Thursday, October 29, 2015

Messi - The Painting of Lionel Andrés "Leo" Messi Cuccittini- 2015

" Messi "
This is a 24" x 30" Acrylic on Canvas painting of
Lionel Andrés "Leo" Messi Cuccittini. by Joe Versikaitis

The concept for this painting became real after watching the 2014 World Cup. Months later after watching Barcelona FC play in which I got the opportunity to experience Leo Messi perform yet again. I knew then that I needed to create his portraiture.

I am always look at capturing the player in a close up pose. I really want to show the detail in their facial expressions as they play their game. The intensity and drama that goes for any sport that I venture into. The face is what people recognize and they relate to. After all if you can't recognize the player then the painting failed.

As I was watching the game, of course most of the time the only way I can get my inspiration cooking is by watching the games on TV. So standing in front of my 50 inch HD screen, with my camera in hand and watching Messi through the lens I managed to get a couple of shots off. They weren't the best quality but through some sketching and other reference photo I came up with this pose.Like all my paintings I want to leave the unfinished aspect at the bottom. Just slap a little bit of paint around and call it Bueno! 

This jersey and any striped jersey I have done in the past has given me nothing but a challenge. Working with the lines, colors, spacing and then folds. Then try to combine everything to make it look like he is wearing it properly. The yellow is a fluorescent yellowish green kind of It was fun but really challenging. I hope I did Messi justice?

My wife and I spent most of this spring renovating our house and watching soccer's finest showcase, Brazil's 2014 World Cup competition. Stopping work long enough so that we could watch some of the matches. Everybody in our family has their own favourite team and cheered our hearts away. My team was Spain, and no they didn't do me justice! Regardless of Spain's outcome I also cheered on this tournaments home team, Brazil .......ok and Argentina!

Towards the end of the tournament there was two teams left for the world cup match game, Argentina and Germany. We all know what the out come was by now. But the one player that also fascinated me the most during the games was Leo Messi.At the 2014 World Cup Messi led Argentina to the final and winning four consecutive Man of the Match awards in the process. 

His style of play is in comparisons to compatriot Diego Maradona who himself declared Messi his successor. " I have seen the player who will inherit my place in Argentinian football and his name is Messi. "

Messi finished as the joint-third-highest goalscorer of the tournament, with four goals and an assist. Messi's goals against the Bosnians, Herzegovinaians and Nigerians put him in nomination for the goal of the tournament award and was voted the best goals of the tournament. His four Man of the Match awards were the most of any player in the tournament.Messi had commented on his awards at the end of the tournament by saying this " I do not care about the Golden Ball. I am just upset by wasting the chances we had. We knew we could not dominate the game but we knew what we wanted to do. Right now I do not care about my prize. I just wanted to lift the cup and bring it to Argentina. The pain is very great."

As I look at what this game of football brings to the world and the talented players it creates. I can't help but wonder what it would be like to be in one of those stadium that holds 80 000 to 100 000 people. Not only to watch these player perform their talent but most of all, just to be apart of the football experience ...

That would be a unique experience don't you think!

Joe Versikaitis

All works are under the Canadian Copyrights Law. Any reproduction in part or whole without the written consent is strictly prohibited

Neymar Jr. - The Painting of Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior. - 2014

" Neymar Jr. " 

This is a 24" x 30" Acrylic on Canvas painting ofNeymar da Silva Santos Júnior - Brazilian born professional footballer playing with the Spanish FC Barcelona club  by Joe Versikaitis

With my family soccer has always been apart of our livelihoods. For 14 years I coached and co-coached both our kids through soccer. The hard work and dedication that these kids put into this beautiful sport earned them both scholarships to the Medicine Hat college and University of Lethbridge

