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Backyard rink the perfect canvas for Robert Greenfield's Blackhawks art

by Leah Pascarella / Chicago Blackhawks

A little over a month ago, Toronto resident Robert Greenfield posted a time-lapse video of himself carving the Blackhawks logo into his backyard rink. The Blackhawks Blog caught up with him to learn how he created his impressive design and how he got started making rink art.

This is the fourth year that Robert has put a rink in the backyard of his home, and although the Blackhawks logo wasn’t his first rink design, it was, however, his most challenging.

“A few years ago I was clearing the snow, and I just looked at the rink like a big Etch A Sketch, so I drew ‘I heart you’ for my wife,” Robert said.

That was just the beginning. Since then, he has made everything from the American and Canadian flags for the 2014 Olympics and the One Direction logo to Frozen’s Olaf for his daughters. The Blackhawks logo was something he has been waiting to try.

One day in early February, Toronto received about four inches of snow, and Robert knew it wouldn’t be long before his three young daughters asked him to shovel the rink so they could skate. Robert bundled up for the outdoors and put his artistic skills to the test.

“It was a rare night where my wife and kids were out of the house, and I knew I wanted to try the Blackhawks logo, so it seemed like the perfect night to give it a try,” Robert said. “I started shoveling the design, but the snow was too deep to make it visible.”

Robert completed the design anyway and said it was definitely a learning experience.

“The nose was way too big and the eye was in the wrong place,” Robert laughed. “My brother said it looked like Homer Simpson instead of the Blackhawks logo.”

Lucky for Robert, it snowed again that night and he got another chance at the design. He set up a camcorder in the bathroom window to document the process and got to work.

Sure enough, the second time was the charm.

Robert revealed some tricks for anyone who wants to give it a try. “I had a sheet of paper with the outline of the Blackhawks logo to guide me through it. People ask if I do it from memory, and I tell them my memory and skills are not that good!”

He also said that at first he drew the mouth more as a frown and the first feather was too small. If you watch the video closely, you can see him fix the minor mistakes.

“In both instances, I took a shovel of snow as whiteout and re-did it,” he said.

Several hours in the snow and many designs later, Robert has his technique down to a science so he doesn’t leave footprints around his creations.

“In this instance I walked in the lines and almost wiped out a few times, but the hardest part was navigating the feathers so I didn’t step in the snow.”

Robert hoists the Stanley Cupkin at his home in Toronto.

In just over an hour, the design was complete, and Robert shared his creation through social media for family and friends to enjoy.

Although Robert said he is far from being an artist, he does have one skill that he draws upon when recreating designs in his hockey rink: pumpkin carving.

His oldest daughter was born on Halloween, so every year Robert carves a few pumpkins for her and the rest of his family. That’s how he learned his approach to carving in the snow.

He finds a design, prints it out in black and white and starts following the lines. “It’s as simple as that,” he said.

While he has tried a variety of designs, he has done two Blackhawks-themed pumpkins. The first was the Blackhawks logo in 2010 and a life-size Stanley Cup in 2013, named the “Stanley Cupkin.”

Robert already has some requests from his daughters for his next snow designs. A birthday cake and Cinderella’s castle are near the top of the list, but there is one item Robert is patiently waiting to create.

“I would love to use the rink to carve the Stanley Cup, but I won’t do it until the Blackhawks win again,” he said.

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