A recent custom piece that was done was a commission for an eighth grade graduation present. What was special about this project was that the player just started playing the goalie position in the sixth grade. Aside from being the artist who was hired to do the piece, I was also the person asked to be his coach.
Lukas - the name of the player - started out as a field player playing the attack and midfield positions at an early age. When he reached the sixth grade him and another player graciously filled the vacant spot of the goaltender position. The coaches on the team asked if I was up to the task to coach them, on what I truly believe, is the hardest position on the lacrosse field! I felt honored to do it.
Like in any custom art commission the pencil stage is crucial as it sets the foundation, but because it’s pencil it can still be erased, or altered. The same goes for training a young neophyte in the goal you don’t shoot fast right away, rather a pass and catch to see if they can track the ball. Then you alter and adjust as needed.
The blocking in of ink and putting on the first layers of color act as a guide to building confidence in the piece. The same goes for shooting harder, faster and training the goalie to now be quicker and agile in the goal. Lukas was getting a rhythm and a basic understanding of the position.
But it wasn’t just the figure you had to focus on in the piece, there were also other objects that had to get as much attention in making the piece of art stand out as a whole. The goal and the net required exact detail in order to make the piece authentic with each rope almost a different shade, and the pole a variety of highlights. That same attention was turned to Lukas by teaching him the art of clearing the ball after the save, along with proper terminologies to manage the defense as a unit.
Lukas was experiencing success as a goalie that made him play the position all the way through eighth grade, with a new focus on taking it to the high school level. As a coach, my personal success is most often not in the W-L columns, but in the renewed spirits and personalities that were develop in the individual. When his mom commissioned me for this project the competitive lacrosse player in me – a goalie – did not want to fail.
His mom sent me a photo of Lukas holding up the framed original piece, which is something I ask customers of the original art products to do. When I look at it, I will always see two things that required two different skills - polar opposite skills - to execute, which enabled me to have a career. I hope that I succeeded in both.
'Lukas' - 11x14 inches, mixed media and watercolor on heavy watercolor paper.
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All images © Vincent Ricasio of The Art of Sports, LLC.