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 year, 1963. 

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 website.

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 version.

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 everywhere.

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 scoreboard.

This is the right side of the painting.  I've painted in the baseball bat behind the foreground objects.  Click here to see a larger view. 

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 larger view.

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 blow-up.

A close-up of the left side. Click here for even closer.

Detail of the right side and Click here to enlarge.

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 here.

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 pavilion awning.

Here is a look at most of left field and...

...a view of right field, over the shoulders of the bobbleheads.


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 larger.

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: Click here.

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 larger.

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 application.

The second bobblehead is now completed.  Notice the highlights and how they make the plastic look like plastic.

With the baseball glove and ball rendered, all that is left are the two kids.

The young boy is finished.  I thing he looks great!

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 larger image.