Friday, September 29, 2006

September 29, 2006 Bonus Bonus Blog
I just got this from an Apache who should know:

I just saw the work you did on your project on the facial studies. Your picture of 'Beauty' (lisa) was very good and I told her about it.

As for the classic Apache face, it has to be remembered that my people raided extensvely, especially in Mexico and captives were part of what they brought back to the tribe. I (and Lisa) are part White Mountain Apache and they are the Western Apache who raided, most often, south of the border. I once asked my father why I had slightly curley hair and he said that one of ancestors was a captive from mexico. We adopted many of them in the long years we fought them. My opinion is that the slave trade as portrayed in the movie "The Missing" was done more by the Comanches than the Apaches. My research also tells that the Apaches adopted most of the people they captured (mostly women and children); warrior people often do this since they have to replace their losses by this form of "recruiting".

So it can be seen that infusions of captive blood has given the Apache a number of different looks and that often some Apaches are mistaken for Navajos who are closely related to us being from the same Athabascan language family. Still, I'm glad that you're looking at Apache features in a manner that is fresh and ignores some ideas of the past.Your assestment of how we modren Apaches spend more times indoors than in the past is also pretty correct. Another thing is that Apaches are getting taller than they were in the past. My father was an inch under six feet and I'm nearly the same (though over the years I may have shrunk about half an inch,stange but true). Also Lisa is taller than the average Apache girl, her being about 5''6". For a long time most were between 5'1" and 5' 4", being rather petite. This may be changing due to diet and foreign blood.

Still, I think in Lisa or Levi you do have close to what can be called a classic Apache looks. I recall once I did a presentation near Mt. Graham at a place called Cottonwood Ranch and my son was dressed traditional Apache and one of the anglo people said to me,"Hey, he looks just like Peaches!" Of course I said,"He ought to be since he's related to him!" Needless to say the guy was impressed by that took a number of photos of him.

Regardless I enjoy your blog and visit it every day or so. I hope to continue to work with you in this your special project. Me and mine can give it an authenic Apache flavor and look. Let's keep up the good work.

P.S. Oh yeah, in his classic "Stagecoach", John Ford used a good closeup of Navajos on a mesa to get an Apache 'look' before they attacked the stage. I really don't mind cause they are tribal and cousins to us.
—Dale C. Miles
September 29 Bonus Blog
Robert Ray, Joel Klasky and I worked on tweaking the Cave Creek Wild West Days ad most of the morning. It needed a map, but Gus Walker is a thousand miles away. Robert found one of Gus's old maps in our morgue and popped it in, tweaked it and it's done. Great job Robert Ray!

Happy Birthday greetings to Scooter Angel, Maniac #1334!

More Bad Apaches
I went home for lunch and had fun with my "bad Apaches." That's the goofy and awful portrayals of our Native American neighbors to the east of here who have had some ridiculous miscast people play them (and draw them!). Most of these cartoons were sketched from real examples. The "Woah!" is from an Italian Western comic book called "Tex," and both the top ones are from movies in the 1950s and 1960s. The "Yo," Brave is a parody of Frank Frazetta, who is a monster illustrator so I kind of bow down to his mastery, even though the image is painfully inaccurate. The 1950's Fonzie Apache is from a comic book called the Apache Kid, I believe. And it looks like he was modeled after Fabian or Ricky Nelson (or both). This is a hoot. I may do more of these.

"The only good Indian is a well drawn Indian."
—Vincent Van Google
September 29, 2006
I had a speech this morning at the Burton Barr Library in downtown Phoenix. Left at seven to go down into the Beast. Took Central, even though I knew better. Street torn up all the way, got to the library with three minutes to spare.

Jana Bommersbach and I tag-teamed our Women of the Wild West speech for the Friends of the Library. They had a full house for the breakfast (75 people). Great reception and people get really excited about the subject. I'm not sure why no publisher has picked up on our book proposal: Hell Raisers: The History of Women In The Wild West, complete with timeline, rare photos and illustrations by BBB. But for some reason every major house has turned it down.

On the way back out I got the word that Rob Bandhauer totalled his truck last night. He's okay. Bruised and battered. Took out a saguaro and a transformer. Went by and visited with him. He's pretty shook up. I told him he's lucky: no one was hurt, he's okay and the rest is just stuff. Carole is on her way over there right now to get him some groceries. He's a good guy and we're glad he's okay.

One of my Iowa relatives, Marilyn Bell, sent me a photo of my grandfather and great grandfather with their brand new 1911 car (I'm not sure of the make although I used to know). I love that Iowa Norsky lingo. This is how Marilyn tells it in the accompanying letter: "Was over to Alice Sysy and she wanted me to look through some old photo albums." Can't you just hear that Midwestern twang? By the way, Syse is pronounced See-See. The photo she found was taken on the front lawn of the Bell farm, west of Thompson, Iowa. I remember my grandfather, Carl Marvin Bell, telling me about this trip to "Webster City to bring back the first car in that part of the country." As he told it, his father, Adam Bell, bought the car, then ran it in the ditch trying to learn how to steer it and do the gears at the same time. So Carl took over and drove the car home. Both can be seen in the photo, with Carl behind the wheel (which is on the right side, left side looking on, English style), and Adam is on the right. I have been told by some that I resemble Adam and that my son Thomas Charles resembles Carl. The other kids are Vern, Helen, Carrie and Nettie. My grandfather was the oldest of 11 kids.

