Updated 4.3.13
THE NCAA 75th Anniversary Project
This last year I was commissioned by the NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) to paint one painting to comemmorate each winner of the NCAA D1 Basketball Tournament Winner back to its start in 1939 to celebrate the NCAA's 75th Anniversary. The originals were unveilied all this year at each of the 35 schools around the counrty. There will be prints of each of them as well. The benefits are the NABCs innercity literacy program and the schools. The entire painting will be on display in Bracketown in Atlanta during the Final Four and then move to its permanent home at the College Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City next Fall. There have been interviews I have conducted with coaches and players that will be made into a coffee table book availabe next Fall as well. You can follow the progress and unveilings from the entire journey on the Facebook site.  
….and the very next day…the Dodgers present to Joe Torre!
10 days to work with and a major presentation the day before across the country…no problem. The Dodgers wanted to honor Joe Torre for this time spent in Los Angeles with a painting that paid close attention to two things. This first was his time with the Dodgers and two, a story that he recounts in his book “Chasing the Dream”. This story goes back to 1961 Spring Training in Bradenton, Florida with the Milwaukee when Joe hit a home run off Hall of Fame Yankee Whitey Ford and watched the ball fly over the head of Mickey Mantle. The caveat? No reference whatsoever. So in ten days, and with the help of Marion Kusnick of the Milwaukee Public Library, an accurate picture of exactly what that moment may have looked like took shape. That image, with further photography help from Chris Van Zant of the Braves (the day before), was “ghosted” into the bright LA sky behind Joe in the painting. Joe featured in his LA whites with his familiar hands in his back pockets pose. It was a great moment to be a little part of.
The Year of Bobby Cox

The beginning of this year started with the 2010 Braves Media Guide cover. A publication that garnered much praise throughout the year because it contained no text on the front, only the image of the painting was present. It showed Bobby standing in his “rally spot” at the end of the Braves dugout looking out on the field. The year culminated in the presentation of a new painting of Bobby standing in his customary place in the dugout. Surrounding him are "ghosted" moments from his career in baseball. The painting was made into 40,000 posters that were passed out after the game. Bobby managed some time after the game to talk about the painting and take some pictures. Each of these images are available in Limited Edition of 25 prints on canvas.

 

 

AROD Honoured By His Teammates
In a closed door, team-only meeting, organized by Andy Petitte, the Yankees presented Alex Rodriguez with a painting commemorating his 600th home run this past August. Set up at one end of the clubhouse, it was introduced by team captain Derek Jeter and unveiled with aplomb by Mariano Rivera and Robinson Cano. A long explanation of the painting ensued with members of the Yankees asking questions from content to methodology. Following the presentation, the slugger was so anxious to have the painting up in his home that a trip into Manhattan and a stop at the local Home Depot were necessary to drive the painting over during the game and hang the art work.
The Yankees to honor Derek Jeter

On September 11th Yankee Captain Derek Jeter, with a sharp single to right field against the Baltimore Orioles, passed Lou Gehrig on the All Time Yankee Hits List. His teammates were trying to decide what to give the King of New York to honor the occasion. They thought it has to be unique; it has to be different; it has to be one of a kind…Andy Pettitte thought of Opie. A late night call from Andy following the fisticuffs on the field with Tampa Bay set the wheels in motion. Now, nothing on a short deadline by Opie could be done simply and easy…especially when it’s going to be presented on the field at Yankee Stadium. So phone calls were made to the Hall of Fame, the Louisville Slugger Company, the Smithsonian Institute, and Woodcraft (and a trip to the mall) got the painting in motion. A Lou Gehrig model bat, a Derek Jeter gamer, a Yankee Jersey, a sliver of a game-used Gehrig bat, Yankee dirt from both stadiums, and a fine piece of ash all went into the painting. It will be presented on the 29th of September during a pre-game ceremony on the field.

 

"The Astros 300 Home Run Club
When Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee, and ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez became the first players in history to reach the 300 career home run mark for the same team in the same season, the team and the Minute Maid Company teamed up to commission a painting of the three players. It was short notice, so to help expedite the painting Opie enlisted his two ballplayer patrons to get the exact image he wanted to paint. So during batting practice, he had them pose with their bats pointed at his camera lens. This turned out to be the only posed photo of the three of them together as Pudge was traded a few days later. The painting was made into artcards and was passed out to the fans at Minute Maid Park on September 4th. The original painting now dawns the entry way of the Minute Maid Company in Houston.
"All roads lead through Texas…”
It was once said about the first Texan Hall of Famer and Opie’s son’s namesake, Tris Speaker, that “all the roads in his life led him through Texas.” Because it seemed no matter where he was going, he would find a way to stop off in his home state. It also seems that Texans, no matter where they hang their hat, seem to find Opie’s work on their walls. Recently, Boston Red Sox ace and native Texan, Josh Beckett, saw one of the World Series show paintings that Opie created, featuring him throwing the first pitch of the World Series in 2007. In the Boston night sky are ghosted images of the retired numbers. When Boston came through Arlington (yes, Texas), the painting was delivered in front of Josh’s teammates and clubhouse crew.
Green Day
Opie Otterstad was recently invited to spend an evening with Mike Dirnt of Green Day before their concert in Houston. The Green Day tour manager and guru Doug Goodman collaborated with Opie on a surprise for Mike that featured his son Brixton (yes, named after the great Clash song, “Guns of Brixton”) attending his first major league game at Wrigley Field. The unveiling backstage a few hours before the show brought out an emotional reaction from the Green Day bassist. As a thanks for the surprise he presented Opie with a custom Mike Dirnt Fender Bass. Play it or frame it?...PLAY IT!!!!
The 2009 Astro Wives Gala
Astros ace Roy Oswalt was the feature in the original painting that was donated to the Wives Gala this year. He is unleashing a fastball that was the first pitch thrown in a World Series game in the city of Houston. It depicts much of the surrounding ballpark. The large Citgo sign, the train, and the left field wall are all depicted in the painting. The evening was a great success. Even Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio came out to the festivities..it seemed like old times.
The Phillies Roster World Series Painting
When the Phillies won the World Series several of the players wondered when the Opie painting would debut? Would it be at Spring Training or the home opener? Would they have to wait until the late season trip to Houston? The answer came when they visited Kissimmee this March. Waiting for them as they came off the bus into the visiting locker room was the original, multi-panel World Series Roster Painting. It features all the Phillies on the roster as well as a center panel that depicts Brad Lidge dropping to his knees in celebration. Jimmy Rollins and many of his teammates will hang prints of the painting in their homes this off-season. Two sizes of prints were made of the monster 40” x 80” painting. There is a full-size version and a smaller 42-inch high version.
Yankee Brett Tomko Art(icle)
Brett Tomko and Opie have been friends for years. You see, Brett is not only a pitcher for the Yankees, he is also an artist. So conversations in the clubhouse sound much different than the usual locker room chatter. During the off season, Brett will sometimes call Opie with an art related conundrum. Opie has gone so far as to film his answer to help Brett with a technique or two. Brett has a real passion for art and is always looking to grow. When the Newark Star Ledger came to interview Brett about his artistic pursuits, he thought they should get Opie’s take on it as well. After a long interview, the following article paints a nice picture here.
The DiceK Painting
After his historic hit in the 2007 World Series and a private visit to the Opie Otterstad World Series Show in Boston that year, Daisuke Matsuzaka of the Red Sox commissioned a painting that captured his own World Series moment. Opie created a two-panel painting that features DiceK staring down a batter as he delivers the first pitch of his World Series start. The left panel shows the first RBI by a Red Sox pitcher in a World Series game since…Babe Ruth. It was a pretty long time coming. The middle features the same model bat that DiceK uses mounted in a box painted with green monster green paint. The bat is painted with an elongated print by the famous Japanese artist Hokusai. Buddy Lewis of Nokona was gracious enough to send the Nokona model bat that he used.
Bloc Party lead singer in a Spaghetti Western!
When London rock band and personal Opie ipod repeat offender Bloc Party rolled though his neighborhood at the Warehouse Live! In Houston, he felt compelled to act. Meeting with lead singer Kele Okereke before the show and displaying some previous music paintings and images featuring each of the band members, a set of paintings was agreed upon. The first of which features Kele in a red light, elongated like a spaghetti western. Next on the easel is bass player, Gordon Moakes.
New Decks
What does an artist do in his spare time? Opie paints things just for fun. Some of his skateboarding friends encouraged some designs for their own shop decks. So taking a page from the Jeff Koons and Marylin Minter Supreme Decks, a number of very limited edition decks were created for a few shops here in Texas. Regiment Boardshop, Capital Skatepark and Proshop, and Kingpinz in Houston all had decks made this year. Signed Limited Edition decks are available, but they are in very small numbers of 33 only.
The Last All Star Game at Yankee Stadium
Back At POP! International Gallery for the All Star Game Show. The select few artists that are officially liscensed by MLB were invited to participate in a group show at POP! Stephen Holland, Brian Fox, Burton Morris, Bill Purdom, and Opie filled the walls while a gallery full of people knoshed on Hot Dogs and Cotton Candy. The center piece of the center wall the featured Opie's work was the original Babe and Kids painting. Former Dodger great, Steve Sax purchased the original a few days later. Splitting time with the show in Soho was the Art of the Game booth at the Javitz Convention Center. The new piece at both shows was the 1927 Yankees Celebration painting. It featured a new image of the famed Murder's Row Yankees in a dogpile on the field in the House that Ruth Built. Attending the All Star Game started with a great thrill and became a war of attrition. Staying until the last out was recorded, it seemed as if the ghost of the Babe didn't want to let go of the old grounds.
The Sox Invade Houston
When the interleague baseball schedule brought the Boston Red Sox to town is was a wonderful opportunity to show off some of the Boston pieces from the World Series. A month prior Eric Gagne stopped in with the Brewers and purchased two of the sculptures as a gift for Varitek and Papelbon. When the two players came through the clubhouse and saw the sculpture for the first time, they were elated to find out they already owned one. The most progressive painting from the World Series works was entitled Inside the Green Monster. It is a bolt-for-bolt replica of an inside panel of the Green Monster. From the front you peer in a lighted slot, just like the scorekeepers do a Fenway Park. In that slot is a painting from that viewpoint of a Red Sox night game versus the Yankees. The entire piece is lit from the inside. CoCo Crisp, the speedy centerfielder and World of Warcraft fanatic, loved the piece and purchased for his Los Angeles home. Interviews with a number of Boston media ensued including NESN during the broadcast of the game.

