September 27, 2003
Got an E-mail from Mark Sankey who told me he went on Amazon recently and they are selling my 1st edition of Billy the Kid for $160 to $190. He writes, “The hell with my IRA . . . I'll hang on to my book!”
Finally finished this issue’s Classic Gunfights at about three yesterday. Came home for lunch and knocked out a sweet little painting of Pinkerton detective J. Wright fleeing across a field as Jim Younger shoots off his hat. In the background we can see John Younger with his shotgun trained on Captain Lull and Daniels, and they are in a small grove of trees, as per Wilbur Zink’s specifications, and down the road to the left we can see the hog pen where John Younger fell at the end of the fight, and the McFerrin cabin is across the road, and at the left is the grove of trees where Lull fell after being shot by John. All in all, a nice little historical diorama. And of course, now that I got to this point, I could paint all of the action, and it’s too late, and production is making snide remarks about CG being chronically late (which it invariably is). This is such a dilemma for me. It takes me so long to get untracked with the art, and then when I finally get going, because of the impending deadline, I reach the “zone” at the last possible minute and then it’s time to go on to the next gunfight.
Ironies of ironies: this weekend I’m trying to reclaim many of the scenes I wanted to do on the first go-round for each of the 24 Classic Gunfights we are featuring in the book, and I’m not sure how many I’ll be able to salvage or re-do, but here’s my wish list:
• “Get in, you sons of bitches, get in!” Jesse James yelling at Northfield citizens at the beginning of the infamous, botched bank robbery. He’s got reins in his teeth, a Smith & Wesson in each hand and the First National Bank is in the background. A signature image I have been wanting to do since I went there in 2001.
• Charley Pitts standing at Hanska Slough, proudly proclaiming, “I can die as game as you, let’s get it done!:
• Wyatt Earp, dismounted with his gunbelt down around his knees, shooting into a grove of trees (Mescal Springs) at Curly Bill.
• Hickok and Tutt
• A big Sam Bass
• Bat Masterson shooting in Dodge City railroad shoot-out
”Talent in cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”
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