Jump Shot Basketball Art Painting artist John Robertson

Jump Shot NBA Golden State Warriors

Now, that is certainly not the problem I ever had when I played in pickup games at the gym.  I was not like one of those players on the Warriors that could meet the challenge at either end of the court.  I couldn’t even meet them half way.

The Basketball Jump Shot

ake for example my jump shot. As you can see from my sports art 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 – dribbling the milk out of my mouth.

This basketball art  painting of the jump shot made me think of the

Golden State Warriors

in the NBA Western Conference finals and there struggle a couple of times over the season and in the playoffs.  Even though a player might feel great and “in the groove” it can be very frustrating when your shots are not sinking through the net – or you become the bull’s eye for every other player on the other team because you are a great player like Curry. 

So, what are the Golden State Warriors suppose to do?

Back to basics to find a way to get him back in a groove - into different shifts and rotations and working them flawlessly and forgetting the physical discomfort.

Now, how is that for a bunch of platitudes with no real constructive thoughts?

I listen to the sports commentators and that is about all the obvious comments I ever hear.

"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. (But there are a few available. What I suggest is that you click on the

Sports ArtFor Sale

or the

Sports Prints For Sale

to see if there is something you like.  If not, please feel free to contact me for your specific need and I can easily paint something for you. Just click on the contact page for information.

Baseball Image Sandy Kofax LA Dodgers Pitcher Sports Art Venice Art Walk

Sandy Koufax Art

In support the Venice Family Clinic I have donated one of my sports paintings of the great Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, Sandy Koufax.  The painting is mixed media, ink and acrylic on wood panel,   30 inches by 20

inches.   It will be auctioned at the Venice Art Walk and Silent Auction, taking place on May 20th at Google Headquarters in Venice, Ca..  Google Building, 340 Main St, Venice,  Ca. Noon to 6 pm.  For more information about the Venice Art Walk click here.

Venice Artwalk





Come and participate in the Venice Art Walk.  Raising more than $800,000 in donations, Venice Family Clinic’s Art Walk & Auctions is our biggest art fundraiser in the Los Angeles area.  The auction will have a 350-piece art auction donated by leading contemporary artists.  There will be live entertainment, a beer garden, and an impressive lineup of gourmet food trucks and local vendors.

 About the Venice Family Clinic.  

  Launched in 1970 by volunteer physicians Philip Rossman, MD, founder, and Mayer B. Davidson, MD, co-founder, Venice Family Clinic first operated in space borrowed from a small, store-front dental office after normal business hours. There was—and remains—a tremendous unmet need for affordable health care for those who live in poverty.  Venice Family Clinic provides more than 114,633 primary care, specialty care, mental health, dental, and health education visits annually.  For more information about the clinic click here

This is an opportunity to get one of my sports paintings at a reasonable price.  If you want you can bid early on Paddle8 (click here) now to May 18th.  As you may know I have created sports art for a variety of sports teams and stadiums, including Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Bucks, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and many more.

Kobe Bryant LA Laker Basketball Image Art

Kobe Bryant and Inspiration


kobe Bryant art, sport art, sports art, basketball art, art basketball, basketball images This is a basketball image of Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest basketball players of all times who played his whole basketball career with the LA Lakers.  He has been a great inspiration to me even though he is quite a bit younger than I am.  How has Kobe inspired me?  I remember a quote he said a few years ago when it was difficult for him to be playing.  He said,” I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I'm like, 'My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don't have it. I just want to chill.' We all have self-doubt. You don't deny it, but you also don't capitulate to it. You embrace it.”

As I am getting older and there are days I just do not want to go into the studio, I think of how much harder it was for him to face the challenge of his daily playing.  Me?  All I have to do is go into the studio and slap some paint on some canvas.  It’s not like I have to go down into a coal mine and dig out the rock with a hand pick.  Kobe gives me some perspective on my life.  

No, I do Not Want to be Michael Jordan 

Another thing Kobe said that is very insightful - and in particular, to painting.  He said, “I don't want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant.”  How does that relate to painting?  Well, one of the mistakes most artists make is that they want to paint like someone else.  They create similar work to others so it is the same thing.  What makes interesting art if for the artist to be different than others.  Be unique.  Don’t copy what others are doing but create your  own work that is unique to you. We already had a Picasso or Van Gogh.  And in Kobe’s case, there was already a Michael Jordan.  It was great to have a Kobe Bryant or a LeBron James.  And now we have a Stephen Curry.  It is much more exciting to have a variety of different kinds of talent.  So we do not want another Kobe Bryant (although we miss you) or a Michael Jordan because we now have a Stephen Curry.

