~Jimmy Graham~an inspiration, not just a great athlete

As an artist painting athletes, I struggle with who I will be my next subject.  My artwork is just like any other business.  I paint in hopes of making money.  I wish I could say I just painted for pleasure, although I do love my work, it is just that…work.  I believe I do as much preparation, as I do painting, if not more.  My goal is to produce work that will appeal to the mass majority of people and sell reproductions of my work.  I began doing sports art as a gift to my son…but I kept painting football plays and players because I truly enjoy it, but mostly because I hope it will sell.  I also think men should have artwork that is geared to pleasing them.  I was amazed at my last showing how many men actually enjoyed looking at my work and critiquing it too…and that was a first!!!  So now when women drag their husbands to the art events that I participate in, they will have art to view that they truly enjoy.  With all that said, painting Saints themed work is my goal at the present.  And trying to figure out who to paint next is always on my mind…

When I decided to paint Jimmy Graham, I did so because he has become outrageously popular with Saints fans.  But in my preparation to start my painting, which always includes learning about the player and studying their physical attributes, I learned so much more about the man, not just the player.  This video sums up Jimmy Grahams sad and tragic childhood until one woman saved him.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4vCGl71nTM  I am not ashamed to say I cried.  And to see Jimmy Graham’s beautiful smile, you would never know how much he suffered as a child.  Watching him play after you know about his childhood, you have a new found understanding about why he gives so much.  Jimmy Graham plays with heart…MUCH heart!!!  If you have any doubt just watch this you tube video.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRINyEI9kyI  UNBELIEVABLE!!!

Jimmy is an inspiration to other children who are also unloved and unwanted because he gives them hope.  More importantly is he is an inspiration to all who have a dream and want a better life.  My admiration for him as a person goes way beyond just his fantastic ability to make a one handed catch…I hope I captured that admiration in my painting of him.

I feel that all the Saints players I have painted are great athletes, exceptional men and special in their own way.  I wish I could paint them all.  In my opinion what separates our team from so many other NFL teams, is genuine HEART.  I truly believe that Sean Payton makes that a prerequisite for drafting players.  If a player can’t get it done based on sheer skill and physical ability, they will make up for those short comings by sheer heart and determination.  I love that about our team.  Of course we have so many talented skilled amazing players, but one thing they all have in common is HEART.  We have a special team no doubt.  When I say I love the Saints, I really mean that.

With all that said,  here is my new artwork of Jimmy Graham.  I hope you enjoy.

Jimmy Graham by Denise Dunham

Jimmy Graham-close up-by Denise Dunham

Who is next???  …………………………..Marques Colston.  JUST WAIT…I looked for days, not just hours, and I feel the picture I decided to paint is just perfect.