Myself growing up in Venezuela, soccer was our sport. My favourite player was Pele. Even though he was a Brazilian he was very popular in our family.  We own a bar and restaurant but living in a poor country like Venezuela we didn't have organized soccer associations in our area. When we played, in the back yard, in the school ground, or what ever ground we could find, my position was always the goalie. I don't think I was all that good but I did stop balls from going in.  Truthfully, I believe I was the goalie because I was too fat to
Like most people throughout the world, my wife and I spent most of this spring watching soccer's finest showcase, Brazil's 2014 World Cup competition. Everybody in our family has their own favourite team and cheered our hearts away. My team was Spain, and no they didn't do me justice!  Regardless of Spain's outcome I also cheered on this tournaments home team, Brazil. 
This team was made up of younger and faster players. They were burning up the field against any opponent that dared to step in front of them. They had players like Givanildo Vieira de Sousa, known as Hulk. This guy was ripped like the Hulk. the young kid, Oscar dos Santos, Thiago Emiliano da Silva, David Luiz Moreira Marinho who had a  memorable fist shaking after he had scored, and my favourite kid to watch was Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior - known as Neymwr Jr. 

 Neymar Jr. plays with the Spanish FC Barcelona club. His playing style has earned him critical acclaim, with fans, media and former players drawing comparison to former Brazil forward Pele who has called Neymar "an excellent player", while Ronaldinho has stated "he will be the best in the world".
At the 2014 FIFA World Cup Neymar scored four goals before he fractured a vertebra in his spine in the quarter-finals and missed the rest of the tournament. He received the Bronze Boot as the tournament's third top goalscorer, and was named in the World Cup All Star XI.'With 42 goals in 59 matches for Brazil, Neymar is the 5th highest goal scorer for his national team

As a sports artist my inspiration for this painting came while watching Neymar score almost every game that he played in during the 2014 World Cup. This kid with the ball is fast, tricky, clever and moved very precise.  One on one Neymar is very dangerous. He is capable of shining in any attacking position. What really amazed me was his way to dance around a packed defence line and score..Brilliant!
While watching the crowd reacted to Neymar's moves, I thought  wouldn't it something if I created an art piece of Neymar in which all those fans could enjoy.
I then asked my wife, " Wouldn't it be cool to be apart of the World Cup someday..or ...go to Barcelona and show case my work?"

Joe Versikaitis 

All works are under the Canadian Copyrights Law. Any reproduction in part or whole without the written consent is strictly prohibited

Monday, September 9, 2013

Lewis - The Painting of Nik Lewis - 2013

" Lewis "
This is a 24" x 48" Acrylic on Canvas painting of Nik Lewis
Calgary Stampeders Slotback by Joe Versikaitis

It started with a conversation with then marketing manager Chris Jurewicz. The Stamps knew that Nik was getting close his to his 9th, 1000 yard per season plateau. Throughout the game I was snapping action shots of Lewis out on the field. I got some nice action shots. Of course his 1000 yard catch was no where near me when it happened. Nik just got back to the sideline and was being congratulated by everyone there. It was there that I caught up with this pose. I loved the idea of actually painting the players face without the cage over top of it. Lewis, like so many other players flipped his helmet over his face so that the helmet rested on his head. I knew this was the pose I wanted to paint.
 In this pose it was a beautiful sunny day and I wanted to bring that out on his face and the big shining spot on his helmet.

I wanted show the Stampeders home field McMahon Stadium as part of this piece.  I put in the red fence, which in the bright sun is a little orange, on top of the field barrier. You can see this towards the bottom right hand side of the piece. With the crowd, I show the faces but not detailed. I drew out every head and position each side by side and made it look like the heads are getting smaller as they go up to the top of the painting...14 rows and 20 heads across- lots of eyes and mouths.  I then diluted the background with a cream wash. This helps bring out Lewis.

I believe the best part of this painting was experiencing the sideline action during the game. The behind the scene stuff that I got to witness. To hear what the players and coaches were saying to each other made me appreciate the game a whole lot more.
I hope you enjoy this piece!