Do I want to be the new LeRoy Neiman of sports art?  No  I want to be the best John Robertson.  I may not being the best sports artist or create great sports art but I will paint paintings and not LeRoy Neiman paintings.

This LA Lakers basketball image of Kobe Bryant is 13" x 19" acrylic on paper.

Baseball Players on Steroids


Baseball and Steroids, Runs, Hits and Lots of Errors


The first thing a new season’s manager needs to tell the players is the difference between human growth hormones (HGH), bovine growth hormone (bGH) and no hormones – and it has nothing to do with utters. He needs to tell the players some side
effects of steroids are reversible but other effects are never changed in the minds of the public.

By taking steroids and bGH a player can inflate his statistics and his body.  I don’t mean to pick on Mark McGwire but to use him as an example In 1996 McGwire hit 50 home runs with 390 official times at bat – every 7.8 times he was at the plate. Babe Ruth did that eating candy bars and "light drink." When listening to McGwire’s infamous performance before House Government Reform Committee in March 2005 there were short pauses while viewers smothered their faces with laughter. McGwire didn’t hit 135 home runs in two years eating bonbons.

Originally the baseball was made so you couldn’t hit it easily, high, or far, so 60 home runs a season hitters are usually pituitary freaks. But we want our players to be made by nature not in the lab. Remember when baseball players were small? (For example: PeeWee Reese). Joe DIMaggio was only 6 feet 2 inches and weighed 193 pounds. Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? There is a generation out there that thinks DiMaggio invented the coffee maker.

Like Joe DiMaggio, baseball players are symbols – of what things were what things are and what things will be. I guess we, as fans, get what we deserve. I just prefer not to see a some great ballplayer pumped up on steroids riding in a convertible waving to a frenzied crowd.

Venice Beach, CA Street Basketball Players

Thoughts on a College Basketball Sports Painting

What kind of interests me, as an artist is what happens to all the college basketball players after their final seasons.   I thought of this as I finished watching the Michigan and Villanova win in their NCAA “final-four” games and their move on to the Championship game.  This is when these two teams are at their peak -  Why? - Because Michigan was the team with hot games at the end of the season and Villanova being the best team at the end of the season.  What happens to the all the players who did not achieve the ultimate college basketball goal?

Venice Beach Basketball Players 

This black and white sports art painting of a couple of Venice Beach, Ca. players ended up in the Amway Sports Arena in Orlando Florida where the NBA Orlando Magic play their home games.  The painting is 5 feet by 6 feet, acrylic on canvas.
These years spent playing will probably be the highlight of their lives – they certainly have achieved more in a shorter time then I will ever have over my entire lifetime.  But where do all those players go?   The reason I say this is that that the basketball painting you see here on this page is of basketball players that play on the Venice Beach, Ca. street basketball courts.  Most of the players on the main court are ex, really good high school and college players.  Occasionally some ex-pros show up on the courts for a pick up a game.  These are the courts where the movie “White Men Can’t Jump” was filmed.   Think of all those great college players that did not go on to play in the pros.  Where are they and what do they do?  What do they think about the past – and the future. 

Why Paint Sports Art Figures

 Me,  I don’t have much of a past and I certainly don’t have much of a future.  I don’t have “ past glory’s – just a mundane life – or as the joke goes, “living a life of quiet desperation.”   So, all in all, that is probably why I have ended up painting sports figures as I can live vicariously through the paintings, like a rabid sports fan that roots for his favorite player or team.  It’s an enjoyable pastime of beauty and inspiration. 


This black and white sports art painting of a couple of Venice Beach, Ca. players ended up in the Amway Sports Arena in Orlando Florida where the NBA Orlando Magic play their home games.  The painting is 5 feet by 6 feet, acrylic on canvas.



LA Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax Baseball Art Painting


LA Dodgers Pitcher

 Wouldn’t it be nice to have some 100 mph fastballs.  Let’s have a cannon up there firing  away.  LA Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax was like having a clipper ship with guns mounted on the side blazing cannonballs at the opposing ships.  When Koufax threw a fastball it lit up the crowd in the stadium.  It was like Pirates of the Caribbean setting a ship on fire.  All hands cheer.