The Rolling Stones Show at POP! International Gallery
In the window of this polished NY fixture in Soho rested the Ron Wood Picks Mosaic. As patrons approached this polished NY gallery fixture in Soho they were greeted by the Ron Wood Picks Mosaic. Standing eight feet high by four feet wide it could be seen from down the street. The show was a great success. There was a couple from Puerto Rico there that purchased an Andy Warhol piece before they saw the mosaic. Seeing the sales slip for an Andy Warhol in favor of your own is quite a thrill.

The Boston World Series Show
Once again the eyes of the baseball world fell upon Boston. Opening Day, the ring ceremony and the unveiling of the World Series Celebration Painting at Newbury Fine Arts. For the second time in four years a full scale show of prints and original works filled every wall of this beautiful gallery. The show also featured the very first sculpture by Opie of Jonathan Paplebon and Jason Varitek embracing after the final out of the series. Todd Jones of the Tigers stopped by on opening night. DiceK and his family also stopped by for a private tour during the week.

The Last Game of Craig Biggio

Emotion. Sentiment. Nostalgia. The sense that a chapter of life is coming to a close. There has been a continuity of family within the Houston Astros that has been passed down from Nolan to Drabek to Bagwell, Caminiti, and Craig Biggio. This has been the extended family of this artist for 25 years. So, when the torch was passed today, it was a sad moment. Some of the early successes that built the momentum of an art career started with the family Biggio. It is a friendship that will continue for years to come, but there will be a vacuum in that clubhouse that will be palpable. It was an honor to be included in the festivities on this special day as the Astros used the painting that sold at the Wives Gala (see previous two entries) as an “I WAS THERE” art card giveaway. The folks in the scoreboard department also used an older painting of Biggio in a “Thanks for the Memories” freeze on the biggest scoreboard in the park. There are a very limited amount of giclee prints available of Biggio’s 3000th hit. Contact the studio for details.

The Sunshine Kids Gala
Two nights later….Craig Biggio’s own Sunshine Kids Gala near Medical Center in Houston. Another large crowd was in attendance to support the Sunshine Kids and the programs they offer which give children with cancer the opportunity to spend some quality fun time away from the hospital. Since Craig and Patty started this event 17 years ago, the studio has donated original work to this event. The event organizer, Toby Holt, wanted to do something special to commemorate Craig’s historic year and all that he has meant to the Sunshine Kids. At the end of the evening with the original from the Astro Wives Gala on hand, a show of auction paddles was held to purchase a limited edition giclee of the painting to be signed by the artist and Craig. Forty-five people raised their paddles to purchase a print for $1000. In two nights this one painting raised $75,000 for two worthy causes. Afterwards Craig and his family were presented with a special painting that depicted he and his family celebrating right after hit 3000. It was a personal heirloom to a family with 14 walls that already show Opie’s work.

The Astro Wives Gala 2007
There are two charity organizations that have been involved with the studio for 17 years. This year their Galas happened on the same weekend. The first was the Houston Astro Wives Gala held on the field at Minute Maid Park. It benefits the Houston Area Women’s Center that provides a great service to families in the city of Houston. The painting was a surprise live auction item. The ambitious work depicts Craig Biggio collecting his 3000th career hit. Surrounding him are four boxes that have small portraits of the other 26 members of the 3000 Hit Club. It caused quite a stir in the crowd as it was brought up and unveiled for the first time to the crowd of over 800. The paint was still a little wet when the gavel fell at $30,000. It was the largest auction item for the event. A very limited number of prints are available to collectors. They are giclee on canvas. Please contact the studio for details.

A Gift for LaRussa
When the Cardinals ownership was deciding what to present to Tony LaRussa to commemorate his 1042 victory as Cardinal manager, the general fodder was considered until trainer Barry Weinberg suggested a painting. That victory was a milestone that moved him above Hall of Famer, Red Schoendienst, as the all-time wins leader as a manager in St. Louis Cardinals history. Now, while this was a great idea, this was also the Monday before the record was broken, placing the presentation on the well-attended Labor Day Weekend in St. Louis. With every commission pushed back a week, Opie put together a painting of Tony and Red in front of the scoreboard at Busch Stadium III in record time. As the painting was unveiled to the sold-out crowd, Tony was appropriately warned that the paint might still be tacky due to the fact that not 45 minutes before the game, it was as yet incomplete. Mike Shannon had Opie as his guest on his post-game show on 550 and the St. Louis Post Dispatch featured a colour photo of the painting the next day.