All works are under the Canadian Copyrights Law. Any reproduction in part or whole without the written consent is strictly prohibited
Joe Versikaitis

Coach Huf - The Painting of John Hufnagel - 2013

" Coach Huf" 
This is a 22" x 28" Acrylic on Canvas painting of John Hufnagel 
Calgary Stampeders Head Coach by Joe Versikaitis

John Hufnagel

" This is why I love doing this! "
I had the opportunity to photo shoot a Calgary Stampeders and Hamilton Ticats game. I had my mind set at taking shots a few players and go from there. As usual the shots that I was looking for didn't come. I was looking for a certain pose or action shot but it wasn't materializing. I went over to the Ticats bench and snapped a few shots of receiver Dave Stala and I was about to take more shots when the Ticats made a good play on the field and all the players on the bench stood up and I couldn't see through these giants in front of me. Well that ended that and I begun to walk back to the Stampeders side to see if my luck would change.

I set out along the sideline snapping shots of the plays as they unfolding in front of me. I am not sure if anybody knows this but it takes a long time to get around a football field when you stop and try to take action shots. It also seemed that the play was always on the other side of the field. I finally reached the Stampeders bench.

It was there where I seen the TSN cameraman that I had talked to earlier in the game. As we were talking the play had stopped and then I seen Coach Huf wandering onto the field with his head set wrapped around his neck asking the referee for an explanation on a call. The stadium lights lit up McMahon's field. As Coach Huf put his head set back on his head and with  deep concentration glarewalked towards the sideline.  Even though there was 25,000 fans sitting on our side of the stadium , it felt like Coach Huf was looking through us and through the bleachers into the parking lot...that's the look that I wanted to capture!

As I stood there and snapped a few photos all I seen was the distant crowd behindhim as a darken blur and there in front of me was a living legend in the bright stadiumlights. I recall telling the TSN cameraman who at the time was looking in another direction " Look at that " I said. As he turned and pointed his camera at Coach Huf all he could say was - This is why I love doing this. told the cameraman I can't wait to do a painting of this.

During the rest of game I was following Coach Huf for about 30 to 40 more shots. Some of shots were good quality and some not so good. When I say good quality, I mean clear and detailed and where I can see every hair, wrinkle, stitching in the shirt, etc. The wind was blowing pretty good so most of his shots had his hair flying all over the place. I only had a few shots where his hair was laid down and styled if you wish. I decided to go with the messy hair look because that's how I recall seeing it.
That's how paintings are conceived and created.

It's a real neat experience being near the play on the field and listening to the crowd behind you. But it's even more especial to stand beside the players on the sideline and listen to what they say to each other. There is coaches talking about the next play with the players that just got off the field. Then there was the kicker Rene Paredes going through his routine. He was my prop for a good 40 shots most likely a future painting.
I have my canvas ready for my next Stampeder but you'll have to wait to see it.

All works are under the Canadian Copyrights Law. Any reproduction in part or whole without the written consent is strictly prohibited
Joe Versikaitis

Brettzky - A painting of Brett Schimmel - 2013

" Bretzky"

This is a 22" x 28" acrylic on canvas painting of Brett Schimmel
First game in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

This is a portrait painting of good friends of ours son in the Brooks, Alberta area. 

January 6, 2012 was Brett's first game in the AJHL ( Alberta Junior Hockey League ) playing with the Lloydminster Bobcats and at the time of this web add on July 10, 2013, playing for the Brooks Bandits.

 He played to a packed house in front of his home town of Brooks and I had the opportunity to go and take some photos for this piece. Because Brett knows what I do and he seen me taking pictures during that game I had to tell him that I was taking pictures for a hockey magazine and that there was another player I was looking at. But he caught me looking at him during the game and he knew what was up.

The name " Brettzky " to me it's pretty obvious. Watching Brett growing up he always had a hockey stick in his hands. Always playing and skating. 