 Sandy Koufax

 Sandy Koufax is considered one of the greatest pitchers ever to play the game.  His nickname was "The Left Arm of God"  or “Cannonball Koufax.”  He played his entire career with the Brooklyn/LA Dodgers retiring in 1966 because of arthritis in his left elbow at age 30.  As it has been said, “the barrel of his cannon got too hot.”    Sandy was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 1972 - the youngest ever inducted at the time at 36 years old.

Here is my version of a story about Koufax that I found on Wired "Cruel Curveball Science; Nasty Koufax" BY DAVID DOBBS

 Sandy Koufax verses Mickey Mantle

 Koufax had to face Mickey Mantel of the New York Yankees in the first game of the 1963 World Series, Dodgers verses Yankees — Koufax faces Mantle three times.  Mantles first at-bat Koufax strikes out Mantle firing off the the cannons – ripping him apart with his fastballs.

Second time at bat Mantle has two strikes against him.  The card on Mantle is,…do not throw him a curve ball.  Don’t.   Do not do it.  It’s like throwing gold coins at Captain Jack.  He’s going to get ‘em. No curveball.  The catcher signs Koufax for the fastball.  Koufax shakes him off.  The catcher pulls out his Navy semaphores and starts madly waving signals, again for the fastball.  Twice he signals him.  Sandy shakes them off.  Catcher figures it out and flags for the curveball.  Okay, he gets it.  Sandy wants to throw the no-no pitch to Mantle.  Sandy is going to hook him.

What was Koufax’s curveball like?  Some consider his hooker the best curveball ever thrown. It came in high at the chin and tacked across home plate from top to bottom like a ship running the trade winds into the Antarctic. The pitch dropped like an anchor to Mantle’s knees.  Mantle just stares at it.  Doesn’t even blink.  All he feels is the wind. 

Umpire:  “Strike three.”

Mantle glares around at the umpire.  “How the fuck is anybody supposed to hit that shit?” And walks back to the dugout."  (quote attributed to David Dobbs)

 About the Sandy Koufax Painting

 The baseball art of Sandy Koufax painting by sports artist John Robertson is painted with acrylic inks on drafting film.  The overall size is 11" x 14"

To follow my sports art work like my instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/anartistlife/

New York Yankees Joe DiMaggio Baseball Player Art

About Joe DiMaggio

 I image almost every baseball fan is familiar with the name Joe DiMaggio.  He is considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time playing for at the time one of the greatest baseball teams, the New York Yankees.  There is nothing much I can add to all of his stats.  I have also painted DiMaggio a number of times but thought it would be fun to try and do a simple, small drawing of him.  This ink drawing of Joe DiMaggio by sports artist John Robertson  is 11 inches by 14 inches on
watercolor paper.  Actually the paper is a little bit bigger by one in high to 15 inches.  The watercolor paper I drew Joe on is in a spiral watercolor paper binder so when it is torn out it can be trimmed down to the standard frame size of a 11” x 14” size.

 Interesting Info about Joe DiMaggio

 It seems the only way one generation (who have not followed baseball) of people know Joe DiMaggio is that he was a spokesman for the brand Mr. Coffee.  The older baseball crowd knows him by his nickname “Joltin’ Joe” or “The Yankee Clipper.” He was called by his many fans “Joltin’ Joe“because he was such a strong, hard hitter.  And others called him “The Yankee Clipper” because he sailed so gracefully through the outfield when making a catch in the wide center field of Yankee stadium.   And one of the big reasons people knew him was that he was one time married to Marilyn Monroe.  He was immortalized in the Paul Simon song, ‘Mrs. Robinson” with the line, “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio /  Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you” -  meaning where has our heroes gone, where has the innocence of our youth gone and where are the days of the past as times have changes dramatically (this song was written in the sixties) and they are not coming back.  That’s a bit sobering.

Joe DiMaggio retired from baseball just as I was getting interested in the game.  1951.  I was young and listened to the Yankees games on the radio – the LA Dodgers were still in Brooklyn and did not come to L A for another six years.  So I was a Yankees fan and saw DiMaggio as a hero.  Heroes diminish and I lost some of my interest in baseball until the Dodgers showed up in LA. 