ArtExpo 2007
Once again the traveling gypsies of the art world converge on the Javitz Center in Manhattan for the largest exhibition of its kind. This year there were only two new paintings from this studio. Each of these paintings took about a month to paint. The first of which is a celebration painting for the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers. It features many of the key players running out onto the field at Yankee Stadium following the last out of game 7. About a year of reading and research went into this painting’s completion. The second painting that was unveiled at Expo was an animal of a different spot. Seven years since it was conceived, the Babe Ruth and Kids Painting was finished just in time for the show. There is a very famous photograph of Babe Ruth, in a boater’s hat, in the midst of a sea of children. Seeing this photograph led to a sense of wonder as to the stories of the children that are anonymous, but immortal in this moment. What if those children all had a story? What if each of those children grew up to be a Hall of Famer? So over the last seven years a collection of photographs, featuring Hall of Famers as children, was amassed by the studio to replace each of these children. The result features 56 different players in their youth surrounding the Babe. There is a sense of satisfaction and loss in the completion of this work. It has been a long time coming. Evenings in NYC were spent at dinners with friends from the agency and the oldest of friends and hosts for the week.

Ladies and Gentleman.....The Rolling Stones
  Those of you not up on the Rolling Stones continuing story, this legendary rock quartet played the capital of Texas for the first time on October 22. In conjunction with that show, Ron Wood the guitarist for the band, also had an art opening at Art on 5th. Ron has been a painter for years, and as his style has matured, so has his notoriety. Ron is represented by the Limelight Agency just as this studio is, so our artistic paths were bound to cross at some point – why not on the first trip here? Some years ago an idea came up during a trip to a guitar store: to use guitar picks as tessari for use in a mosaic. As the years have passed the opportunity to bring this idea to fruition has never come up, so Ron was chosen as the subject for the first mosaic to be unveiled at his show at Art on 5th. Logistically, it was bit challenging. Where does one purchase the 20,000 picks needed to complete such a work of art? The answer came from the fine folks at Ernie Ball. On short notice, they rallied to put together the order and ship it out, just in time to complete the piece. It was still ripe with the smell of glue when it was unveiled to oohs and ahhs at the show. Ron and his wife Jo were both blown away by the 8-foot by 4-foot work. The discussion of its completion went on for a while, when Ron decided it needed a Stones touch. Pulling a tongue logo guitar pick from his pocket, he slid it in between two picks in the mosaic. A closer look at the eye reveals what seems like a mess. The following Stones show at Zilker Park in Austin took on special meaning and was experienced like few people in the 50,000 crowd. Viva la Rock!

Skateboarding for Old Timers
 When does an artist get to go home again? The feet of this painter spent a great deal of time on and falling off a skateboard as a rebel youth. Now, twenty years later, a return to the 8-foot half pipe has prompted some new works. It is always good to take the creativity out for a spin, and the resulting images are the continuing effort to explore this subject. While the falling part certainly hurts more that it used to, the thrill of propelling oneself into the air on 4 little wheels is well worth a few bumps and bruises..Some of the recent paintings from that return to danger can be seen here.

The Front Row TLU Woodcut
  For the third year, a hand-pulled woodcut was created for the Texas Lutheran University Front Row Event at Union Station in Houston. This year, the honoree was Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros. This year he embarks on his 20th year with the team he started with. If he stays healthy, his 3000th hit should come later in the season. Craig, being an old family friend and patron, made completing the work this year a great honor.

Nokona
  In the tiny Texas town of Nocona, Texas is the factory of the last major baseball glove maker in the United States. Nokona Ballgoves have been around since the 1930’s. When this artist was a boy there was a local sporting goods store that carried Nokona Gloves. Now these gloves were the most expensive gloves in the store and found of the top shelf of the glove section. Well out of reach in both height and wallet. The Reverend Marcus Otterstad would gladly pull them down for his son to see, feel, and smell what a one hundred dollar glove was like. Dream, covent, wish for, desire, obsess, use whatever term you like, that was the mountain top of baseball gear to this young boy. When the time came to leave home and go off to St. Olaf College, and the question arose as to the last gift to a sentimental child? The choice was simple and a 10 year wish was granted, a Nokona 12” outfielders glove. While over the years over 50 gloves have made their way into the studio, this one is prized like an heirloom above all others. When Nokona began to develop a more global marketing strategy recently, a chance meeting between Nokona CEO, Buddy Lewis and this story came about - and from it a friendship. So if you see Opie around the clubhouse or the stadium, and you notice the leather satchel he is sporting, know that it is more than just a bag, its a Nokona. You can visit them on the web at nokona.com

St Louis Celebration Painting!
  There is some extra meaning in this year’s World Series Celebration Painting. There are some teams and some cities that make for great stories when they win. Each year the team is a special group of individuals. Then there are those that are very personal. The latter is the case with the Cardinals' victory last year. Every since the passing of our good friend, Darryl Kile, the city of St. Louis and its ballclub have been very close at heart. So the victory last October was a great personal moment. The celebration has more players packed into the fray than ever before. The scoreboard features Tony Larussa on the jumbotron as well as the box score, and the years of previous winners. The first year of a new stadium was important at Fenway way back in 1912. Perhaps the new Busch stadium will carry the same venerable mystique (without the whole curse thing). There is a 30" x 40" Limited Edition Giclee' available. Please call or email for details.

St Louis Helicopter Trip
  Sometimes foresight and planning can lead to great moments in out lives. Sometimes the lack of said planning can do the same. Artists would tend to be more likely on the backside of that equation. In the case of the Busch Stadium Paintings, the latter is certainly the case. While photographing the last days of Old Busch Stadium, the very last shot in the Canon was from high atop the Millenium Hotel across the street. The house lights of red and yellow illuminated the archs around the silent old dame. In the painting the large negative space of the night sky was kept and filled with ghosted images of great moments in that park. Ozzie, Lou, Big Mac, Sir Albert, Stan on the mouth harp, Jack Buck, the 67 and 82 team moments and even an image for Darryl Kile are all present in the night sky above old Busch. When the beautiful new stadium was built a daytime painting to mirror the night time painting of the old stadium was born. Shown from the opposite angle, looking down and back toward the river and the Arch was the choice for the painting. This plan had a minor caviat. There is no building on that side of the stadium from which to photograph down. Calling around to the local airports a great Cardinal fan was found that also happened to be a helicopter pilot. So hanging out of a small helicopter, several passes, at differeing heights, brought about a photograph that was the basis for this matching painting. In the new painting, the World Series Trophy can be seen in the sky over the arch. A number of Limited Edition Giclee' Prints on canvas are available.

Texas Baseball Hall of Fame

  The inductees for this year’s class brought an unexpected woman’s touch to the festivities. With the induction of three proud Texas members of the All American Girls Baseball League (AAGBL) and the Astros own power broker, Pam Gardner the stage was set for a unique tribute. The other inductees included Astros greats, Terry Puhl and Rusty Staub. The class was rounded out by the original founders of the Houston Colt 45’s, Judge Roy Hofeinz, George Kirksey, and Bob Smith. The weekend coincided with the reunion for the AAGBL so the ladies were out in force to see in Marie Mahoney and honor Tex Lessing and Alva Jo Fischer. The grand finale’ was an inpomptu singing of the AAGBL theme song while a group of a hundred former players stood and sang. It was moving and a great tribute to what that league meant. Prints are available. They are 16" x 20" on canvas.

