Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Slammin' Sam Snead

Posted here is the view of a recent painting I completed of the late great Sam Snead... nicknamed "Slammin" Sam Snead" because of his booming drives off the tee. My painting is based on a 1949 photo of Mr. Snead by photographer Arthur E. Haug, from a golf instructional book by Snead and a handful of other pros of that era. What struck me was the perspective of seeing the player's swing from above looking down.... which nicely highlighted Mr. Snead's famous iconic straw hat he wore so frequently. 

You are going to see Sam Snead's name pop up in the golfing news a lot very soon, because in 2014 or 2015 Tiger Woods will probably secure his 82nd and 83rd PGA Tour tournament victories.... an amazing feat. 82 wins will tie Sam Snead's long time hold on the record of PGA Tour victories and Tiger's victory number 83 will surpass Snead's mark and set a new record which may then last forever in the golf record books.

Sam Snead (1912 - 2002), the smooth swinging, long hitting "country boy" from Virginia who became the winningest player in PGA Tour history with 82 official tournament victories (including 7 major championship wins). Wearing his signature straw hat and nicknamed "Slammin' Sammy", Snead's long, powerful swing endured, winning professional events over a six decade span. (At age 67 he shot a 67 and a 66 for two of the four rounds at the 1979 Quad Cities Open, a PGA Tour event) 

The original painting was created with oil crayon and gouache on raw paperboard. Visit my golf art web site sasgolf.com to view my limited edition golf art prints as well as some original golf art for sale, including this painting of Sam Snead.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

drawing of Ben Hogan Putting

drawing by Steven Anthony Salerno -visit sasgolf.com
Here is a simple oil crayon drawing I recently created depicting superstar iconic golfer in history Ben Hogan, seen in his putting posture about to strike the ball. 

I probably made about five of these relatively quick line drawings before getting it just right.... Because I created each drawing by directly making marks with the crayon on paper without any preliminary light pencil sketch underneath as a guide, I made errors in proportions, or errors in line angles, etc... so it took until the 5th attempt before I got it all done to my satisfaction. Even still, as you can see, the "final" image is purposely rough looking, as I was seeking a very impromptu "sketch" feel for the drawing. (I used photo reference)

I liked this frontal view of Hogan, with his neck and head bent down, because his trademark white cap is seen directly from the top, which is an interesting perspective as it lends a slightly abstract shape into the overall image.

Click here to see a previous post of another drawing I created of Ben Hogan.

Process: I scanned the crayon drawing (which was done on a buff colored raw paper) into Photoshop, where I then added simple washes of digital color for the pants, sweater, and cap.

As you can see from the drawing, Mr. Hogan's putting style was to play the ball lined up off of his left toe, take a slightly closed stance (right foot dropped back a bit from the ball/target line)  plus he then also pulled the putter back to an inside path using a very wristy-hinged stroke to "rap" the ball, which is in comparison to a longer smoother pendulum-stroke technique most Tour players use today.

I must have been channeling another Ben when I made this drawing.... the great American artist Ben Shahn (1898 -1969) because the simple black line I employed, along with the red lettering reminds me a bit this artist's social realism graphic works from the 1930's and '40's. 

Visit sasgolf.com to view my limited edition golf art prints and original paintings and sketches available for purchase.

Monday, July 22, 2013

latest golf drawing by Steven Anthony Salerno

drawing by Steven Anthony Salerno      visit sasgolf.com
Posted here is a recent drawing I created... a very stark image of a player about to strike the ball, seen from a face-on view. 

It's a pen & ink drawing on paper, but I purposely drew it in a manner suggestive of a dark, rich etching. As I drew the ink line with a pen, I immediately rubbed the ink line with my wetted finger, thus smudging the line and getting a heavy black line that "bleeds" -suggestive of a particular etching style wherein the burr of the stylus cutting into the metal plate holds a lot of ink, thus when the plate is printed it yields a rich, black, fuzzy line on the printing paper. (note: When creating an etching, lines are drawn and bitten into a metal plate via an acid bath, then ink is rubbed into these lines, followed by pressing damp paper on top of the plate. The artist will sometimes purposely flood the etching plate with excessive ink too... to obtain a very saturated line that bleeds onto the damp printing paper.) My drawing simulates this look, even though it isn't an etching.

