Friday, November 27, 2015

Sometimes Art Is What You Leave Out

November 27, 2015
   Everyone asks me what I got out of my 20-day pursuit of the actual spots where Vincent van Gogh painted and I have to say, the biggest takeaway is I am amazed at what he DIDN'T choose to paint.

Daily Whip Out: "What He Chose NOT to Paint"

"Sometimes art is what you leave out."
—Old Vaquero  Saying

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Breakfast Musings & More Van Gogh Gunfighters

November 25, 2015
   Breakfast musings: three works in progress, mulling numerous possibilities. Which one will I attack first?

Three Works In Progress: one scratchboard, sketchbook portrait ideas for
Rene Secretan and an elusive female gouache. The framed scratchboard of a
 Jesse James gang member, at  bottom, is there for inspiration.

    Went into the office to work on the big croquet photo package (10-pages!). Lots of moving parts. Have to nail it down today, since the staff is off tomorrow and Friday and we go to press a week from tomorrow. Had to postpone final layout until Monday. Sent first two pages down to Dan The Man so he can design splash page. Cutting it tight but it's a very ambitious piece.

   Went home for lunch and took another pass at the morning scratchboard:

Daily Whip Out: "Vincent van Gunfigher #2" 

   This came about as a result of a scribbled idea from my sketchbook:

Daily Whip Out: "Vincent van Gunfighter Cover Type Sketch"

   Robert Ray is choosing distressed-wood-block type to reverse out of scratchboard. Here's what we came up with for a rough cover comp:

Cover rough of "Vincent van Gunfighter"

   I love this stuff.

"How difficult it is to be simple."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Credit Where Credit Is Due & Curator Cal Strikes Again

November 23, 2015
   Here's a daily whip out that fell through the cracks:

Daily Whip Out: "The Hunter"

   Well, Curator Cal is at it again. Came home for lunch and my art desk area has been totally redefined. Allow me to say, it has never looked this good. That's lunging Doc at center.

Curator Cal Strikes Again

   Many readers have asked me which historian said, in reference to Wyatt Earp, "You won't like him. He's not who you think he was." I honored his request at anonymity while he was alive, but it's a great quote and I think he deserves the credit for it. John Gilchriese could be cranky, outspoken and controversial, but he always treated me well.

John Gilchriese in his Tucson home, circa 1988 

"Narcissism is the bacterium infecting all bad writing."
—Mary Karr

Monday, November 23, 2015

Classic Airstream & Tragic Auvers Nightmares

November 22, 2015
   More cleaning in the studio. And, of course, I find all these old things that I simply cannot throw away, like this priceless little gem:

An Airstream On Lincoln Near Tatum

   This great product photograph was taken by the late Herb McLaughlin back in the 1950s. That is the Praying Monk, upper left, on the northwest end of Camelback Mountain and it appears the car is on Lincoln Drive just west of Tatum Blvd in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Needless to say, it's all houses now.

   I'm still deep into Vincent's last days. I'm rereading "Lust For Life," a gift from the Top Secret Writer. Tragic stuff. It reads like a bad dream.

Daily Whip Out: "Rene Secretan #8"

   I really dislike Rene Secretan because he brought meanness to a sick man. He may not have in fact shot and killed Vincent van Gogh but by his own admission, he was abusive and treated the Dutchman terribly. And he bragged about it in old age. He was a bully and a Paris punk. So I gave him Bruce Dern's mouth. Still not cocky enough, but I'll get him, yet.

"The world breeds monsters, but kindness grows just as wild."
—Mary Karr, author of "The Art of Memoir"


Friday, November 20, 2015

A New Start In The Studio

November 20, 2015
   Finished the last page of my latest sketchbook this morning. This is the sketchbook I carried to Europe in September on the van Gogh tour. Each sketchbook has 100 pages, and they typically last about two-and-a-half months. The spiral binding got smooshed, probably from an overhead bin on an airplane, but it is full of crazy ear sketches almost all the way through. I usually give it a little extra juice on the last page. Funny how that is. If I worked this hard every day, on every page, maybe I'd be a better artist. As it took shape, starting in bottom-right corner, I decided to draw all the things I dig.

Daily Whip Outs: "Everything I love"

   My studio, which has been a pit for a very long time, is being whipped into shape by Curator Cal. It currently looks like a dad-burned BBB museum. Check out the foyer.

 The New and Reclaimed BBB Foyer

   This latest sketchbook joins a long and growing gaggle of sketchbooks stretching back a couple decades now. Funny what you can accomplish if you just commit to doing it.

The BBB Sketchbook Morgue

   Cal has also commandeered my computer area and replaced the mess I had there with black and white images, including photos of several big influences in my life: Charlie Waters and Paul Revere, Al and Bobbie (my parents) and Bob and Louise Guess (my grandparents). That's Doc Holliday, upper right.

BBB studio computer area

   Of course, it's hard to keep the entire area looking so pristine because when I work it's chaotic and I have numerous projects going at the same time and my work area tends to look like this:

One of three art desks, my main one. Yes, that is today's sketches, bottom left, which I added some washes to from the pallette at right.

   Of course, I'd like to say I am turning over a new leaf and that I will stay on top of the mess and my studio will stay so classy, but well. you know.

"If you can see the light at the end of the tunnel you are looking the wrong way."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Thursday, November 19, 2015

An Earful

November 19, 2015
   Happy Birthday to Dan The Man Harshberger. He's 68 today.

   Speaking of birthdays, so I'm waking up and Kathy says, "You also have a birthday coming up. What do you want to do?"
   And I said, "I don't know, let me think about it." She says, "69?" And I said, "That's a little more strenuous than I had in mind." And she says, "No, I meant your age." And I said, "Yes, I'll be 69."

   Took another crack at paying full attention to half an ear.

 Daily Whip Out: "An Earful."

"Never to suffer would never to have been blessed."
—Edgar Allan Poe 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Changing Woman & Changing Daughter

November 18, 2015
   Here's a theme I have returned to from time to time. Many In-dins in my neighborhood believe in a female deity who changes night into day.

Daily Whip Out: "Changing Woman #6"

From Changing Woman to Changing Daughter
   She's my number one cowgirl model. Here is Deena C. back in 1995 looking sharp, looking for her pony.

Deena C. Red Lined And Ready to Rope

"Few people can see genius in someone who has offended them."
—Robertson Davies