The Babe and Kids Painting
  What does a painting that took 7 years to complete look like? Take a very famous photograph of the most iconic figure in baseball. The photo features Babe Ruth in a small town trainstop along a barnstorming trip amidst a sea of children. The Sultan of Swat is in the eye of this youthful storm wearing his best boater hat and a coat and tie. Even out of uniform his mug is unmistakable and his presence is commanding. Coming across this photo in books over the years led to a curiosity as to the stories of the children as much as a story about the Babe. What if we knew these children? What if we knew some of the tales that these children’s lives told from that brush with baseball immortality? What if one of these kids went on to be a baseball legend themselves..what if all of them did? The Babe Ruth and Kids Painting took seven years of collection and replacement. Photographs of as many baseball Hall of Famers that didn’t play with the King of Crash have been carefully placed in the stead and attire of the unknown children that were there in history. 56 Hall of Famers in total comprise the sea of children. Can you pick some of them out with out looking at the key? There are no slights. Players were only omitted if in those seven years a photo could not be found. It is the culmination of a lot of hours sifting through photos and player biographies. Thanks to Eric Enders for his invaluable assistance while at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Chicago White Sox Show in the Windy City
Setting aside my home team loyalties for one painting was tough. Taking into consideration what the victory for the Sox means to baseball history and the fans of the Southside team on the junior circuit, it was easy. Eighty-eight years they have waited for a Series win, so for each year there was one inch of paint on the original canvas. Overall, it stands 88” wide by 68” tall. This World Series painting has more players than any of its predecessors. An early arrival in Chicago allowed some rare free time on the first night. What better to do than draw? A trip to the local Michael’s and a patient limo driver from the hotel allowed for a nice charcoal of Shoeless Joe Jackson to emerge in time for the show. After some press interviews the first few days, Saturday was the unveiling during pre-game against the Indians at US Cellular Field (Comiskey Park to the old schoolers). Included in this ceremony was the presentation of the 2005 Team of the Year from the United States Sports Academy. Two birds….Afterwards, we embarked on a winding drive out to The Great Frame Up in Oak Lawn for the show. Originals and Limited Editions were greeted warmly by a large group of baseball fans. The evening was spent telling stories and signing some dedications on the Limited Editions. Everyone had a great time. You can find out more about the prints at www.whitesoxvictory.com.
The Longhorn Foundation Auction and Golf Tournament at Barton Creek
On the Sunday night before all the little white balls could ruin the weekend was the live auction and dinner for the Longhorn Foundation. Mr. Dodds, Coach Mack Brown, and Coach Darrell K. Royal were all in attendance. The event was a swank affair with several magnificent items up for bid. Along with the first three prints from the UT Edition of the Championship painting was a one-of-a-kind giclée of the original that was almost the same size as the 106” x 60” monster. Each panel was stretched individually on different stretcher bars like the original. While the three prints brought $5000 each, the big one brought $25,000. To top it all off the food was really good, too – a charity function anomaly.
A Hometown Introduction
With the buzz around the University of Texas Painting and Limited Editions, a show was held at Art on 5th in Austin. With four months of work on 10 new originals, it was the most time dedicated to a single event in succession. The show featured a VIP party the first night which included many folks from over at “The Forty Acres,” including athletic director Deloss Dodds. The show also featured a “this is your life” crowd from the Opie’s past. Friends and family from all over came in for the show. It was a trip down memory interstate. Following the Sunday night open house at the gallery is the news item above this one.

The Unveiling of the University of Texas painting!

On May 6th and 7th at ART of 5th we will be displaying the UT National Championship painting for the first time. The painting is being made into limited giclees and lithographs. Those prints will be available at the show. “Just one painting?”, you ask? Of course not. There will be 10 new originals featuring UT on display as well. ART on 5th is one of the finest art galleries in Austin. It is an all day affair, so stop by and say hello on Saturday or Sunday (check the ART on 5th website for hours) The painting will hang there for two days. It will then journey crosstown to hang permanently at the Moncrief-Neuhaus Athletics Center on campus.

The Robert Horry Show at Gallery 319
It seems that some things come full circle in life. When a young artist was starting out in Houston selling paintings to professional athletes and toting a large folio, he humbly sported a few pairs of well-worn twin-tone spectators and waited hours to talk to the people who the paintings were painted of and for. Robert Horry was a rookie in Houston in those years and thought paintings were the last thing he needed or appreciated. However, a friendship was born. Two years ago, after five championships, Big Shot Rob decided a painting might be a good idea to commemorate this achievement. One afternoon was spent at Westside Tennis Club in Houston shooting reference with Robert taking three-pointers with a soccerball (the basketballs had all been knicked). Fast forward 4 months, with the now six–panel monster completed and a three-day trip to Los Angeles on the schedule for the Spurs, a show and a print were planned. About a hundred invited guests joined us at Gallery 319 for the show. Artist and Basketball player alike told some stories and relived some fond memories. A great time was had by all.
USSA Presents Award…again
The United States Sports Academy (USSA) show in Daphne, Alabama, opened on March 9th. The day after returning from New York, a very small plane flying to Mobile, Alabama, carried a nervous artist and an unfinished painting to the Academy's headquarters for the show. After a long night of finishing touches on “Andy’s World,” the opening was held from 5 to 7 pm. The lower gallery at their beautiful museum was wall to wall with works. The folks at ICAF also had paintings on display from the “Children’s Olympics Contest.” It was a great evening of conversation and rubbing elbows with patrons from the area. Along with a second medal presentation, councilman Gus Palumbo from Daphne also presented the Key to the City. It was quite an honor for an artist, or anyone for that matter. "Andy's World" will be the next limited edition giclee'. Check out more about the show here.
Art Expo 2006
A family affair in NYC this time was the featured theme for this trip to New York. This year provided us the opportunity to make some new friends and see some unexpected old ones. The newest addition to the Limelight stable is Paul Karslake. He is the brother-in-law of Rolling Stones’ guitar player Ron Wood. His reputation over in England is storied and deep. His sense of humor and anecdotes are what make the man. After “almost meeting” on Thursday, we spent the better part of five hours on Friday exchanging stories and cutting up. The mischief and light mood affected everyone in the Limelight booth, including Stephen Holland. Paul’s nephew Ty was in town as well, so conversation of Arsenal Football Club’s triumph over Real Madrid was the talk of the evening. Friday night there was a reception for Sebastian Kruger at Pop International Gallery in SOHO. Sebastian is another new addition to our merry band of artists and scribes. Sunday saw the completion of the White Sox painting so it can be scanned for prints back in California. Dinner at Surrey’s Indian Restaurant in the West Village was a highlight of the cuisine this trip. We also hit Lombardi’s, Rizzo’s, and the Carnegie Deli for some cheesecake.
ICAF World Cup Figure comes to life!

So the day after the LA trip was the first meeting of 20 young art all-stars from the Austin area coming together to complete the figurine for the ICAF Show over in Munich. The countries that are participating in the World Cup have been asked to have children from those lands decorate a full-size mannequin representing their country. A local teacher and old friend, Rebecca McCombs, worked very hard to assemble 8 elementary, 6 middle-school, and 6 high-school students who were chosen by their art teachers as being exceptional. This proved to be the case. The first two-hour meeting was a brainstorming session to create a clear vision of what the figure would look like. The following day was spent in a one-man scavenger hunt around Austin amassing the laundry list of items that the group came up with. Saturday the 11th, at 10 am the team reconvened and set forth the task of artistic interpretation. The fine folks from JenKev Productions were there to film and take photographs of the event. At 5 pm a steam whistle blew and “Ms. America” was complete. Every single participant was hammer and tongs throughout the entire day. It was an inspirational sight. Every aspect of the figure is symbolic to some aspect of being an American. Some of the concepts are literal, and some are abstract. As a collective, they brought different strengths and different ideas into a work of art that is cohesive as one sculpture. It is amazing. An endorsement from Major League Soccer was great as well. Thanks to MLS, Cedar Park ISD, the parents and teachers, and ICAF for a great concept. Check out some of the photos here.

