Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Confidential Guide to Golf

In the most exciting news of 2014, acclaimed golf architect Tom Doak contacted me about painting the cover art for his highly anticipated re release of The Confidential Guide.   Pictured above is the first of 5 volumes.  The cover of this volume is St. Enodoc hole 6 as seen in a photo Tom took in the Eighties.
To introduce this project I borrow from an interview He did about this great book.
"The original book was printed and given to 40 friends as a Christmas gift in 1988. There were 20 more in 1989 … Norman has a copy of that second printing, I believe.  It was written as a thank-you to people for helping me to get around and see all these courses, so they wouldn’t need to call me and ask which courses they should see in England or Scotland. Since it was strictly for friends, there was zero self-censorship of reviews.
George Peper, the editor of GOLF Magazine , was one of the first recipients, and he wrote about the book in his column in the September, 1989 issue. After that, I started getting requests for it … and notes from people who had “seen pages” or had pirate copies! There were some inquires from publishers, which led to my second book, The Anatomy of a Golf Course. But I still wasn’t sure I wanted to publish The Confidential Guide for a general audience. It was too personal, and I knew it would be controversial. 
I changed my mind in 1994. Business was slow — I paid my associates more that year than I paid myself — and I knew the book had value. Also, a couple of friends [including Ron Whitten] convinced me that most of the people who would be offended by the book were ALREADY offended, so I had nothing to lose and a lot to gain by putting it out there — having seen all those courses was really my main credential for being a golf course architect. So, I decided to print 1000 books and sell them myself. I actually sold about 700 of them by word of mouth, without the benefit of the internet.
My friend Brian Lewis, who helped get the limited-edition book printed for me, convinced me to do the color version for Sleeping Bear Press a couple of years later. The attraction of that edition was being able to share all my photographs. There were 12,000 copies in that run, and it’s been out of print ever since.
I should note that the new edition is entirely new. The last version of the book was stored on old floppy disks, which my computer can’t read, so I had to retype the whole book, and I’ve rewritten most of it in the process"  -Tom Doak
This wasn't the first time Tom has given me the chance to help in one of his fine efforts.  Tom owns an original of Pacific Dunes hole 9 and its upper green.  He has also asked me to work on a couple of original commissions as gifts and one project to go unnamed for now.
The most amazing part of this already amazing gesture was that Tom never offered any "in process" constructive critique of the painting other than  "It looks terrific!  Good call on the white dog, that makes him a focal point, as he should be.  I can't tell you what if anything more needs doing, it looks great to me."  
He shows real trust in telling me my painting will be on the cover before he has even seen the painting.  It is a pressure situation for me knowing how opinionated and discerning he is, but all I can do is go with my gut, give it my very best effort with everything I have ever learned about oil painting and try and create something unique and memorable. Even after hearing his initial feedback in quotes above, I wasn't about to jinx myself and make public the exciting job I had gotten until the book went to press.  Which it now has.  Hope you can look it up, it will be a valuable tool and a great, fun read.  Just like version 1, it has already generated some controversial buzz with some low course grades.

Original Version

Have a great weekend.
Josh Smith

Friday, July 11, 2014

California Plein Air

Enjoyed a nice fourth of July at Lake Tahoe with my wife and baby girl Sophie.  So many amazing memories made with the girls!!  Was able to sneak away during a couple of naps and get some plein air painting in. Here is a quick painting I worked on...on the shores of north Lake Tahoe, just east of Tahoe City.  

In a lot of ways I find Plein Air painting to be like golf for me.  Every time out is equally enjoyable and humbling.  A great hobby where I spend time appreciating the beauty of nature and the challenge of getting the most out of myself with my art in a very short period of time.  This was only the third small outdoor paiting I have done since last fall and I am hoping the rust begins to really come off soon.  Hope you enjoy it.

 Josh Smith

PS.  Everytime I am in Tahoe I am scratching my head wondering why I haven't gotten out to see Clear Creek, the Coore and Crenshaw course down the road towards Carson City.  Got to make that happen.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Dismal River Yardage Books

Dismal River Red

Here is a preview of a yardage book, IE. a "stroke saver" I have been working on for Dismal River.
Hadn't done a book like this since the Cal Club effort.  I had forgotten all the work that goes into it.  Really feeling proud and honored to be affiliated with such a cool place like Dismal.
Here is a hole layout of #2 on Red.
Below is a close up and the green detail of hole 5 on red.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The US Open at Pinehurst #2

          Good Morning. In this post you will find pictured above a cell phone quality photo of the paiting as it looks now. Down below is the earlier version, which just didn't quite excite me enough to call it finished. I decided to get a little more sand scrub in view in the foreground, along with two or three other minor tweeks. Can you see them? I hope you enjoy my painting.

           US Opens always draw excitement for me, but this one is different. The news that Pinehurst #2 was going to be restored by Coore and Crenshwaw was such a great surprise a few years back. The Pinehurst brain trust has made a monumental decision and they will not regret this. The course looks like a throw back, has torn edged bunkers, sandy waste areas abound, burnt out turf at the margins and unclean lines. It pulls people 180 degrees from the "green and manicured" that has plagued much of US Golf and #2 for the last few decades.
           It has been a pleasure to know Bill Coore personally for the last 7 or 8 years. He is my idol and owns an original painting of mine. His legend was planted at Sand Hills in 1993 for most of us and each course he and Ben Crenshaw took on after that has come on scene looking as if it had existed for a century or more. I had the pleasure of meeting Ben at the Streamsong grand opening and we met while standing in front of two of my original paintings. I surely couldn't have wished for a better scenario. A month or so later Ben had written me a letter endorsing my work. Here is my most recent oil painting of the restoration of the ninth at Pinehurst #2. It is 24x36 and looking for a good home. It is only the 3rd painting I have done not as a commissioned painting in the last 2-3 years. The new look excited me to another level and I knew I wanted to see if I could creates something worthy.

           "For several years I have admired your work and considered you to be among the elite golf course artists in the world. Having seen several of your most recent paintings, I could make the argument that you are the best in the profession. Your technique and style bring to canvas the life, vibrancy and realism of the landscapes you paint. I also appreciate that your work presents golf hole from the golfer's perspective. The holes you paint are actually recognizable to a golfer fortunate enough to have played them! I was very please to see Ron Whitten's recent article on you in GOLF WORLD and am happy to see your talent being recognized by the golfing community." -Bill Coore 

           "We are great admirers of your work. Your paintings are beautiful and I must say that they appeal to Bill and me from that aspect that there is a good deal of impressionism painted so admirably by you." -Ben Crenshaw 

 Enjoy the US Open.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Collection of Recent Oil Paintings

Just returned from the Club Managers Association Golf Show in Orlando where I shared a booth with photographer Larry Lambrecht and Book Specialist Larry Hasak. It occurred to me that I was overdue in posting a collection of Recent Paintings Not yet on Website Gallery Page. Hope you enjoy them.