I put Brett and Greztky together to come up with " Brettzky "

Joe Versikaitis

All works are under the Canadian Copyrights Law. Any reproduction in part or whole without the written consent is strictly prohibited
Joe Versikaitis

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Burris - The Painting of Henry Burris - 2011

Just letting you good folks out there know that I am back doing my blogs. We moved to Red Deer, AB. Life has been a little heck tick for the last 6 months or so. I will be continuing to create art. So far I have been doing some decorative art work for my beautiful wife to use throughout the house. She got me to paint something called -Flowers!?!?
 I also did some landscape using 3 or 4 colours that we are using in our home decoration theme. They are kinda cool and I will post these a little later.
But for now I want to draw your attention to my next piece called

 " Burris "
This is a 22" x 28" Acrylic on Canvas painting of Henry Burris
Calgary Stampeders by Joe Versikaitis

It all started with a phone call from a world known sports artist by the name of Stephen Holland. We talked about approaching professional sports teams, players, and what inspired him to paint. Our conversation went from hockey to basketball and then to football. With his encouragement I added another sport into my portfolio.
The Canadian Football League!
With Stephens encouragement to pursuit this project I charted a course of action.  I knew that I couldn’t just approach the football squads without knowing who to approach. Since I was in search of another painting project for a local charity called CARO.  I had a conversation with Rob Wanner, CARO - President in turn introduced me to Medicine Hat - Alderman - Graham Kelly. Mr. Kelly himself a CFL sport writer with many books about the CFL and the Grey Cup.  With Grahams help, I able to send out corresponding letters to four CFL clubs asking for permission to create one of kind art pieces of a few of their players.
It was the Calgary Stampeders that gave me this opportunity. Let me tell you I was pretty excited when I found out I was granted permission to the sideline for a photo shoot of a game between the Calgary Stampeders and the Hamilton Ti-Cats!  This story is why I love doing this!
The day of the game my nerves got the best of me. I remember arriving at the McMahon Stadium parking lot and the gentleman at the gate telling me that I was a little early... like 3 hours early!
The painting is only half of the experience. The other part was being on the sideline during the game . The freedom to walk around any where on the sidelines to take action photos was a unique and wonderful experience. I was like an artist in a candy store wondering which piece I should take and in this case which player I can take photos of.
The thrill to take different angle shots of place kicker Burke Dales and Field Goal specialist Rene Paredes was something from a sport documentary. While they were going through their routines I was trying to find that perfect shot. I’m sure glad they didn’t get mad at me for doing that. At one point I wanted to ask Rene if he remembers anything about Venezuela since this is where we both were born.  But then I found myself being distracted by the other events taking place on the sideline.
I watched coach John Hufnagel wandering onto the field with his head set wrapped around his neck asking the referee for an explanation on a call.  By then the night sky had set in and now the stadium lights lit up McMahon’s field. Coach Hufnagel turned towards the sideline puts his head set back on his head and walked towards the sideline.  You can see that he was in deep concentration.  As an artist I am always looking for that particular pose or stance of a player in this case it was coach Hufnagel. I pictured the distant crowd behind him as a darken blur and there in front of me was a living legend in the spot light. I remember telling the TSN camera man.  Look at that  “ WOW “ way too cool. As he turned and pointed his camera at Coach Hufnagel all he could say was - This is why I love doing this. At that moment I took the opportunity to snap a few photos of my own.  Hopefully a future painting!
Back to the  “ Burris ”  painting, after a week of pouring over action photos I made up my mind to go with a couple of shots put together. One photo shows Henry clasping the ball in front of him. The only thing I didn’t really like was the quality of photo. The pose is great but the quality wasn’t there. He was out in the middle of the field just a little too far for my 200mm. So I found another pose from a series of shots that I took of Henry while standing in front of the players area during a break in play. The quality is great. The photo shows Henry looking at me while I took his photo. So I combine the head and body together in photoshop and presto! We have a pose!