Figure Front Figure Back
Group Photo Head Detail
Feet Detail Neck Detail
Shoulder Detail Mechanical Wing Detail

 

One Man Show in Santa Monica
Another trip to Los Angeles was unlike other ventures to the West Coast. It is the land of surreal people and experiences. This was no exception. With a one-man show looming at Gallery 319, the unveiling of the White Sox Painting , and the presentation of the USSA Sports Artist of the Year Award at the end of the trip, one might think it may be a trip short on recreation. Not so. After driving the paintings out to Los Angeles and assisting in hanging the show, I had a couple of days to see friends and make new ones. The second day was spent painting at the studio of Victoria Fuller. She is a fine painter with some great ideas. That evening was spent at the Playboy Mansion for dinner and a movie. Victoria was gracious enough to invite a fish-out-of-water along. The obligatory tour of the grounds included the infamous grotto; and a photo with the Hugh Hefner, but the best activity of the tour was feeding the monkeys. The next day was spent at the Limelight office signing various editions signing various editions. Down the table fulfilling the same obligations was Muhammed Ali. He was full of energy and very kind to an artist who felt humbled sitting at the same table as “The Greatest.” Superbowl Sunday was spent on the beach with the family (a true day off). The day of the opening was hectic and grand. Dr. Thomas Rosandich, the President of the USSA, flew in to present the award. A fine turnout was highlighted by former USSA Artist of the Year, Ernie Barnes. Some other good friends were also in attendance. The award is a great honor. The medal that the Academy presented was not only beautiful but was also surprisingly heavy. The after-show dinner was with friends from Limelight and Gallery 319.
ICAF selects Opie as Director of USA efforts in World Cup Show
The International Child Art Foundation (ICAF) will sponsor a show in Munich, Germany, as a prelude to the World Cup this coming summer. Children from all over the world will send in full-size mannequins decorated in a style reflecting the culture of their country. The USSA have given their assistance in helping ICAF to select Opie as the director for the children for the United States. On February 9th and 11th, an all-star group of art students from the Austin, Texas, area will be putting their creative minds to the test. The show begins in March and will produce a catalog and documentary as well.
Opie named USSA 2006 Sports Artist of the Year
After several years of being named as a finalist, Opie was named the United States Sports Academy’s Sports Artist of the Year. There have been other fine artists over the past twenty years who have won this award, including Ernie Barnes, Aldo Luongo, James Rizzi, Bernie Fuchs, Bart Forbes, and Stephen Holland. It is a fine honor to be amongst this list of his peers and pioneers in modern sports art. A show and ceremony at Gallery 319 in Santa Monica, CA, on February 7th will mark the occasion, followed by a show at the USSA home in Mobile, Alabama, on March 9th. The Gallery 319 Show in February will see the unveiling of the 2005 White Sox World Series painting. Look for the full-page ad from the Limelight Agency in the February issue of “Art Business News.” For more on this follow the link to the USSA article - USSA.org

24 at 75

Mike Shannon, a fine baseball author and historian, has put together a traveling show of Willie Mays Art. Mr. Mays turns 75 this May, and to honor his birthday Mike has assembled almost 50 works of art from some of the finest baseball artists in the country. The show opens in early January at the Louisville Slugger Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. For Opie’s part there are three paintings. The first is an older painting of Willie Mays that depicts his days patrolling the great garden in the Polo Grounds in New York. The second is a small painting that depicts Willie in front of his house at 175 Miraloma Drive in San Francisco. This is the location where Willie learned that not all of his new neighbors were enthusiastic about his arrival. The last is the centerpiece of the exhibition , a painting that depicts Willie in 1962 on a knee in front of the scoreboard in Candlestick. The clouds feature aspects and moments from Willie’s career, and the scoreboard is packed with numbers pertaining to his Hall of Fame stats. If you want to learn more about the exhibition follow the link - 24 at 75.com
Texas Baseball Hall of Fame 2005
For the second year, Opie created a special set of commemorative paintings for inductees to the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame. Former Astros’ star Bob Aspromonte, former big league umpire Satch Davidson, Astros’ Senior VP Rob Matwick, pitching great Joe Niekro, future National HOFer Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, baseball writer TR Sullivan, and Negro League star Smoky Joe Williams made up this year’s class. While the Hall of Fame is presented with the original, each of the inductees receives a limited edition gicleé of their painting. These gicleés are available through the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame (TBHOF.org). To read more about the induction festivities go to the article.
Londontown
Vacation? To dream. There was much fun and sightseeing on a recent two-week jaunt across the pond. With the family in tow we ate the chips, rode the tube, visited Mr. Watson, saw the pomp and circumstance, and sang at the footballers. With a new set of cityscapes in mind and meetings about paintings of footballers, photos were taken to the point of exhaustion. A visit to Highbury Stadium, Craven Cottage, and White Hart Lane were all squeezed into a whirlwind schedule. One of the finer memories was spurned by an old memory. Almost twenty years ago, Opie traveled to Kansas City to see the Courtauld Collection as it traveled the world. While it is a small collection, it has some of the more famous paintings in Western Culture. It was really great to see it again. Cheers!
Hurst Gallery in Little Rock
When is a small, independent gallery perfect for a painter that is constantly working on private commissions and under deadlines? The answer? When that gallery takes the small amount of work that the artist produces in his “spare time.” Landscapes are a joy to paint. However, demand is such that they can be few and far between. Susan Hurst at the Hurst Gallery in Little Rock was pleased to take on the few works a year that come from this studio. This is not a change in focus, rather a place to put the fun “in between” paintings. If you get the chance, check them out..Christo Gates and Wycoller
Last visit to Busch Stadium
While taking pictures of all parts of the stadium, I watched the Cubs final visit to these grounds. Three hundred shots fell one day in the midst of seeking out the people and places within that grand old dame that tells a part of her story that few people will ever see. After lunch on the second day with Matt and Heather Morris, the gentleman developing the four rolls of film from the first day revealed that I had shot four rolls of blanks. My son had apparently explored the inside of the camera and laid waste to the shutter. So, day two? Rent a camera and some lenses and try and recapture all the moments I shot the first day. Then, walking the stadium and getting ideas from people that worked there were the next steps for the upcoming final and very full day. Day three: arriving at the park around 7:30 a.m. for a full day of shots. From the gusher of a clogged pipe in the Mets Clubhouse to standing atop the stadium on a three-foot-wide rim peering down on the end of the game, it was a magical day.
Boston, Take two
Delivering the strikes, the player edition prints, and unveiling one of the commissions from the Boston show to a Law firm in downtown were all on the docket for this short trip to Boston. The highlight of the last night started at the beginning of the game when I was to meet with the Media Director to be escorted out to the scoreboard inside the "Green Monster" . Delayed by conversations of ketchup with some of the players, I was tardy to meet the MD, so the subsequent search landed me in the media observation desks high above the stadium. The gentleman who is the gatekeeper for that area took a short look at me and announced, “I know where you belong. Can you take him to his people?” A young lady, standing next to him, had me follow her to one of the VIP Suites that bisects the TV people from the people of print. She knocked and opened the door to a room speckled with black-clad young people. As the rock group, Green Day, and I stared at each other trying to figure out who each other was, I stated to my escort, “These are not my people.” Upon our return to the gatekeeper and the apologetic barrage for leading me astray, I promptly thanked him for making me feel “young, hip, and cool.” The third inning trip out to the scoreboard was great. With all the modern conveniences of today’s ballparks, this was a step back in time. The only update was the computer that relayed the scores to Chris and his band of two that update the scores.
Astro Wives Gala
Year number twelve was rather low key for us. An original of Roger Clemens pitching to Jim Edmonds and one of the TLU Berkman serigraphs were the two auction items we donated. This year, with all the travel surrounding the Gala, we didn’t set up a display. That pulled-back approach made for a more relaxed, social evening. The nice folks over at Everyone’s Internet ended up with the Clemens painting.

