Monday, September 9, 2013

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

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