 Final Thoughts about Joe DiMaggio

 He was always being quoted and there are plenty around to draw from but I think the most interesting one must have been from when DiMaggio spoke about his days of his own innocence when he first started playing baseball.  He said, "I can remember a reporter asking me for a quote, and I didn't know what a quote was. I thought it was some kind of soft drink."

America's Game of Basebal - Art

Why Baseball is The Game 

 As the great player and Hall of Fame manager, Earl Weaver said, “You can't sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You've got to throw the ball over the damn plate and five the other man his chance. That's why baseball is the greatest game of them all. “

 America’s Game

 The Game” Baseball.  America’s great pastime.  The game most boys and some girls have played at some time in their lives.  It’s called America’s game because it was one of the first sports played seriously in the United State starting 1845.  I played in Little League and then in the Pony League.  After that, not much.  High school grades (bad ones) prevented me from playing in high school and there was no college in my future.

As long as I could play the game of baseball I felt I was still a kid, I forgot everything when I was playing.  The assaults of the world started on me early.  A bad day of playing the game was always better than any other day I had.  I didn’t have to worry about school, or my parents or friends.  All I thought about was hitting the ball and at other times catching the ball with waiting in-between.  And the waiting never bothered me.  I was lost in the dream of playing.  Even when there was no organized game to play, we played out in the streets, home plate a hub cap off a car and bases were curbs and lines in the street.  We’d play until dark and only quit because we could not see the baseball anymore.  And only occasionally did one of us get hit by a car – usually a light tap.

Walt Whitman on America's Pastime

 One of the great American poets, Walt Whitman lived at the time of the founding of baseball  1819 - 1892. He saw the beginning and the development of the game.  Horace L. Traubel who wrote about Whitman in ,Walt Whitman in Camden,” vol. 2 (stated by Whitman in September 1888): “Whitman spoke more about in glowing terms: Baseball is the hurrah game of the republic! That's beautiful: the hurrah game! well—it's our game: that's the chief fact in connection with it: America's game: has the snap, go, fling, of the American atmosphere—belongs as much to our institutions, fits into them as significantly, as our constitutions, laws: is just as important in the sum total of our historic life.

Sports Painting. About the Baseball Art

 “The Game” painting by sports artist John Robertson is an image of the batter, catcher and umpire that is almost life-size.  The size of the art piece is 6 feet by 10 feet, ink and acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Baseball Art LA Dodgers Catcher Painting


LA Dodgers Catcher 

Painting of LA Dodgers catcher.  The LA Dodgers have two good catchers with each doing a yeoman job with the pitching teammates.  This painting could be of either  Yasmani Grandal  or Austin Barnes as I used a generic catcher for reference to the painting.  As a Los Angeles Dodgers both are having a good season.  Yasmani Grandal:  led all every-day catchers in the majors with 27 homers last season and at the time of this posting his batting average is batting 316.  Austin Barnes: batting 265 right now is a player the  Dodgers were willing to part with veteran Carlos Ruiz, in part, because of their confidence in Barnes.  

About Catchers

 These two catchers have had some good highlights and being on a winning team that have a good shot at the World Series this year..  I am not sure if these catchers do what so many others do, learning in the minor leagues to watch every game on replay.  A catcher wants to do is look at the sequences, go through the at-bats, and consider what other things they could have done - maybe differently.  It was a way of re-thinking the games and that may give them insights for future games.  And this makes any pitcher respect his catcher, knowing that his catcher has done all the homework possible to make the right pitching calls. 

Baseball Art 


The catcher baseball painting by Sports Artist John Robertson is 48 inches by 48 inches, ink and acrylic on old baseball newsprint attached to canvas.  

Acme Packers Sports Painting Green Bay Packers Art

About the Acme Packers Art

 The painting of an Acme Packer (later to become the Green Bay Packers) was created by sports artist John Robertson for the remodel of the suites area of Lambeau Field, the football stadium for the Green Bay Packers.  The new remodel of the suites and club level using art was installed in Green Bay.  The rest of my artwork (eight pieces) is displayed on the suite and club levels of Lambeau Field, which means it is not available to other fans on a regular basis.
July, 2017.   The painting is approximately 4 feet by 7 feet, acrylic on stretched canvas.  Although the Acme Packers never played a game in the snow it seemed appropriate to the player in the snow because of the well known winters of

