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!