Tribute to Walter Payton "Sweetness"
14"x20" Fine Art Giclee on Canvas signed and numbered
22"x32" Fine Art Giclee on Canvas signed and numbered
Walter Payton is one of the most beloved professional football players ever and he had that great nickname - "Sweetness'' - yet he was also known as a warrior and is famous for never running out of bounds. He would just put his head down and try to get another yard or so. He would stiff-arm tacklers or do a stutter step and he'd keep running.
When a client asked me to do an oil painting of Payton, I wanted it to be really special. I studied photographs, videos and I had seen him in person several times. I followed the Bucs here in Tampa and once a year the Bears would come to play them. In the early years there'd be absolutely no Bucs fans there at all, just Bears fans. And the stadium would sell out.
In my first sketches, I had Payton running, but I ended up with just the pose of him standing in front of Soldier's Field, because I wanted him to be more of a presence than an athlete. There's such depth to his personality and his legend, and its grown since he died at a very young age - 45 - from a rare liver disease. Everyone said he was joyful and childlike, that he loved to play practical jokes, but at the same time he was so determined and strong as a player. He just constantly impressed his teammates, coaches and football fans with his athletic skill.