 About the Acme Packer football team

 The Acme Packers was one of the Packers name before they became the Green Bay Packers.  In 1919 and 1920 there was a packing company where Curly Lambeau was working named Indian Packing. Curly was a player and coach and first coach of the, soon to become, Green Bay Packers professional football team.   The Indian Packing company was bought out by a Chicago packing company called Acme Packing and the two companies became one.  The Indian Packers had the football team and Acme changed the name to the Acme Packers.  As the team was not actually owned by Acme Packing but by a couple of the executives of the packing company.  Through a variety of financial changes the team was eventually (in a couple of years) named the Green Bay Packers and became part of the NFL.  Curly Lambeau was the head coach of the Packers from 1920 to 1949.

Original sports paintings are available from my studio or on commission.


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

Baseball Art: Joe DiMaggio Painting Portrait

Baseball painting portrait of Joe DiMaggio  is 50" x 70" acrylic on unstretched canvas by sports artist John Robertson

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.

Kevin Costner about Joe DiMaggio

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.)

For me this is where Joe DiMaggio went

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

Quotes about Joe DiMaggio

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

Green Bay Packers Jim Taylor running back Sports football art

Green Bay Packers Commission

 I have had the privilege to paint art for another NFL football stadium, Lambeau Field, the stadium for the Green Bay Packers, one of the oldest franchises in the NFL. Eight of my paintings in their permanent art collection adorn different sections of the suites and club levels of Lambeau Field inGreen Bay Wisconsin.  I have also have works or art in the permanent collection of the NFL’s Levi Stadium, home of the San Francisco Forty Niners and the US Bank stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings, among other arena’s and ballparks.  (see bio.)

 About the Green Bay Packers Art

 I feel it is a great honor to be able to create work that celebrates the culture and history of Lambeau Field, one of the great stadiums to watch a football game in.  Using canvas, acrylic and other materials such as maps and old newsprint with the images I painted specific players along with a series of old football posters.   I was given great freedom to paint what I wanted.  As my favorite era of the Green Bay Packers was the sixties I created half of the paintings from that period. 

Why I am a fan of Green Bay Packers 

The reason I am such a fan of the Packers is that during the sixties I had a good friend whose family was from Green Bay, Wisconsin.  We spent a couple of weeks in Green Bay, and went to their practice field every day.  What was so great about those days was that one could sit on the practice field, on the bench, with the players and actually talk with them.  Can you imagine sitting next to your football idols?  My favorite of all times was Ray Nitschke the absolutely best linebacker off all time. Yup. Sat next to him and talked.  Fuzzy Thurston, the great lineman, Jim Taylor, Paul W. Horning, (the golden boy) Jerry Kramer, etc. 


Original paintings are featured in several areas on Lambeau Field's Associated Bank Club Level. It includes rarely seen historical photographs provided by the Press-Gazette and art obtained from nineteen artists through the sports consulting firm, Sports & The Arts.

The sports art by sports artist John Robertson is of JimTaylor, running back is six feet by eight feet, acrylic on canvas.


Baseball art Painting of Catcher Ramon Hernandez


Ramon Hernandez Portraint painting 
by sports artist John Robertson
50" x 70" acrylic on unstretched canvas

A Catcher is a Backstop With a Good Arm

Catcher Ramon Hernandez MLB Teams

I painted Ramon Hernandez, an excellent catcher (and could play first base) because he was such a great workhorse for any team he played for – and he did play for a number of them.  Ramon with the Oakland Athletics (1999–2003), San Diego Padres (2004–2005), Baltimore Orioles (2006–2008), Cincinnati Reds (2009–2011), Colorado Rockies (2012) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2013.  He moved around a lot but was always a great contributor to whichever team he played for.  He has an interesting position to play.

 About Catchers 

Here’s a funny story about Joe Torre who, among a number of great achievements was a great catcher.  He was once asked why he became a catcher.  “When I was 16 years old, my brother Frank said, 'You'd better become a catcher, because you're too big and fat to do anything else.' Well, I took his advice. It was a quick way to get to the big leagues, and I've never regretted it.”  Now Hernandez never made the choice because he was six feet tall and weighed in at around one ninety.  That’s not big and fat.  Also he was a good hitter with a two-sixty-three hitting average over his long career. 

Ramon Hernandez, like most catchers was the defensive leader on the field. He called the pitches and positioned players on the field and had a pragmatic view of baseball. The great pitcher 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."


