Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Edward Curtis Show & Tombstone Special Bozecard

 October 20, 2021

   Kathy and I attended the big opening night festivities at The Scottsdale Museum of the West last Saturday night. This was for the spectacular Edward Curtis photography show they have mounted. Met Curtis's grandson, John Greybill and his wife Coleen. Great people. They are tracking down many of the descendants of the Native Americans Curtis photographed and then photographing them. They call it the Descendants Project.

I also taped some new True West Moments down at the Scottsdale Museum of the West yesterday. Did multiple bits on the massive Abe Hays history collection, including stories on Annie Oakley, Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Pearl Hart, Pat Garrett, Frank Hamer and the popularity of faro. The director was the talented Steve Enyeart. Here's his view from behind the camera and in front of the faro display case.

Knocked them out in an hour and drove home (another hour!). I am a pro and have been doing this for a long time.

While I was in the Beast, I picked up 250 commemorative postcards printed by JC Printing and I intend to send them to all my passionate friends who love Tombstone history as much as I do. My plan is to have them mailed from Tombstone on October 26 to give it the time stamp which will make it that much more special. Do you think you qualify for one?

  If you think you do qualify, send me your mailing address to in the next 24 hours. Going to go fast, and my friend Steve Todd is coming by to pick them up on his way to Tombstone tomorrow night.

"Everything you say should be true, but not everything true should be said."


Monday, October 18, 2021

Once And For All, Did The Mountain Men Wear ZZ Top Beards?

 October 18, 2021

   It has become somewhat of a tradition at True West magazine to do a mountain man on the December cover. In the past two decades we have run at least a half dozen and they are always quite popular and invariably a best seller. That's not to say we don't receive a little criticism. Last year's cover (below) got some blow-back because more than a few of our readers considered the cover boy to be too "clean" and not "authentically rough enough," which begs the question: did the mountain men all wear scruffy ZZ Top beards?

  In our upcoming December issue (it goes to press this Thursday) we answer that question and more. Hint: In-din women did not like "dog-faced" men and the mountain men wanted to be attractive to the only females available in the far West in the 1820s.

A sneak peek at the December 2021 cover


The Seekers
   If there's one thing we pride ourselves on at this magazine it's getting to the historical truth, warts and all. And for our cover artist we went to one of the very best in the historial accuracy business. Here's what he has to say about the process:

"I feel it's an historical artist's obligation to present and future generations to paint the subject with as much historical accuracy as possible.

—David Wright

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Uno The Lounger

 October 17, 2021

   Very nice out on a Sunday afternoon. Look who I spied taking it easy on the breezeway between the house and the studio?

The Lounger 

  Got in a new batch of small scratchboards (5"X 5") and I am making hay with them. They're small enough so it's harder to get bogged down in the detail and it forces me to be quick and decisive. Something I need.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Black Hats at Blackhawk"

   Like Uno, I too love lounging, but of course, I feel as guilty about it as the founding fathers.

"We are here lounging our time away, doing nothing, and having nothing to do. It gives me great regret to be passing my time so uselessly when it could have been so impportantly employed at home."

—Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Mojave Memories

 October 16, 2021

   Back from Death Valley. Always inspired by the harshness and the dramatic nature of the bluffs and spires along the way. But most of all, I love the weather.

Daily Whip Out:

"Dust Storm On The Mojave"

   Full disclosure: we actually didn't encounter any dust storms on this trip, but, of course, I grew up on the eastern edge of the Mojave Desert in Kingman, so the incessant dust storms and wind have seeped deep into my DNA.

   In fact, much of our route to Death Valley was an extension of my home stomping grounds. As we pulled into the next town after Las Vegas, Kathy asked me what I thought of Pahrump, Nevada and I said, "To me, it's just Kingman North."

Kingman 1886

My 12th birthday party in progress

Okay, back to the artwork.

