following that has persisted for almost three decades, and even resulted in a remake by Disney and ABC-TV in 2001.

After all is said and done about Gail Sayers, this is my favorite quote of his, ""Football is a very short-term proposition. Football really prepares you for nothing. The only thing I got out of football was the ability to work hard, and that's it."

Friday

Football Painting Dick Butkus Linebacker Chicago Bears

 “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.  To view paintings for sale please visit:
John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale.

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)

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.


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’sHall 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.”

Wednesday

Baseball painting Honus Wagner Pittsburgh Pirates Shortstop "The Flying Dutchman"

Painting of MLB Baseball player Honus Wagner Shortstop Pittsburgh Pirates is approximately 54” by 68” acrylic on unstretched canvas. To view paintings for sale please visit:
John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale.

The Pittsburgh Pirates' Honus Wagner, a dead-ball era baseball player who is widely considered to be one of the best players of all time. One of the Hall of Fame's five original inductees in 1936, Honus Wagner combined rare offensive and defensive excellence throughout a 21-year career from 1897 to 1917.

One of my favorite stories about Honus Wagner was told by Burleigh Grimes in The Quotable Baseball Fanatic (2004)  "One day he was batting against a young pitcher who had just come into the league. The catcher was a kid, too. A rookie battery. The pitcher threw Honus a curveball, and he swung at it and missed and fell down on one knee. Looked helpless as a robin. I was kind of surprised, but the guy sitting next to me on the bench poked me in the ribs and said, 'Watch this next one.' Those kids figured they had the old man's weaknesses, you see, and served him up the same dish-as he knew they would. Well, Honus hit a line drive so hard the fence in left field went back and forth for five minutes."

Honus played shortstop and won eight batting titles, tied for the most in National League history,  led the league in slugging six times.  He said, “I don't make speeches. I let my bat speak for me in the summertime.” He led in stolen bases five times. Wagner was nicknamed "The Flying Dutchman" because he could run the bases so fast – and that he was German.

Most people know that the Honus Wagner baseball card is one of the most valuable sports card around. The reason it is so valuable is because it was recalled in 1909 and all were destroyed except for a few that got into circulation. At the time, the cards were distributed along with tobacco.   Wagner didn’t smoke and he didn’t like to being included in the tobacco promotion because he did not want to set a bad example for children.
.
Honus Wagner’s Hall of Fame Induction Speech June 12, 1939.  Cooperstown, NY.    “Ladies and gentlemen, I was born 1874, and this organization was started was 1876. When I was just a kid I said, “ I hope some day I’ll be up there playing in this league.” And by chance I did. Now Connie Mack the gentleman that preceeded me here at the mike, I remember walking fourteen miles just to see him play ball for Pittsburgh. (crowd laughs) Walking and running, or hitchhiking a ride on a buggy, them days we had no automobile. I certainly am pleased to be here in Cooperstown today, and this is just a wonderful little city, or town, or village or whaever we’d call it. It puts me in mind of Sleepy Hollow. (crowd laughs) However I want to thank you for being able to come here today.”


Monday

Football painting, Deon Sanders Star Cornerback Dallas Cowboys San Francisco 49ers

Deon Sanders painting  12" x 16" ink and acrylic.  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.  To view paintings for sale please visit:
John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale.

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."

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." 

Friday

Baseball painting Babe Ruth New York Yankees King of Swat

Here is Babe Ruth's "The King of Swat" Hall of Fame speech of June 12, 1939

“Thank you ladies and gentlemen. I hope some day that some of the young fellows coming into the game will know how it feels to be picked in the Hall of Fame. I know the old boys back in there were just talking it over, some have been here long before my time. They got on it, I worked hard, and I got on it. And I hope that the coming generation, the young boys today, that they’ll work hard and also be on it.

And as my old friend Cy Young says, “I hope it goes another hundred years and the next hundred years will be the greatest. You know to me this is just like an anniversary myself, because twenty-five years ago yesterday I pitched my first baseball game in Boston, for the Boston Red Sox. (applause)

So it seems like an anniversary for me too, and I’m surely glad and it’s a pleasure for me to come up here and be picked also in the Hall of Fame. Thank you.”

“The Babe “  Babe Ruth painting.  12” x 16” canvas on board.  Ink and acrylic.  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.  The painting will fit into a standard 12” x 16” frame.  To view paintings for sale please visit: John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale.

I think Babe Ruth was one of the first of the truly national baseball celebrities who was a great crowd pleaser.  Branch Rickey (ex-Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers) said of Babe,  “He has created an expectation of hero worship on the part of the youth of this country, and it was a most fortunate thing that Ruth kept faith with the boyhood of America because they loved him.”  I am sure there are comparisons to some of the current baseball players - but so many of today's athletes seem to have a team of publicists promoting them.  And they may not have anywhere near the character "The Babe" had.  He said, "The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime." 

Wednesday

Baseball Painting of Boston Red Sox Pitcher Curt Schilling Portrait


The painting of Curt Schilling is 50” x 70” acrylic on unstretched canvas.  To view paintings for sale please visit:  John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale.


The great pitcher Curtis Montague Schilling who finished his Major League Baseball career at the Boston Red Sox was aright-handed pitcher who helped lead the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series in 1993 and won World Series championships in 2001 with the Arizona Diamondbacks and in 2004 and 2007 with the Boston Red Sox. Schilling retired with a career postseason record of 11–2. His .846 postseason winning percentage is a major-league record among pitchers with at least 10 decisions.

In the current news Curt that announced he had been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma -- cancer in the mouth. Schilling blames his use of chewing tobacco as a player.

According to Steve Silva of the Boston Globe, Curt Schilling said, "I did (chewing tobacco) for about 30 years. It was an addictive habit. I can think of so many times in my life when it was so relaxing to just sit back and have a dip and do whatever, and I lost my sense of smell, my taste buds for the most part. I had gum issues, they bled, all this other stuff. None of it was enough to ever make me quit. The pain that I was in going through this treatment, the second or third day it was the only thing in my life that had that I wish I could go back and never have dipped. Not once. It was so painful."


The painting of Curt Schilling is 50” x 70” acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Friday

Football Painting Joe Montana "Too Tall" Jones famous "The Catch" play of the SF 49ers

This 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.  

Wednesday

San Francisco 49ers Levi's Stadium Painting of Football Players


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 and 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.

“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.”