 I was really happy and excited with that pose. It looks like Henry is running with the ball and looking at me to throw the ball to!  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jersey retirement for Curtis Glencross on Dec 9th at The Brooks Centennial Regional Arena

On Dec 9th, 2011 the Brooks Bandits will raise and retire the number 17 to the rafters wore by Curtis Glencross. From being cut by a couple of junior-A teams in his midget year to finally in 2000 getting the chance to play for the Brooks Bandits Jumior A Team. Curtis Glencross knows what it takes to succeed in the NHL and if you think it was summer hockey camps?..Think again!...You can read about Curtis's success a little later. 
Besides the jersey retirement celebration there is also going to be the signing of Limited Edition Digital Art Photographs. 
These 11 x 14 prints are designed by yours truly using photos that were taken while I was a director with the Brooks Bandits. Curtis and myself will be signing these prints after the raising of the jersey to the rafters...
Limited Edition 11 x 14 Digital Art Photograph of Curtis Glencross

If you get a chance to go into Brooks on December 9th, come join the celebration, get a chance to meet a Brooks Bandits legend and an NHL super star.
Dec10th, 2011

A great night was had by all last night at the Curtis Glencross jersey retirement game in Brooks. It was good to see and talk to Curtis again. Besides a few more scars, he hasn't changed too much, still a skinny kid. Or.... I'm just getting fatter I guess!
 It was great to see and talk to all the people that I haven't seen in a while. I wish you all well..

 Curtis and I signed all 17 of the prints and now they are up for sell for anybody interested in one of these babies. At $250 you can add your name to a list for a copy of this print. Once they get framed we will contact you..
 I hate to throw in a cliché but "They are selling fast". These will make great Man Cave presents....
A BIG Thank you to all that have purchased a print  
 You can contact Paul Seaton at 501 1794..                                                                                                    Take care and Merry Christmas... Joe Versikaitis

and here is the story written by Calgary Sun writer Steve Macfarlane.
Curtis Glencross wasn’t always this fierce.

