The National Bank of Oman Golf Classic will be picture perfect when the second installment of the European Challenge Tour event takes place at Almouj Golf The Wave, Muscat, Oman, from Thursday, October 30 - Sunday November 2.
Mark Robinson, who has become the ‘artist in residence’ at many of the Middle East golf events over recent years, will be combining the two loves of his life by capturing on canvas the atmosphere of the National Bank of Oman Golf Classic.
The enthusiastic golfer, who has painted throughout his life, changed direction in 2008 when his unique ‘Swing Portraits’ and Golfing Landscapes gained popularity. “The Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates was where I made my name as a Golf Artist but Almouj Golf, The Wave, is a spectacular golf course overlooking the ocean and I am delighted at being invited by the National Bank of Oman to paint scenes of the course and the players during the tournament,” says the Belfast-born Robinson.
Ahmed Al Musalmi, CEO of the National Bank of Oman, comments: “We welcome Mark Robinson to the National Bank of Oman Golf Classic. I am sure he will add another dimension to our tournament and create even more interest in the event.”
Many of the great and the good of the game have admired and own Robinson’s paintings in acrylics, oils and watercolours, including Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Miguel Angel Jimenez, who was so impressed with Robinson’s work he commissioned his own painting.
“The final paintings from golfing events are presented to sponsors, auctioned at the tournament gala dinner, or simply presented to the winner. It’s great when players, coaches, or their friends and family commission work,” says Robinson, who often attracts his own gallery of spectators when he sets up his canvas for the day on the course.
“I like to talk to the spectators who stop and watch me paint for a while when they’re walking round the course.”
Robinson studied fine art at college in England before becoming an International lighting designer for touring rock bands like Black Sabbath, Alvin Lee and Prince and he was also an accomplished guitarist. He came to the Middle East in 1985 with a theatre company, working as a set designer, and around the turn of the millennium he came back to the UAE and started a small company specialising in 3D Animation.
“My ‘day job’ was painting portraits of dignitaries,” says Robinson. “But I just love the game of golf, so now I’ve got the best of both worlds – painting golfers and golf courses was something I was delighted to get involved in.
"I was looking for a way to paint the Pros and showed my work to Buddy Morin, a local Rules official. He liked my portrait work so he mentioned it to the DP World Tour Championship Tournament Director Nick Tarratt and he invited me to the first tournament there in Dubai in 2009 and I’ve been doing it ever since.
“Throughout Tournament week, I take reference photos of players, the crowd, the course etc. These are used for my ‘Swing Portraits’ and the sponsor’s landscape watercolours at a later date. I also sit and watercolour/sketch out ideas throughout the week. The only downside is that as my paintings have improved, my golf has got worse.”