Two Texas Kings
On September 4th at Minute Maid Park the Houston Astros are honoring the two greatest right-handed pitchers of the past 50 years. The Astros commissioned a painting of the two Texas hurlers that will be created as an artcard to be passed out on the 4th. Also, an edition of 56 giclees will be created, combining the numbers of both pitchers. The painting features Nolan and Roger having a conversation across time. Nolan, circa 1981, sits in the dugout in the Astrodome recalling his fifth no- hitter. Above Nolan is the scene after the no-hitter when his teammates carried him from the field. Below his panel are 7 baseballs with the dates of each of his record seven no-hitters. To Nolan’s left in the Minute Maid dugout is “The Rocket”, recalling his historic seventh Cy Young Award. Above Roger he holds aloft his award in front of the Crawford street faithful. Seven baseballs featuring the years of his Cy Young Awards are above this panel. Come out and see the Cards and ‘Stros on the fourth.
Lance Berkman Honored
To stay with a running theme. Texas Lutheran College has commissioned another woodblock print for their annual. The edition of only thirty prints is available through opieart.com or Brigitte Alexander at TLU. Each of these prints is signed by Lance and the artist. The print was created at Coronado Studios in Austin. This work is the second in this woodcut series. The first honoree in 2004 was Roger Clemens. While carrying a hefty $1700 price tag, it differs from other prints due to the fact each one is hand inked and hand pulled. It is not created by machine. Therefore each print is unique.
A Boston Media Blitz
In recent years, the big gallery showing has not been a frequent occurrence. A steady, overwhelming-at-times stream of commissions has kept the plate over flowing and more irons in the fire than a “smithy”. However, with the very public “Boston Champs” print the folks over at Limelight arranged a public show at Newbury Fine Arts in Boston. Some years ago, while in Boston looking at galleries all over the city we were trapped by a rainstorm in this beautiful space near the Commons. The gallery director and staff were very nice and took extra time to make sure we had lots to talk about while looking at the art on the walls. Years later when we heard the news of the impending show, we thought they indicated a nearby gallery that we did not care for and wished aloud that it could have been the one we liked so much. It was not until we arrived in Boston for the show that we realized that Newbury Fine Arts was the space we were in, and only apprehension about the show we held onto quickly melted away. The show featured 24 works and two separate openings. Two television in-studio interviews, three at the gallery, a radio morning show at 100.7 WZLX , and a picture in the Globe, the Herald, and the Improper Bostonian were some of the attention the show garnered. The public opening was held on Thursday the 19th and a private VIP Reception was held on Sunday the 22nd following the game. Our good friends Bob and Constance Wood came down from Keene, NH for the show. Bob is the son of the great Red Sox hurler Smoky Joe Wood. Mike Timlin and his family also stopped by to see the walls filled with red dots. Following Sunday night only two paintings were left out of the original 24. It was a smashing success. The gallery staff was lovely and really bent over backwards to make it a great show. Danny Stern and Scott Lucas from Limelight were also there in Boston to make sure that everything went as smoothly as it did. In between openings and media stuff, the Red Sox staff participated in the Strike 1-2-3 Project in the Media Room at Fenway. Media Manager Keri Moore and Red Sox Foundation Director Meg Vallaincourt were both instrumental in making the day possible. Particpating pitchers were Mike Timlin, Mike Myers, Matt Mantei, David Wells, Keith Foulke, Wade Miller and Matt Clement. These panels will be auctioned off on September 4th at the Red Sox Picnic in the Park. That means, back to Beantown..
Happy Birthday Alou. Happy Birthday Alou...
On May 8th a quick trip out to San Francisco was in order to celebrate the birthday of Giants manager and former standout player, Felipe Alou. Giants part-owner Allan Byer commissioned a painting that depicts Felipe in his playing days. The painting also featured some information about his career on the old Candlestick Scoreboard. To top off the work, an image of Felipe in his current role of Giants skipper was “ghosted” up in the clouds. At a fine feast given in his honor, Felipe was joined by former Giants teammate and Hall-of-Famer Orlando Cepeda. Some of the other Giants part-owners were also in attendance. As the evening progressed a firmer grasp of Spanish would have helped laugh at some of the stories once these two old teammates got going about the good old days. The trip also featured the delivery of the Strike 1-2-3 Panels to the Giants pitching staff. Saturday was spent in the clubhouse catching up with Matt Herges, Brett Tomko and other members of the squad. After a while Omar Vizquel joined in a conversation dominated by the subject of art techniques. Brett is a burgeoning pencil and charcoal artist and Omar sculpts beautiful works out of stone. The end of the jaunt to the city by the bay was marked with the delivery of the final two panels for the Byer Athletic Center in Foster City. A tour of this wonderful facility was arranged with Mr. Byer to see were all the paintings hang.
SHOWTIME!!!
Senior NBA photographer Andy Bernstein had a show for some of his seminal photographs at Gallery 319 in Santa Monica. This show was in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the “Showtime” Lakers of 1985. From our conversations at ArtExpo an idea was born to create a painting that would supplement his show. A new painting featuring a wide angle from where Andy sits to shoot Laker games evolved. The setting was the 1985 NBA Finals at the Great Western Forum between the Lakers and the Boston Celtics. The starting rosters from both teams are seem in a half court set with some familiar faces found on the sidelines. The show was a great success. Kurt Rambis, Chris Knight, and his ladyfriend, model Adrianne Curry stopped by to show check out the revelry. One day was spent in San Diego shooting some pictures for a new commission, with a quick stop at Balboa Park and the San Diego Art Museum as a throw in. The traditional stop at Killer Shrimp in Marina Del Rey with Victoria Fuller, a foray to In and Out Burger, and a stop at LACAMA were all squeezed into the trip.
Spring Training 2005
The day following ArtExpo the entire family left for rainy Florida. This year the first week was spent in Fort Myers because of the Red Sox Championship print. Red Sox cook extraordinaire, Bernie Logue was saddled with the task of making sure I didn’t melt in the alternating rain and blazing sun while talking to the players and families out by the cages. Much of the rest of the week was spent getting the logistics of the upcoming one-man show at Newbury Fine Arts in Boston on May 19th. One day at the beach in Ft. Myers was enough for me. Most evenings were spent in the hotel feverishly trying to complete paintings that would be in the upcoming show. From there, the sojourn to Kissimmee to the north. The afternoons were spent with the Cardinals, Marlins, Dodgers and of course, the Astros. Braves pitcher Kevin Gryboski was the subject of a painting that was a wedding gift from his wife, Leah. Mike Hampton, Marcus Giles, Johnny Estrada, and Tom Martin all converged at Morton’s Steakhouse in Orlando to witness the surprise unveiling. Finally, a special presentation of an original painting to former Cardinals clubhouse manager Buddy Bates topped off the spring. The painting featured Buddy at his desk in St. Louis with one of his favorite players, Willie McGee asking his to move his bag for him. It was just a thank you to Buddy for his years of friendship and help around the Cardinals.

Art Expo 2005
Once again the annual expedition to NYC was a festive occasion filled with merriment and revelry. While staying with friends in Astoria and venturing to the Javitz Convention Center for show, nights were filled with a myriad of different activities. A professional boxing match at the paramount theatre under Madison Square Garden while Motley Crue vibrated the floor above us made for an interesting evening. Senior NBA photographer, Andrew Bernstein and I poked as much fun at the ongoings as the bloodlustful crowd around us allowed while artist Stephan Holland recounted his childhood when the neighborhood sport was fisticuffs. A late night meal in Little Italy sitting with Jonathan Baker, artist Victoria Fuller and artist Max Gold provided many hours of fertive debate. Not having seen Jonathan and Victoria since their rather infamous appearance on the TV Show, The Amazing Race, there was much to discuss. An afternoon trip on the last day to see Christo and Jean – Claude’s Gates in Central Park was a real treat. This year the choice not to paint while at the show left quite a hole in the carpet where I paced.