Ramon had psychological insights and had a list of behaviors for each player approaching the batting box. His eyes were 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.  That is what good catchers did.

Baseball Catch Down Third Base Line


"Baseball Catch Down Third Base Line"

 Sports paintings by artist John Robertson
48" x 84" (4 feet by 7 1/2 feet) acrylic on unstretched canvas


Catching a throw-out from a fielder is easy – but a baseball catch on a line drive down the third base line is hard. But it looks easy from the stands - and artistic with the baseball player’s body laid nearly parallel with the ground and across the infield. Most batters think that when they hit a line drive it is good for a base and sometimes two.  But a good third baseman will break the batter’s heart with a great catch.

A couple of interesting baseball rules about catching a ball.


Here is an interesting rule in baseball which has to do with catching a baseball.  Players can only catch the ball with their hand, or their mitt. You can’t use your hat or your shirt or anything that’s not your bare hand or the mitt. If the ball is caught, or even touched intentionally, by a player with anything other than their bare hand or glove, on their hand, all runners, including the batter, get to advance a base.   Now I did see once a play where the infielder was catching a high fly ball behind a base but in play.  The ball his glove and bounced out but he caught it between his forearm and bicep.  It was ruled a hit and the batter took first base.

Tied into the above rule is one of my favorites, An infield fly is when a ball stays in the infield that isn't a bunt or line drive.  When there are runners on first and second or first, second, and third and less than two outs the umpire can make the judgment that an infielder, catcher, or pitcher could catch it with ordinary effort (whatever that means) the batter is out, even if no one caught it, even if they did catch it and then dropped it. The ball is still in play so any base runners who began to advance can still continue and the normal rules apply to them.  Confusing but fair because if they let it drop there is a good possibility for a double play on the players who hold their base with anticipation of the ball being caught.  If it is dropped then they are stuck on the base and when advancing can be easily thrown out.   This is where the expression “Hung out to dry” is sometimes used when the player is hung out on the base line waiting for the bsll to be either csught or dropped.  As an aside the expression comes is  based on the practice of hanging an animal that has been killed in a tree so its meat can dry.  Nice metaphor for a base runner. 

Jackie Robinson Baseball Sports Art Painting


Jackie Robinson baseball sports art painting by artist John Robertson is 50" x 70" acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Jackie Robinson quote:

"Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he's losing; nobody wants you to quit when you're ahead". ~Jackie Robinson

Importance of Jackie Robinson


How good was Jackie Robinson as a major league player.  Well,  MLB has a special day every year when they celebrate his achievements – April 15 (of course that is tax day also but they chose that day because it was April 15, 1947 when he played his first game in the majors at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York. And why do  they celebrate him?  Because he was the first African American Major League Baseball (MLB) player of the modern era.  He broke down the racial segregation barrier which had, in the past, relegated African-Americans to the Negro leagues for six decades.

Other Accomplishments


 He won Rookie of the Year in 1947 with a batting average of .297, 175 hits, 12 home runs, and 48 runs batted in.  In ten seasons he played in six World Series and contributed to the Dodgers' 1955 World Championship. He was selected for six consecutive All-Star Games from 1949 to 1954, was the recipient of the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, and won the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949 – the first black player so honored. Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962 and he was the first African American inducted at the Cooperstown Hall of Fame and Museum In 1997, Major League Baseball retired his uniform number, 42, across all major league teams.

A few interesting facts


Robinson died of a heart attack on October 24, 1972 in Stamford, Connecticut, at age 53.  He played himself in The Jackie Robinson Story, a biopic about his life released in 1950. When April 15, 2004, became Jackie Robinson Day all uniformed players in Major League Baseball were required to wear number 42 on their jerseys to honor Robinson’s memory and legacy to the sport

Dakar: Marc Coma The Most Dangerous Race on Earth

Dakar Rally Painting

 I did this motorcycle painting of the great Dakar Rally rider Marc Coma for a friend of mine.  The photo I worked from is from the 2110 Dakar Rally and is 30" x 36" acrylic on unsatretched canvas.