Daily Whip Out: "Pahrump Side Road"

   This whip out was inspired by the lonely road from Pahrump to Death Valley Junction and the Amargosa Opera House, which is a cool story all by itself. All along the way you see these random sideroads going off at an angle and as far as you can see there is not a ranch house, or a dwelling of any kind. However, occassionally, one jarring exception is to see a lone, pristine, RV parked in the middle of a rugged wash, with nothing around it. No camp chairs or signs of a fire ring or anything. Perhaps it's some creepy, suicidal campers secretly waiting for a gully washer? I don't know and I don't wanna know. And, so, like Kurtz, I kept going on into the heart of the desert darkness.

Daily Whip Out: "Furnace Creek Crossing"

   And, I have a dozen other roughs in the works and you might say nothing inspires me more than the Mojave.

“What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.”

—Antoine de Saint

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Harsh Turns And A ZZ Top Stop

 October 14, 2021

   On the road to a magical place.

The Artist's Palette

   There is a show off dad in the picture, middle, left. See him? We're standing in the turn-out parking lot taking pictures and he had to run up to the nearest bluff to show off to his kids and wife. She took a picture of him. So did I.

   We're staying just north of there in this old, stone bungalow.

The Sweethearts of Bungalow #199

   Built in 1929, this Oasis Inn pool is spring fed and is heated naturally at 87 degrees from hot springs. Here's a better shot of the entire stone bungalow.

The Pool House at Oasis Inn

   Lots of critters around the pool area.

Furnace Creek Pool Badger

   Death Valley landscape is so harsh and dramatic. Check out this strata-form-cross-current phenom which I love and have rarely seen in movies. 

Harsh Turn

  Seems like a natural backdrop for the Fast & Furious films, but almost on one has filmed here. The only exception I can think of is "Zabriski Point" in 1970. Has anyone else utlized this spectacular scenery, except for, maybe, "Death Valley Days"?

   This is back on the Artist Ride which is a canyon byway south of Furnace Creek.

ZZ Top Stop

   The S-Curve sign reminded me of an early ZZ Top album cover.

"There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount, a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand. There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be "

—Edward Abbey

Monday, October 11, 2021

Making Dust The Other Way With Russian Bill And Sandy King And Hannah Waddingham

 October 11, 2021

   I've been contacted by a British documentary outfit who want to use my painting of Russian Bill for a show called "Mysteries of the Abandoned," which looks at amazing loations and the stories behind them. The show they want my artwork for will feature Shakespeare, New Mexico as the abandoned place and the mysterious Russian Bill and his sidekick Sandy King as the story behind the ghost town.

Daily Whip Out: "Russian Bill"

   They asked me if I had anything on Sandy King and, just for grins, Robert Ray suggested this image of mine might work in a pinch:

Daily Whip Out:

"Prescott Sheriff George Rufner With Prisoner"

   Very clever on Robert's part since the original was done to illustrate Sheriff Ruffner with an anonymous prisoner. Well, not anymore! Ha.

   Meanwhile, reworked—and renamed—a whip out from yesterday you might recognize.

Daily Whip Out:

"Making Dust In The Opposite Direction"

   And, I couldn't resist and tweaked this one as well.

Daily Whip Out: "Long Shadows Final"

   You know who I had a crush on when I was 14?

Gina Lollobridgida

   You know who I had a crush on when I was 20?

Angie Dickinson

   You know who I have a crush on now?

Hannah Waddingham

"Don't cry for me Argentina."

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Long Shadows at The O.K. Corral

 October 10, 2021

   I attended the 100th Anniversary of the O.K. Corral fight on October 26, 1981. Well, here we are forty years later and so many people I met that day are responsible for my current well being and circumstance, it's not even funny.

   Well, maybe a little funny. 

Daily Whip Out: "Long Shadows"

   Meanwhile, on the Dust Front:

Daily Whip Out:

"Making Tracks The Other Way"

A bunch of other artwork in progress. Later. Don't want to become too famous. Why?

"There's a reason why famous people are often screwed up. It's not that wankers become famous, it's because fame makes you a wanker."

—Tim Minchin, in a wonderful essay on why he gave up stand-up fame to stay home for six years.