The Boston Champs Show at Newbury Fine Arts
The show at Newbury Fine Arts will take place on Thursday the 19th of May at 29 Newbury Street in Boston. The show opens at 6:30 PM and goes to 9PM. There will be almost thirty works on display. Come by and say hello. The Original Painting was completed in very short order after the victory. The prints are 41" x 29". The edition size is only 204. Find out more at http://www.newburyfinearts.com/.
Opie Otterstad Painting Highlighted on MTVCribs
 Steve Francis of the NBA Orlando Magic was interviewed recently on the show MTVCRIBS. For the older crowd, it is a show that takes features tours of famous celebrities homes. As Steve took viewers into his study, his painting of a flying alley-oop versus the Lakers from last season was above the mantle. He mentioned the painting and they showed the work from several angles. Thanks to Grant Smith, a great young painter from Dallas, who alerted me to that episode. OH NO! Does that mean I’m part of the “older crowd”?

The Boston Red Sox World Series Paintings and Prints
  With a few games to go in the series I received a call from the Limelight Agency. They were interested in one of the yearly World Series Champion paintings. However, instead of needing it by Spring Training, they wanted it in drop-everything-fashion. Excited about the possibility of honoring the first team of our son’s namesake, I began right away. An enormous painting was completed in very short order. E-mail was created and shipped to MLB and The Players Union for approval for licensing, so now the prints will be unveiled before the Christmas Season. The painting is loaded with symbolism: the Babe tearing up “The Curse of the Bambino,” the green monster, the numbers of great Red Sox players in the past who never won, and the “86” from the door of Chumley’s Pub in Greenwich Village New York (you can figure that one out). The original painting is 86 inches by 55 inches. Let us know what you think. You can contact the Limelight Agency for specifics. (limelightagency.com) Details on a big show in Boston early next year to come soon.

Opie Otterstad Named As The Official Artist Of The Texas Baseball Hall Of Fame
 The wonderful dinner for the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame was held on November 12, 2004. With Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio being the headline inductees, how could we say no? Seven new originals we created and donated to the Hall of Fame. This year’s class included Biggio, Bagwell, Texas Ranger Kenny Rodgers, the great Lamar coach Jim Gilligan, Astros’ Broadcaster Bill Brown, deceased batting champ Debs Garms, and the revered Negro League pioneer Rube Foster. The event featured some great stories and features that passed the time with ease. It was a great honor to be a part of such a night. We made a limited edition of 200 Giclée prints of each of the paintings. You can purchase prints by contacting the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame at http://www.tbhof.org or call 713 – 408 – 1044. This is the least expensive print we have ever offered.

The Chicago Cubs Are The Last Strike 1-2-3 Participants Of The Season.
  THE CUBS ARE THE LAST STRIKE 1-2-3 PROJECT PARTICIPANTS OF THE SEASON – Nine….yes, nine of the Chicago Cubs pitching staff helped out with the Strike 1-2-3 Project. Matt Clement, Ryan Dempster, Kyle Farnsworth, Latroy Hawkins, Kent Merker, Mark Remlinger, Glendon Rusch, Kerry Wood, and Carlos Zambrano all took the time to pitch in. After the panels were stretched and photographed, Opie flew up to Chicago to deliver the works to both the Cubs and Marlins. A local fan suggested "The Billy Goat Tavern and Grill" as a must visit on the Chicago Cubs history tour. “Cheezeborger, no Coke, Pepsi!” sounded like the real thing. The originals along with the ball and photos will be auctioned off later this year to benefit Cubs Care. Cubs.com did a great article on the event; you can check it out at cubs.com

Roger Clemens Takes Part In The STRIKE 1-2-3 Project in a BIG Way
   Roger Clemens was eager to participate in our charity project to benefit The Roger Clemens Foundation; however, there was a problem. Roger likes to distribute each of his acquisitions to his four children and because the pitcher and his family only keep one of the panels, we were three sets of panels short. What to do? How about one set for each team he pitched for? Problem solved. The Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees, and Astros were all represented so we had twelve panels total. Normally, we limit pitcher participation to one set per career. But, when the greatest pitcher of the latter half of the 20th Century wants to do four sets – you let him. There was no pause, no wondering whether or not he would hit the target, just load up and fire – complete confidence, no matter what you are doing. Spending time around him this year and seeing all the things he took the time to do for others – he is the stuff baseball heroes are made of. Thanks Roger.

Strike 1-2-3 Go The Giants and Cardinals!
  On our annual trip to St. Louis the Cardinals and Giants both participated in the Strike 1-2-3 Project. Now some of the Cardinals participated in the event last year, so this year there were only five new pitchers. The Giants were first timers, so almost the entire staff came over to help make a mess. Rip Rowan, the Cardinals Clubhouse Manager, saw that a room was provided (the Cardinals family room as it turns out) and the “room of tarp” went up in no time. The Cardinals Matt Morris, Ray King, Jeff Suppan, Cal Eldred, and Jason Marquis were first up. The local Fox affiliate ran a short story on the post-game show that night. Then the Giants started filing in. Jim Bower, Jason Christiansen, Scott Eyre, Matt Herges, Dustin Hermanson, Jason Schmidt, Brett Tomko, and Jerome WIlliams all came by to pitch in. All of the Cardinals charity Strikes will benefit Cardinal Care. Contact Tim Hanser with the Cardinals for more information.

The MLB All - Star Game Works!
  With the Baseball All-Star Game being in my hometown this year, I wanted to be a part of the festivities. With so many of my patrons making the team, I decided to do a painting of each of the starters to hang in the respective clubhouses. So when everyone came through they could view the works along with some others I chose to display. With only three weeks to complete these works, a furious pace was set. I kept all the images to a simple crop with an abstract background. Even so, there were several all-nighters involved, and the studio became quite a mess. The National League painting hung on the Astros home side, and the American League painting was over in the visiting clubhouse. Each painting is about 8’ x 6’. After the All-Star Weekend, I moved the NL painting over to the visiting clubhouse where they will hang until season's end. Dennis Liborio, the Astros Clubhouse Manager, has a painting in his office that made the photos of Minute Maid Park for the All-Star Game on MLB.com (http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/events/all_star/y2004/gallery/c795271.jsp)

LA, Opie? Really?
  From one end of the country to the other. The Art of the Game folks had me out on the 26th of May to Los Angeles to paint at their great facility inside the Staples Center during the Timberwolves series. It was good to meet the patrons out there that had been soaking up my basketball works. Two paintings of the Derek Fisher shot against San Antonio took shape as the Lakers took both games. The larger of the two sold right away, well before completion. Dinner at the Palm followed both games with the staff from the gallery. Spending time getting to know that bunch of characters was a real high point of the trip. The sandwich day was spent with the fine folks at Gallery 319 in Santa Monica (gallery-319.com). Michelle and Melissa, the owner and director of the gallery, made sure I was welcome. They even supplied this old Texan with some ice cold Dr. Pepper. After a day of shooting photos down at the new Venice Beach basketball courts, we adjourned to Killer Shrimp where our friend from Art Expo, Victoria Fuller, met us for the only thing on the menu….Killer Shrimp.

The Marlins Throw 3 Strikes!
  While the Marlins were visiting Houston to play the Astros on May 12th, the pitching staff participated in the Strike 123 Project. Seven members of the pitching staff took time before the second game of the three game set to dawn the jumper, stand in, and hurl three very messy baseballs at different backgrounds of their choosing. Josh Beckett, Brad Penny, Carl Pavano, Darren Oliver, Justin Wayne, Nate Bump, and Tommie Phelps all pitched in. Everyone had a good time, although I think I owe Justin Wayne a new workout shirt – either that, or I need to sign his shirt as an original! I will update computer land when I know where the charity Strikes will go. Step Up, Who’s next?

