I've spent the past four months painting a commission for a
client and am now preparing to begin my next project. This
is an unusual undertaking because of the extreme horizontal
format needed to fit a special place in my client's home.
The canvas will be 26" x 96" and I've been asked to do something
related to the Los Angeles Dodgers. I've been a Dodger fan
since they came to Los Angeles in 1958 and attended my first
Dodger game at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1960 with my dad.
My fondest memories of the Blue Crew stem from their current
home in Chavez Ravine at Dodger Stadium. In their second
season at the new ballpark, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale led
the team to their first World Series championship. My
painting will be based on how the stadium looked during that
I will show the stadium and its cool mid
century structure, along with some souvenirs of the times, like the
1963 Topps baseball card above.
This 1960's Goodyear blimp will be up in the
sky above the stadium, with a vintage Dodger pennant in tow.
Here is a sketch, showing the layout of the
painting. Click here
or on the sketch to see a larger version.
I converted the sketch into an outline drawing
and put a red grid over the image. I drew corresponding
pencil lines on my canvas and...
... scaled up the image onto the canvas.
I want this painting to represent what Dodger
Stadium was like in 1963, and the 'double bagger' peanuts are a big
part of my food memory. When the vendor tossed them to you in
the stands, those two connected bags flew through the air flipping
and twisting like a hunting bolo. The Stadium doesn't sell
this style bag anymore, so I contacted the original company to see
if I could get a bag from them. They changed to the single bag
many years ago and couldn't help. The above photo came from their
I downloaded the photo of the bags into Photoshop
and made my own 'double bag'.
I'm starting to apply paint on the canvas,
beginning in the left bottom corner, with the Koufax card.
Frank Howard, nicknamed "The Capital Punisher",
struck fear in all pitchers when he came to the plate. Here is
his 1963 Topps card, leaning against what will be a Dodger Dog.
The Dodger Dog is complete. I am holding off
painting the cast shadows until I put the two kids in place.
I've moved over to the lower right side of the
painting and have rendered the peanut bag.
This 1960's generic Dodger bobblehead, holding a ball in his right
hand and with a mitt on his left, was given Sandy Koufax's number
32. These souvenirs were sold at the stadium.
Here's a look at the entire canvas.
Click here to see a larger
The second bobblehead from the '60's is holding a
bat. He also had Sandy Koufax's #32, but I used my artistic
license and made him #9, Wally Moon.
Here is Don Drysdale's card that will be leaning
up against the baseball mitt. Don's features are a little
rough in this first pass of paint, but I'll get his likeness better
on the second and final layer.
The far right bottom corner of the painting has a
little leager's mitt and ball. This painting is all about kids
and baseball. Baseball brings the kid out in us and big league
players are just big kids. Most of the props in this painting
are kids things, objects that fuel the dreams of boys and girls
A close-up with the Don Drysdale card on the mitt.
Here is the right side of the painting with all
but the baseball bat in a line.
Los Angeles wouldn't be L.A. without the Goodyear
blimp in the sky. I've positioned it above Dodger Stadium,
towing a vintage Dodger pennant.
Since my painting reflects Dodger Stadium in 1963,
I've researched a Dodger/Giants game from that season. I found
a home game that took place on May 11, 1963, and put the
corresponding information on the scoreboard as it looked about a
half an hour before game time.
I put the '76' sign and flagpoles on the
This is the right side of the painting. I've
painted in the baseball bat behind the foreground objects.
Click here to see a
Today was a perfect day for my Dodger
painting. I had been waiting for a day with sunshine that would
coordinate with the schedules of my two models, Hannah and
Andrew. Their father brought them to the studio to see the
painting in person....
These great kids (and their parents) are
big Dodger fans, which makes them the perfect duo to be in the
painting. Andrew put the bat on his shoulder, while his
sister wore the glove and held the ball from the painting.
They were the perfect models!!
Here is the left field scoreboard. Although
it showed the score of the game and other games around the league,
it would also send out personal messages to the crowd. In this
case, the message is directed at my clients, a wonderful family of
true blue Dodger fans.
I've indicated the palm trees from the parking lot
and begun to put the cast shadows of the foreground objects.
The cast shadows and the center field flags are in
place. Click here
for a larger view.
Here's a photo of the entire canvas.
Click here to see a
I've sketched the two kids in position, which has
now allowed me to paint the red clay of the infield dirt and the
outfield grass. Click
here to see a larger image.
Beginning to paint the outfield with the left and
right field pavilions. The most recognizable feature of Dodger
Stadium is the zig-zag roof structure over the two outfield
pavilions. These corrugated metal lids have always put the stadium
in the space age of the 60's. I'll tackle this accordian-like
structure next. Click
here for larger view.
The pavilion roofing is in as well as the
beginning of the crowd indications.
Click here for a
A close-up of the left side.
Click here for even
Detail of the right side and
Click here to
The sky and the background hillsides are now in.
The hillsides will be quite a bit lighter, but I wanted this darker
underpainting to create some subtle detail later. Here's the
bigger picture: Click
It's time to put some fans in the stands. I
started by putting in a warm 'seat color' underpainting.
Then I divided each section into a grid,
separating it into individual seats.
I then started adding paying customers.
Notice how I've darkened those people sitting in the shade of the
Here is a look at most of left field and...
...a view of right field, over the shoulders of
Here's the last piece of the painting puzzle...
the kids. I think they turned out great!
The entire canvas has been painted its first coat
of paint. Oil thinned out and painted as close as possible to
what my final image intentions are. I'll now paint the final
'paint tube thickness' layer, detailing every object.
Click here to see it
The support structure under the outfield awnings
is finished and...
...I've put in the outfield camera.
The final rendering of the blimp and pennant is
finished. Here is the larger view:
I added a reflective light glow on the bottom of
the blimp, indicating the warm colored surface from the ground.
Click here to see it
I am painting in the final sky color. The
coloration goes from a light blue to a lighter warmer (greener) hue
as it approaches the direction of the sun to the right. If you
look closely at the above photo, you can see that the final color is
considerable darker than the thinner original wash. This will
make the blimp, the light standards (4 above each scoreboard), and
the edges of the scoreboards come to life, by increasing the
difference in values between the sky and the sunlit objects.
From this point on, I'll take each part of the
painting, make determinations about its final color (hue) and value
(darkness) and paint it with a thick layer of pigment. Here is
the right field scoreboard completed. Also notice how I
changed the color of the distant hillside, giving it a redder tone
to help offset all the cool colors of the sky, stadium fence etc.
Today was a special day in my studio. My
cousin Judi brought her Girl Scout Brownie Troop to the studio to
help fulfill the requirements for their Painting Badge. They
baked me a large plate of incredible brownies which disappeared
immediately. Thanks girls!
I've just finished the Sandy Koufax card.
Frank Howard is done. The hot dog is next.
Here are the two cards and hot dog finished.
And a close-up of the hot dog.
I've finished the bag of peanuts. You'll
also notice a slice of the finished baseball bat behind it.
Moving to the right of the peanut bag is the first
bobblehead. I warmed up his overall tone with the final paint
The second bobblehead is now completed.
Notice the highlights and how they make the plastic look like
With the baseball glove and ball rendered, all
that is left are the two kids.
The young boy is finished. I thing he looks
Here is a close-up of the young lady.
Here they are together. Completely finished!
I've come to the end of the road with this trip
down memory lane. It took a great deal of research to make it
historically correct. It was a big challenge and turned out
better than I had first imagined.
Click here for a