Growing up in Eastern Alberta, the atom-aged house-league hockey player was happy to hang out with his buddies on the ice all winter and switch to some other sport during the warmer months.
And when body contact was introduced in pee-wee, the wee lad wasn’t learning how to throw a crushing check the way he has proven very capable of on the forecheck for the Calgary Flames these days — he was learning to protect himself.
“I was small. I had to learn how to take a hit and be straight on my skates, and get out of the way of hits,” the Flames winger says with a grin. “By the time midget came, I had my growth spurt.
“I think after my second year bantam, I went up four skate sizes in one summer.”
Payback was on its way.
So was the payoff.
Glencross, arguably the most consistent member of the up-and-down Flames this season, looks in the rearview mirror of his hockey life and admits there were few times he would have imagined things working out the way they have.
But his history in the game and his outlook on life growing up offer a clear vision of how the 28-year-old born in Kindersley, Sask., and raised in Provost became the relentlessly determined NHLer he can proudly claim to be today.
“It’s rewarding to look back,” Glencross says during a relaxed moment in his locker-room stall during a recent road trip. “I’ve never played double-A in my life. I played in my small town. There were 2,000 people. I played at home with my same buddies all the time.
“When I was playing midget hockey and going through high school and playing ‘C’ hockey in my hometown, I thought, ‘Alright, I’m gonna end up working with my dad in the cattle business or something like that.’ I had no intention of a career in hockey.
“I got cut from a couple of junior-A teams in my midget year. After my second year midget, I got a chance to go try out at a junior-A team and made it out of evaluation camp.
“Then it clicked in — maybe I can play a little longer.”
From the Brooks Bandits of the AJHL, Glencross made another leap to the University of Alaska in Anchorage, realizing he could also get an education out of the game he’d always considered a hobby.
That turned into a pro deal with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, and he worked his way through the American Hockey League ranks to the NHL, bouncing between the Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets and Edmonton Oilers before joining the Flames as a free agent four years ago.
“It was weird. For six years, seven years, I had no chance. All of a sudden, I’ve got a shot at making the show. It was great,” Glencross says of his gradual and unexpected climb.
His seven goals leads the team and ranks him in the league’s top 30 almost a quarter of the way through the season — his first under a four-year deal he signed with the Flames this summer.
Many of his peers who have signed equally assuring contracts have fallen into ‘the comfort zone,’ in which efforts seem to subside and consistency becomes an issue.
Not Glencross. If anything, he’s hungrier.
“If you’re playing a sport, and you’re just in it to get a paycheque, you’re in it for the wrong reason,” he says with a shake of the head and a quiet tone. “You’re playing for your city, your organization and your teammates.”
Wanting to prove deserving of the US$10.2-million over four years, which includes a critical no-movement clause, Glencross hasn’t let anyone down following his career-best 24-goal, 43-point season last year.
“Seems like there are always contracts that are signed, and guys get a little secure and feel safe. I don’t look at it like that,” he shrugs. “I look at it like they signed me for a four year deal for the player I was last year, not the player I’m going to be three years from now.
“I don’t want to be known as one of those players that sign a deal and then their next good year is a contract year. I want to be consistent.
“If I’m consistent and put up the same kind of totals from year to year, then the next contract will be even better.”
You could make a sports-themed, Christmas-season made-for-TV special on Glencross’ roots in the game and rise in his profession.
There’s definitely a message in it for kids who eat, sleep and breathe the game 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 12 months a year.
“Guys that get forced into playing double-A and triple-A and that kind of stuff at a young age, parents are driving them all the time to play regular-season, play spring hockey, play summer hockey, go to all these camps. One of the things that drives me nuts the most is in the summer time when you see 12-year-old kids in the gym working out,” Glencross says with a shake of his head. “Go play baseball. Go golfing. Go play soccer.”
Play for the passion and enjoyment, not the potential of a paycheque that doesn’t come for the majority of them anyway.
“If you’re pushed since you’re 10 or 12 years old because your parents want you to make the NHL ... I never played summer hockey. I went to one hockey school because a guy from our hometown was coaching the Golden Bears in Edmonton. So I went for two years just because he was there. That was a week for two summers in pee-wee and bantam.
“I can’t stand putting my skates on in the summer at all. Lots of guys are skating in June, July. I don’t start skating until the second week of August. You skate so much during the season.
“I grew up with a different kind of mentality.”
It’s his appreciation for how far that mentality has taken him that keeps him going and striving for better even after reaching a level that could satisfy many of those dreaming of a life like his.
“You look at all the kids now in minor hockey. They feel like if they’re not playing double-A or triple-A, what’s the point?” he says. “The worst part is kids get so frustrated that they don’t get to that level, they think they don’t ever have a shot.
“Some people are later developers. There are lots other options besides playing at that level. You can play junior-A and get a college scholarship and get four years of college or university for free.
“There are a lot more players coming out of college right now than ever. You can’t give up if you want to play the game.”
It worked for him."
story written by Calgary Sun writer Steve Macfarlane

Joe Versikaitis - Artist / Photographer

This article is copyrighted to Versikaitis - The Art of Sport. Any reproduction without written consent is strictly prohibited.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Versikaitis - The Art of Sport art and photography!

Versikaitis - The Art of Sport is delighted to announce that as of today October 14, 2011 Mcimages will be replaced with
You will be able to access both my art and photography site from and now of course

This will promote Versikaitis - The Art of Sport as an Art and Photography business!

I would sincerely like to thank you for your ongoing relationship with Versikaitis - The Art of Sport and the many referrals that you have provided over the years. 

It will be a pleasure to serve you from my new site with the same quality and service you have come to expect from Versikaitis - The Art of Sport

It has been an honor and privilege to work with you and I look forward to continuing our relationship for many years to come.


Joe Versikaitis - Artist / Sport Photographer

Art Web Site:
Blog Alberta Sport Artist Joe Versikaitis at:
PH: 1 403 527 3091

View my painting of Jarome Iginla
View my painting of Henry Burris ....Creativity in progress!