The Roger Clemens Woodcut For Charity
  Before all of this signing with the Astros took place, Roger agreed to participate in the Texas Lutheran University event at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Because the event took place on March 3rd, he had to fly back from Florida just to attend. We were in Florida for another charity event at Tropicana Field that same night. For TLU, I created a very limited edition woodcut for the event. Roger signed the edition of 22. The print sold for $2,200 establishing the price for the subsequent prints. Interested parties should contact this site or the Texas Lutheran University site for more details. http://www.tlu.edu/alumni/friends/frontrow/lino.html

Spring Training 2004
  Once again our travels took us to Florida for the month of March to see old friends and patrons. The NYC trip prevented the completion of several promised new works - so as usual, the house did the Underdog tramsformation into the studio. While setting the stage for this year's Strike 123 participants, I delivered new works to Scott Rolen and unveiled the new organization-only limited edition print of the Florida Marlins World Series celebtation. Following visits to most of the clubs, we presented Billy Wagner and his family with "The Rainout". A work two years in the making. The hang up was the copper fountain that surrounds the painting - creating the 'rain' for the rainout. Not being a copper sculptor, yet wanting to create the entire work , we enlisted the guidance of noted copper sculptor (and friend) Daryl Colburn. . With the fountain complete, the painting went rather quickly. The unveiling took place in the Phillie's Clubhouse with all of Billy's new teammates looking on.

Art Expo 2004 NYC
  Any chance to return to New York City is greeted with open arms. Showing with the artists of The Limelight Agency (limelightagency.com) was a hootenanny. Ronnie Wood, a guitar player for the Rolling Stones who is also apparently a painter (who knew?), was there, but not present in our booth. Victoria Fuller, licensed by Hef himself to use the bunny logo in her work, was present and accounted for. Rounding out our foursome was Stephen Holland, who paints striking images of famous people. The new works I created for the show were all non-person specific, which was a mighty contrast to my “celebrity-based” booth mates. Spending time working on a new painting while talking to new and old artists (lit. and fig.) about their craft was time well spent. The trips true highlight came from eating “authentic” Texas BBQ made by a British former hairdresser in Queens. Ahh, New York…if you can’t find it there it just doesn’t exist.

The Rockets Tuxes and Tennies February 19th 2004
  Yes, after a seven-year moratorium about working with basketball players and organizations, I was broken down by Madeline Spector in the Rockets front office. We set up a small show at the event featuring a new set of basketball related works. The original painting was sold for $20,000 to Steve Francis of the Rockets. As he and I were talking, a hand extended into my field of view from over my left shoulder; you could move a two-bedroom apartment in this hand. Over my shoulder, an arm and torso seemed to rise up to the ceiling of the Toyota Center zenithed by the head of Yao Ming. My expression surely gave away my awe at his size. He said “Thank you,” in as much broken English as you can get with a two-word phrase. It made for a great photo. At 6’1” my appearance is like that of Frodo Baggins. What fun!

Rice University Commissions Large Work!
  When the Rice Owls Baseball Team won their first major NCAA National Title in any major sport, a massive dog-pile celebration ensued on the field.  Former Rice star Lance Berkman and I had a simultaneous idea, and a few days later we met with Rice Athletic Director, Bobby May.  With a colour study of the painting in hand, they decided that this would be a great way to capture this moment.  The formal unveiling of the painting will be on Monday, September 15, 2003.  There will be a low number giclée edition and a high number lithograph edition.  You can view the Rice artworks here
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Astros Commemorate Bagwell’s 400th Homer!
  On Tuesday August 5th the Houston Astros will present Jeff Bagwell with a painting to celebrate his 400th career home run.  An art card of the image will be passed out that day to fans in attendance.  There will be a very small run of 10 giclées made of the image.  Buffy and I will be walking around during the game signing art cards for the fans.  Come out and see us!

PUDGE PRESENTATION…..
  On Friday the 13th of June the Texas Rangers presented former Rangers star Ivan " Pudge" Rodriguez with a painting commemorating his 10 Rawlings Gold Gloves.  The painting shows Pudge in his Texas uniform preparing to throw a strike to second.  Buffy and I were then invited to sit in the on-field box of Rangers owner Tom Hicks.   It was a great night.

.and then Rafael Palmeiro the following night!
  The next night it was Rafael Palmeiro's turn for the Rangers to present him with a painting.  This was part of a large ceremony to commemorate his 500th Home run this past Mother's Day.  On the field I sat next to three 500 Home Run Club members, Reggie Jackson, Harmon Killebrew, and Ernie Banks.  When it came time for the painting I had to scold Raffy for taking a little peek as I walked over.  It gave us both a laugh.  The painting shows his swing on the famous home run from the front and back.  The stadium is in the background.  His father's idol Mickey Mantle is ghosted up in the clouds.  Raffy and the Mick both hit their 500th on Mother's Day.

Camp Chrysalis Stained Glass Project
  On the week of June 15th Buffy and I spent a week at the Lutheran Camp Chrysalis in Kerrville, Texas.  We had been preparing the past month to teach a group of 60 kids to make stained glass windows.  Each child received a 10 inch round leaded glass pane.  They chose a pre-drawn symbol or drew out their own design.  Buffy prepared a comprehensive packet on Christian symbols and their meanings.  Over they week they glued, grouted, and polished their projects.  It was a lot of work, but heaps of fun.

The 2003 Claycourt Championships Program Cover
  April is a busy month for Opie.  His original painting of Andre Agassi will be featured on the cover of the 2003 Claycourt Championships at Westside Tennis Center in Houston.  The painting will be auctioned on Sunday, April 20, at a charity event benefiting the Andre Agassi Foundation.  Opie will be on hand for the event with a display of some new tennis themed works.

The 2003 Houston Astros Program Covers
  Opie has been commissioned to create six new Houston Astros paintings.  Each month this season a new painting will be featured on the cover of the Houston Astros Programs.  The original paintings will be offered for sale on this website, and half of the proceeds will benefit the Astros in Action Foundation (AIFA).  April will feature the Lance Berkman Cover.  The April issue will also feature an article about Opie written by Mike Shannon, an accomplished baseball author.

Spring Training 2003
  March is always a blur for the Otterstad household.  Again this year we were Floridians for a month.  While we could live without the "surf and turf," the baseball is great.  Everyone is relaxed and excited about the upcoming season.  We spent much time with our home team, the Astros.  Twice we dined at the Astros Official Spring Italian Trattoria - La Forschetta.  We also spent time with the Cardinals, Marlins, Dodgers, Devil Rays, Phillies, Braves, and Pirates.  Mornings are spent in the Clubhouse, afternoons at the game, evenings out to dinner with players and friends, and nights painting in the hotel (what the cleaning ladies must think).  We took one day to visit Universal Studios to have our brains knocked around on rollercoasters.  However, baseball was definitely the main course.   Hope to see you opening day in Houston.

Mike Hampton Pitching In Foundation
  On December 5th Buffy and I will be appearing at the Mike Hampton Pitching In Foundation Event in Crystal River, Florida.  The Foundation benefits many non-profit organizations, including the Sunshine Kids, Habitat for Humanity, and the ALS Association.  We have attended many events for this foundation in Colorado and in Houston.  Each gathering has a family reunion atmosphere.  The Florida event should be likewise.  Friends, playing and retired, from all over the baseball map will be there.  We will be donating a print for the live auction.

Woodlands Celebrity Golf Classic
  On November 1st - 3rd we attended the Woodlands Celebrity Golf Classic in The Woodlands, TX.  Number 212 of the Ghostrunners print brought $2,100 for Montgomery County Youth Services.  It was a great weekend.  It was wet the entire weekend, so the cold left something to be desired.  The event, as always, was first class.  Larry Stick of the Billiards Factory and Bob Patterson, former MLB pitcher, humored me as I flailed my way around The Woodlands TPC.


….and then Rafael Palmeiro the following night!