 For those of you who don’t know, the Dakar is The Most Dangerous Race on Earth.  In Marc Coma’s Dakar race in 2015  he drew on his experience for his fifth victory.  This was in the overall rankings. “I’m happy and proud,” Coma said at the finish in Barradero, 90 miles north of Buenos Aires. “As usual, it was a grueling rally. We had to overcome a problem on the second day that slowed us down a bit in the rankings. From that point, we had to change strategy a little and push to recover that time. We knew the marathons would be key stages, and they were. This fifth win says a lot about all of us.”  Coma had achieved, 5 wins, and 6 world championships. Coma said on his Facebook page that he believed the time was right to retire. “I have to be honest with myself and with all the people who have been supported me along those years. To my sponsors and specially KTM, where I’ve always felt at home, thank you.”

About the Dakar

Started by French motorcylist Thierry Sabine, the first rally of 182 vehicles left Paris on Dec. 26, 1978 on a 6,000-mile journey to Dakar, Senegal. The race has been in South America since security concerns forced the cancellation of the 2008 rally.  Cars, trucks, quads and motorbikes in the off-road endurance race scramble over rugged terrain in three South American countries.

The Dakar insanity is a one-of-a-kind, approximately 9,000-kilometer rally loop-de-looping through South America and it is not your average ramble in the country. For 30 years in Africa and now in South America it has been considered the toughest motor vehicle race in the world. As proving grounds for the manufacturers, approximately 45 percent do not finish the race – which only proves you can roll them and fold them and light them on fire. Vehicle parts fly and sometimes, so do the drivers.

How dangerous is the race? One year a rider got lost on the route and three days later they brought him out in a bag. Argentine quad driver Marco Patronelli said, "You could be dying at the side of the road and they would pass by at top speed." Although the vehicles do have rear-view mirrors the drivers/riders do not look back.  There is not much financial rewards for the event with the winner receiving a few thousand euros. I guess that is better than a trophy, and a kiss from a Buenos Aires beach bunny but it barely pays for the physical therapy a driver/rider needs after finishing the race.  The sport takes speed, endurance and keeping your bottom-side down. There is no bunching behind the leader, no caution flags, and no parade lap.

The Dakar January 14, 2017

The 12-stage Dakar Rally traveled through Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina.   Sam Sunderland became Britain's first Dakar Rally winner on as his lead of over 30 minutes in the bike category never came under threat during the final stage.

Spitball Pitch Baseball sports art painting

Spitball pitch definition (thank you Wikipedia)

A spitball pitch is an illegal pitch in which the ball has been altered by the application of saliva, petroleum jelly, or some other foreign substance. The pitch causes the ball to move atypically due to the altered wind-resistance and weight on one side of the ball. Alternative names for the spitball are
spitter, mud ball, shine ball and emery ball, although technically, an emery ball is one where the ball has been abraded in much the same way that the original cut ball had been physically cut. The altering of the ball's state by the use of artificial substances such as sun block, dirt or degradation by fingernails or other hard substances is illegal tampering.

Spitball Questions

So, there is a question to be asked:  Anybody throwing spitball pitchesanymore?  Not many as there are so many cameras on the pitcher it is hard for the pitcher to disguise putting some sort of crap on the baseball. Another question to be asked:  How does a normal “spitballer” get the “spit” or the doctoring onto the ball.  Some players would put some sort of odd substance on their uniform or body between innings then wipe it onto the ball.  For example, some put petroleum jelly or sunscreen or hair cream on their head then wipe it onto the ball (Try doing this unseen by cameras and zoom lenses).  Umpires would come out and check the uniforms and body of players.  One player put Vaseline on his pants zipper knowing that the umpire was not going to check there. If the pitcher has a great friend on the infield the friend can always put some “spit” on the ball and throw it to the pitcher.  But that can be a bit messy when the pitcher catches the ball. 

Like any good thief a good spitball throwing pitcher hardly ever caught so we don’t know how often the pitch is thrown.  Most pitchers overestimate their ability to throw a spitball pitch and when questioned by the umpire stutter nervously, and breathe irregularly.  They start looking around as if searching for an easy exit.  So, to be a good spitballer you have to have the dexterity hide your handling of the ball to manipulate it to get the “spit” onto it.  To see if you are dexterous enough, using india ink, write the Lord's Prayer thrice on a piece of paper the size of apostage stamp. This is going to test your honesty to the lord and dexterity, and, of course, if you can do both, then you don’t need or want to throw a spitball.

About the painting

"The Spitter" spitball sports art painting by artist John Robertson is 50" x 70" acrylic on unstretched canvas.


