Painting the professionals by Mark Robinson. They're not super human but it takes a certain type to be a pro golfer.
An article by Mark Robinson, Golf Artist - From this month's 'robinsongolfart newsletter'
The great thing about golf is that it is played differently by everyone and is open to all. When you get to the Pro level however, it’s a whole different ball game. For the relatively short time that I’ve painted these guys, the obvious, playing differences, from the average club golfer, are..
As a kid, my parents encouraged me to play Table Tennis. They both did and in no time I was at junior County level. My sister and myself had a personal coach, my mother was also a qualified coach. Even at 87 she still plays for the Irish National T.T .Vets team and at the World Championships. I however got to a point where, playing guitar in bands, women, art college, pubs and the whole seventies thing, not in that order, took over. I gradually left table tennis behind. If only I’d been given a club instead of a bat. We’ve all said similar, right?
I do remember that for a short period of my childhood, I was dedicated, no, ‘obsessed’, with table tennis and winning.
I also recall the hours I had to put in and the intense level of training. Even in those days we had robotic servers with adjustable speed and spin. I would stand there hitting thousands of balls in a session. My coach was George Reid, based at Kent’s sports pavilion in Luton. A Scotsman that took no nonsense. If you weren’t interested, you were out! He was a tough, great, coach. No longer with us, lovely man but frightening.
My reactions were sharp, my skills with the bat? excellent, I was an athlete.Then suddenly..... I lost interest.
Pro golfers don’t lose interest, they stick at it and in many cases reap the well deserved rewards. They are a galaxy away from club golfers. Don’t fool yourself, you wouldn’t make the cut.
So, when it comes to painting professional golfers, I have an admiration and understanding of their dedication & devotion. They have a drive to succeed at all cost and nothing will pull them away from that course.
You have to have some understanding of your subject when painting portraits. Even if it's reading about people to get an understanding of their character. You will be portraying that. Not just ‘copying’ as Francis Bacon said. He did. We all do to a certain degree but the more you know your subject, the better the portrait. Gone are the days when people ‘SIT’ for their portraits. Who has the time, right? The artist has to rely on short sketching sessions or in the case of my swing portraits, ‘photographic reference’.
I walk around with the players on their practice rounds, gathering reference. I get a sense of them through their interaction with their caddy and the crowd. Most of all, I get an up close view of the result of all that hard work. The power that is transferred with confidence and pinpoint accuracy. Think about the training that has lead to that holed bunker shot. They shrug, lucky? I think not . The percentages are with them and not with the Am’s for a reason. They were taught to be professional golfers. I was taught to be a painter. You were taught to be what ever you are and are hopefully an expert in that subject.
Experience and determination, that is what makes a Pro in any walk of life. I know that I never stop learning as a painter, if I did stop it just wouldn’t be professional.