Tennis as a Sketch Theme

Here is the latest from my Art House Co-Op sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project 2011. Worked on this during the first quarter of last weeks bummer of a Steeler game. I love tennis and I love photography. I shot this at a USTA men’s “Futures” event that is held in the sunny South Hills suburbs of Pittsburgh every summer.  I have a load of these types of shots to sketch from. Come to think of it, this could’ve been a nice theme for the entire book. I could’ve started out with sketches early on in the book, worked into some full blown renderings of players, then capped it off with a small oil on canvas slapped into the book. Oh well, as they say in Paris, “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts...” or something like that.

The good thing about sketching tennis players in action is that you get practice at the figure and proportions, as well as getting to do some clothing folds and “drapery” so to speak, which is always useful practice for backgrounds in oil paintings. The only bad thing I can think of is that the style of sports clothes follows the “pants on the ground”, hip hop look, that’s popular with kids today. Those baggy clothes really makes it tough at times to see the figure under there. Ever see what Andy Roddick wears on court? Looks like he’s wearing a hefty garbage bag. Slowly though, the style seems to be changing (Thank you Under Armour brand!).

I did this painting a few years back of tennis great Pete Sampras and his baggy clothes. Didn't shoot this one however. Perhaps I went too far with all the folds. Another lesson learned - simplify.