Once I completed the drawing stage, I then scanned it into Photoshop, onto a layer. Then I also scanned into Photoshop an earlier painted background I had created with gouache. This became an abstract layer under my figure of the golfer. I then duplicated this same layer and placed it as a third layer above the figure of the golfer... but immediately erased most of it out, leaving just a couple thin angled streaks, which seem to be in the foreground in front of the golfer. The last step is to merge all these layers, resulting in the final art image which you see here. The background creates a stark atmospheric backdrop for the golfer... as if he is playing alone on a desolate course somewhere in the world.

To see all my available limited edition golf art prints, visit sasgolf.com, my on-line gallery.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

new drawing of Arnold Palmer...

Posted here is one of my most recent drawings... this one being yet another image of one of my favorite players of all time, Arnold Palmer. 

I created the image, first by drawing the figure of Palmer using black oil crayon... just a straight forward traditional rendering... then I scanned my drawing into Photoshop where I digitally manipulated the black color of the crayon drawing so that it was now a saturated blue. Then I added a hyper-flesh tone to his face, hands and arms with a digital brush. The last steps were to embed the drawing onto the background which is comprised of distressed paint on a wood panel, which also included the stenciled lettering of PALMER. The resulting "look" is of a traditionally conceived drawing, but the manipulations and layering in Photoshop gave it a modern pop feel overall, representing that Mr. Palmer was a link between older traditions and values to the contemporary game of today. 

drawing of Arnold Palmer by artist Steven Anthony Salerno  -visit sasgolf.com

Of the many top players to have played the game past and present, a handful of them, due mostly to their achievements on the golf course and their charisma
, but also multiplied by their achievements in business, their charitable contributions, and the omnipresence of their likeness on television, the web, in books, magazines, and for endorsement advertising campaigns... actually transcend from star athlete, to star celebrity, to being a cultural icon... and for some fans (like myself) they take on mythical status. Mr. Palmer is one such golfer. 

When I was a kid growing up in Vermont back, in the early 1970's Arnold Palmer opened his golf academy at the Stratton Mountain ski and golf resort in the southern end of the state. That first summer they operated a summer instructional camp for teens... the cost of which was way beyond my family's means. However, the academy had a spot open for a couple "local Vermont kids" via a tournament (or was it just a lottery, I cannot remember) but my 17 year old older brother won one of the spots ... and got to attend the 2 week golf camp free of charge, room/board and instruction! (his roommate during the camp was J.P. Getty's grandson!)

I remember that my brother came back from the golf academy two weeks later having lost his extremely strong grip! No small feat! I was impressed. Eventually though, it did creep back into his swing mechanics. But hey, later (as an adult) he still somehow managed to shoot a round of 64(!) at his golf club even despite his strong grip... and win a handful of club championships as well! Never judge a book by its cover! 

The opening day of the academy Arnold Palmer flew in and gave a clinic for the teens attending the summer camp (and their family and guests), plus he then played a nine-hole exhibition on the Stratton mountain course. For me (at about age 14 at the time) it was a heavenly experience to witness such a great golfer play the game up close... and I am sure my getting to actually meet Arnold Palmer in person was the spark that eventually lead to me drawing and painting the greats of the game, and not just images of golfscapes only. 

Visit sasgolf.com to view all my available golf art prints.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tiger By The Numbers

art by Steven Anthony Salerno  visit sasgolf.com

(author's note: since the original posting date on 3/27/13, Tiger won again on the PGA Tour, upping his tournament victory stat from 77 to 78.... so the art image will have to be modified yet again to indicate 01-14-78)

This weeks victory at the Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Invitational Tournament by Tiger Woods marks the player's astounding 77th PGA Tour win, his recapturing of the World Golf Ranking's number 1 position... and has elicited renewed buzz that he may very well be firmly back on track to win more major championships again (he currently has 14 titles) and may either tie or surpass Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major championship victories.

Posted here is a painting I did a few years ago for the PGA Tour web site's "Player Spotlight" feature section... and at the time the numbers graphic within the art image (I think) was set at  1 -  14  -  71.  So, now I modified the numbers graphics within the art image to be:  1  -  14  -  77.

