Artist Francis Golden, whose delicate watercolors of a goose shoot appear on pages 70-72, first came winging onto SPORT'S ILLUSTRATED'S horizon in 1960, when the magazine was only six years old. He has been around ever since, and his assignments have ranged from the exact portraiture of the very ungooselike Jack Nicklaus demonstrating how to power a 300-yard tee shot, to colorful sailboats tacking around San Francisco Bay, to the beleaguered coyote out West, to Golden's own favorite models—fish.
To study the Canada goose in flight, Golden traveled to the Chesapeake area, photographed his subjects and then flew home "with somewhat less grace than the goose," he admits, to begin the creative process of translating his photographic notes into paintings. Golden lives in the still relatively rural area of Weston, Conn., and geese sometimes put down on a small pond in back of his house. The uninitiated might think that one goose is much like another, but to Golden this just isn't so. "Your every detail has to be accurate," he says, which is why his camera plays an important part in the initial stages of his work. As for the watercolor that emerges under his brush, it suddenly "takes off," so that there is little or no resemblance between photograph and resultant painting. "For me, a watercolor is an emotional experience," he says, "harder to control than oils, because you don't paint one stroke at a time." Golden, who also paints for Audubon Magazine, usually takes three to four weeks to complete an assignment, traveling and hunting his quarry in its natural habitat, where things do not always proceed with artistic symmetry.
One trip that took him past the Arctic Circle landed him in freezing waters when he slipped off the pontoon of a float plane and into the drink. "The Eskimos thought it was hilarious," Golden remembers. "They stood on shore slapping their thighs." A while later, trying to adjust the pin in the center pole of his tent, Golden was buried when the entire thing collapsed on him. "By this time the Eskimos probably thought I was Bob Hope putting on a comedy act for their benefit. We caught some nice Arctic char, though." Now devoted to fly fishing, Golden caught his first trout as a child—using a worm on a bent pin—and one of his most memorable trips was a jaunt to Baja California with the late Jon Tarantino, the world's champion fly-caster, to catch and paint roosterfish. Golden's father used to take him rabbit hunting, but Golden remembers that even in those early days he did not much like killing things. "Today, when I go fishing, I enjoy the sport, but I like to release a lot offish," he says. Golden prefers painting fish and birds in action, anyway. He feels he can bring a special vibrancy to game on the move—and his masterful watercolors attest to that.
Two weeks ago in this space we told you about the energetic way Photographer Heinz Kluetmeier covers events. At Ohio State-Michigan last week Heinz was energetically poised on the sidelines when OSU's Archie Griffin tried to turn the corner on a sweep. He is now recovering from an operation to fix a torn cartilage in his knee.