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It just so happens that I was commissioned to paint a picture of Jack Nicklaus for the Canterbury Golf Club in Beachwood, Ohio. It was there in 1973 that Nicklaus won the PGA Championship, giving him his record-setting 14th major title, surpassing Bobby Jones. He later went on to win four more major tournaments, a record that still stands.
The painting was based on a famous photo taken at the tournament. After finishing one of the holes, Nicklaus’ four-year-old son Gary (now a professional golfer), having been cajoled by his mischievous older brother Jack Jr., crawled under the security ropes and ran out onto the green to greet his father. Jack hoisted him into his arms and Cleveland Plain Dealer Newspaper photographer Ray Matjasic snapped a black and white photo. Jack Nicklaus is quoted as saying that it is his favorite photo.
I can make up colors from black and white images if I have to, especially skin tones, but instead I scoured the Internet and found color photos taken of Jack and his son Gary at that very tournament, possibly the same day that the famous photo was snapped. The clothing on both of them matched the black and white photo perfectly. So this is historically accurate, not that it matters much. The Nicklaus Foundation also helped with some critical details. I would post the photo here but there might be some copyright issues. You can find it online.
Canterbury appropriately chose today, Father’s Day, for the unveiling of the painting to its members. They have a whole room dedicated to Jack Nicklaus, as well as rooms dedicated to four other famous golfers. This is the third portrait painting I have done for them (so far). They tried to get Jack to fly in for the ceremony, but the trip from Florida to the Cleveland area proved to be too burdensome. Instead, he will be participating either through Zoom or sending a video message. I’m not sure of the details. The unveiling is at 3:00 PM Eastern time, so if you don’t hear from me or my wife @caryn around then, you will know why.
Here’s a sneak peek at the painting and a wonderful Father’s Day greeting to all of you fathers out there. A special appreciation to my own father James, also an artist, who died ten years ago. He taught me everything I know!