Golf, art, and old friends

Illustrator Mark Ulriksen and his wife, Leslie Flores, are two of our best friends from college, and our starter years at the Chico News and Review. We’ve stayed close, and have watched Mark  become one of the country’s most successful editorial illustrators. His paintings of dogs, musicians, politicians, and athletes are just slightly tweaked, and always get you to take a second look.

My partner, Steve, is  fairly obsessive golfer, and did an admirable job of containing his envy when Mark was invited by Golf Digest to visit the Masters Tournament last year and create illustrations for this year’s issue.

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All illustrations by Mark Ulriksen for Golf Digest.

Mark told me this was one of the great weeks of his life. He was staying in a house with writers (including Dan Jenkins, John Feinstein and Tom Brokaw) and photographers, and was able to walk the course and sketch for seven days. He gave the photo editor his requests, and photos were taken for him to use as drawing reference  later (he was in the limbo-land between the pubic who could take photos, and the media, who needed photo passes, so this was the best solution). Mark started the project in September, submitting twelve ideas, and painting ten. Eight were published.

And he hasn’t been on a golf course since. Steve will have to remedy that, because that’s what old friends are for.

The 2009 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, starts today.

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