Basketball lay-up player shooting

Basketball Lay-up Painting


I photographed this basketball lay-up move being done by a Venice beach, California player.  My wife used to have her art studio close to the Venicebeach basketball courts.  You may remember seeing these basketball courts in the movie, “White Men Can’t

Jump”.   As you can see the basketball lay-up is just what it sounds like: a shot where a player lays the ball up on the backboard or over the rim and into the basket. It can be done forwards, backwards, or sideways. It is a lay-up just the same.  And I can’t do any of the moves except for the one facing the basketball hoop – no twists or turns for me.




Amway Center


The basketball art was originally created for a commission for the Amway Center sports and entertainment venue in Orlando, Florida.  This is the home sports arena for the NBA Orlando Magic basketball team.  I was commissioned to create five pieces for the Amway arena a few years back, when it first opened.  I have never been to the arena or have photographs of the paintings hung on display – so if you are in that area and go to the stadium I would love to have someone take photos with their phone and send them to me.  I could probably send you a nice print of one of my sports paintings as a thank you for your efforts.

About the Lay-up Painting


Sports Painting by artist John Robertson
60" x 40" (5 feet by 3 ½ feet)
acrylic on unstretched canvas

Tom Brady New England Patriots Painting

Tom Brady Painting 

This painting of Tom Brady I did a couple of years ago but it seems current given the fact that he will be in another Super Bowl this year – In fact this will be his eighth trip to the Super Bowl - the most for any quarterback in history, winning four titles.  Brady has started fifteen seasons with the Patriots  and drafted by the in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft.  Now, that late pick in the draft certainly has paid off. 

Food for NFL Football 

It was great watching the Championship game between the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Stealers.    My wife was very kind and fixed me some very special treats while watching the NFL’s AFC Championship Game.  Yes, the photo shows Roasted Brussels sprouts and Delicata squash.
 She spiced it up with some Parmesan cheese. Yummy, yummy.  As you can imagine I just wolfed that delicious plate of vegetables right on down.  I can’t wait to see what super special treat she rustles up for me on Super Bowl Sunday - maybe a nice big bowl of barbequed broccoli or cauliflower.  Isn’t your mouth just watering?  - perfect tailgating food for those special winter afternoons.  I’m surprised she didn’t offer me a glass of vinegar water to wash it down with.  I shouldn’t tease her about the treats.  It was very thoughtful – well she could have thought about it and have come up with something better – like steak and potatoes. 

About the Painting 


The Tom Brady painting is 4 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas

Baseball umpire sports art

Bad Umpire Painting


Now, I know that this is a really bad drawing in ink of an umpire - but what do you expect - me to draw or paint the perfect painting each time.  Do you r really expect a baseball player to hit one thousand?  Do you expect an umpire to make the correct call every time he has to make one?  Well, I
can't paint or draw the great art piece each time I go to the studio - and this is proof of that position.  Think of the great baseball player who hits 300.  That means he fails seven out of ten times.  How is that great?  He fails three out of ten times.

Umpire Heckles  


 How many bad calls does an ump make?  It depends if you are on the winning side of the calls or the losing side. These are some of the comments players and manager had said when getting a bad call:  "You're killing me, blue. Can I pet your seeing eye dog after the game?  It sure sounded like a strike!  How'd you get a square head in that round mask?  Did they stopped printing the rulebook in Braille?  Don't donate your eyes to science, they don't want em'.   Does your wife let you make decisions at home? Pull the good eye out of your pocket. I thought only horses slept standing up! Flip over the plate and read the directions."

Artist heckles


What if you're an artist and the client starts heckling you.  "  That's not green.  Lenscrafter called...your glasses will be ready in 30 minutes.  Flip the canvas over and start again on the other side.  Are you painting in Braille?  Is this going to get any better or is this it?"

All sports need an umpire or referee. And what is important is that they have integrity , and just as import is good eyesight. And even if they do have good judgment it seems that another part of baseball is for the fans and players booing and abusing the umpires – It is part of the game.  So don't think that a machine can replace them.  Because the same thing would happen if you used a machine.  When a call is ruled against the player, instead of using words he is going to take his bat to the machine and blast it down third.

Artist John Robertson Baseball painting of an Umpire
5 feet by 2 ½ feet acrylic on unstretched canvas

(painting is a detail from larger painting 5 feet by 8 feet)