Of course, the 1 in the artwork is Tiger's world golf ranking, the 14 is how many major titles he owns, and the 77 is how many PGA Tour wins he has. Relative to his golf skills, the man in red has talent, experience far beyond but a few other players in history, a strong work ethic, and clear goals. I personally think Tiger will indeed either tie or surpass Nicklaus' record. And in so doing I think he will win a major at 50 years of age! 

When Tiger's life became a tabloid feast a handful of years ago, and his personal and public world was crumbling... it seemed his golden train in golf had been permanently derailed. No one can avoid catastrophic periods in their life, whether they come from illness, outside forces, or are even self created.... but sometimes one can truly heal, can learn, can become stronger than before. Second chances are available but must be earned. Maybe Tiger indeed is becoming better both on and off the course. And his new prowess on the course suddenly has everyone thinking his golden train is on a very fast track once again.

Portrait of Ernie Els

portrait of Ernie Els by Steven Anthony Salerno visit sasgolf.com

I recently completed a small portrait of World Golf Hall of Fame golfer, South African Ernie Els... shown hoisting the Claret Jug upon winning the 2012 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, his fourth major championship victory. Now being the holder of four majors places Mr. Els into pretty rare company, as only 27 players in the entire history of the game have ever won four or more major championships. (and we all know that Jack Nicklaus hold the record with 18 majors and Tiger Woods is in a not so distant second with 14 majors)

I created this portrait painting using pencil, crayon, acrylics and gouache on Arches 260 lb hot press paper. In 2012 I had completed a series of "signature hole" golfscape paintings for Ernie Els Design (his golf course architecture company) which you can view at sasgolf.com in the Ernie Els project section.

I usually prefer doing "swing portraits" of players, rather than straight forward "portraits" simply because I enjoy expressing my knowledge of the golf swing and also capturing the unique look of an individual's swing... but in this instance, I actually could not locate sufficient reference photos to my liking of Mr. Els in action during the final round of the 2012 Open Championship... but the multitude of photos of him after winning and hoisting the Claret Jug caught my eye, as they radiated his sheer joy in winning his 4th major championship. So I used about 5 different photos as reference to construct my own art image... simplifying and editing out folds and wrinkles in clothing, adding or eliminating shadows, repositioning his pose, etc... all the multitude of actions required when using static photo reference to create an organic drawing and painting artwork. 

Visit sasgolf.com to view all my available limited edition golf art prints.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rory is #1 (but for how much longer?)

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland placed third in the 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie, by way of a terrific final round bogey-free 68 (at the tender age of just 18 years old) and ever since then he has rocketed to the very top in the golfing world. He now sits atop the World Golf Rankings, and at the ripe old age of 23 has two Major Championship victories under his belt.

In 2013 will Rory hang onto that #1 spot and also win another Major? Or, will the man in the #2 rankings position overtake him? (Who just happens to be one Tiger Woods.) My feeling is that Tiger will win his 15th Major Championship this year, and in so doing will gain back the #1 World Golf Ranking once again.
(Rory will certainly be the world's #1 golfer many more times in the future, but Tiger still has quite a bit of bite left in his own game, enough to regain the #1 title and to also possibly match or surpass the Majors record held by Mr. Nicklaus!)

There is only so much time in a day, and with all the work I do in my illustration career, I then have to also make the time to do the additional golf art projects that come my way (see the Ernie Els project), and also for the number of personal golf art images I create to offer as limited edition prints on my gallery site sasgolf.com. So, I have been meaning to create an art image of Rory McIlroy for quite a while but just cannot find the proper time. And I still haven't..... but recently I did manage to do a simple conventional "study" painting of Rory, posed at the end of his powerful follow through. The impeccable balance maintained throughout his swing is amazing considering the swing speed he generates. This painting was created uses crayon, acrylics, and gouache on Arches 260 lb hot press paper. (paper size: approximately 22" x 16") This painting is not available as a limited edition print, but the original painting is available for purchase on sasgolf.com in the purchase original art section.

"RORY" painting by Steven Anthony Salerno  visit sasgolf.com

To see my golf art images available as limited edition prints, as well as some original artworks available for purchase too, visit sasgolf.com