"Just think how happy you would be if you lost everything
you have right now, and then got it back again.

- Francis Rodman

Thursday, September 28, 2006

September 28, 2006 Bonus Blog
Just got back from lunch. Pastor David Shirley and Russ Garrett treated at El Encanto. They are planning a Western Heritage Day the first Sunday in November and wanted to pick my brain about all things Western. Over enchiladas and quacking ducks and swans, I told them the stories we celebrate on the pages of True West.

Russ mentioned watching me every night on the Westerns Channel and since he's an oldtime rancher and horse person I asked him about ground trained horses. I told him about the guy who wrote me claiming he could prove me wrong 100% of the time about my "hitching rail" True West Moment. Bill claims you get off, drop the reins and walk away and the horse stays put. Russ told me it's about 50% true with horses. Some are real good about it and others will be good as long as you are close, but if there's grass nearby, say goodbye. He also added this: "If you've got three ground trained horses and one that's not and you put all four to the test and the one that's not ground trained walks off, two of the three ground trained will go too." Now, this I want to see. Hey Jeff, let's go video tape this!

"Hey BBB, did you ever get the link working to where we could watch the PSA 'To Save Old Cowtown'?  Also, I’ve always wondered were false-front buildings really used in the Old West?  If so, what was the purpose?
— Mark Kilburn, TW Maniac 235

No, we are waiting on tech support to get the PSA up. We're hoping it'll be up next week. The false front phenom was a peacock move, intended to fake out the person entering from the front that the building was larger than it appeared. Of course it only works, if a series of false fronts are flush next to each other, but the style became so ubiquitous, even stand alone buildings utilized the look.
September 28, 2006
Another chicken coop shift this morning. J.D. and I used a crow bar to loosen joints on the roof beams. Took about five minutes per nail. They were long suckers, pounded in at an angle, then bent on the backside down to the hilt, then painted over. So it took a minute or so to even find them, then a crow bar and hammer to get the heads up off the facing enough to get an angle under them to pull them out. Loaded up the Ranger at 7:45 and brought everything back to our place and stored it all in the tractor garage.

We go to great lengths to get it right in True West and here’s a good example. We are featuring the Ben and Billy Thompson vs. Cap Whitney gunfight in Ellsworth, Kansas for our next Classic Gunfights and we are working with two excellent researchers, Tom Bicknell and Jim Gray. The body copy has a mention of Billy being the older brother of Ben Thomspon. Managing Editor Meghan Saar found this tidbit in Dan Thrapp’s Western Biography series with a notation that many have mistakenly believed that Billy Thompson was the younger brother of Ben. This prompted the following Email from Tom Bicknell:

“Tom Dearden, a lifelong resident of Knottingley, England, who was a grass-roots local historian made the difficult effort to dig through the government records of literally doxens of Thompson families living in knottingley during the 19th century to learn as much as possible about Ben and Billy and their immediate family and other relatives. He determined what was later independently confirmed that Ben was two years older than Billy. I have copies of their English birth certificates and even more importantly I found Ben Thompson's only great-grand child, Mrs. Anne Price Beck of Smithville, Texas, who though the Thompson Family Bible confirms Mr. Dearden's research.”
—Tom Bicknell

Well, for me, that trumps Thrapp (who also was a peerless researcher, but he died more than a decade ago and some, but not many, of his findings have been overturned, this being a perfect example). And as I’ve said before, nothing changes more than the past.

The Top Secret Project
Worked last night on more Apache cheekbones. It’s interesting that many portrayals of Apaches are wrong because the emphasis is on the wrong facial structure. For instance, one of the most embarrassing Native American representations is the big Crazy Horse monument under construction up in the Dakotas. Granted it’s only about half done but, to my eye, it’s all nose and no In-din. It’s ridiculously skewed towards a certain ethnic stereotype. Or put another way, it’s more Harry Cohen than Crazy Horse.

I shouldn’t act too snotty about this because much of it is a mystery to me as well. I do well when I’m copying a photo of an Apache, but to apply the facial structure to something fresh and original (building from scractch) is a whole ‘nother ballgame.

For example, Geronimo is easy (see my gouache below). Check out those ball-bearing cheekbones. I also stumbled across another aspect of portraying Apache skin tone and that is this: modern peoples spend about five percent of their time outdoors, while the oldtime Apaches spent 99 percent of their time outdoors, and their skin went beyond bronze and contained more than a bit of gray in the pigment (refried beings?).

And here's my sketches from last night, with an emphasis on the cheekbones:

The other kind of portrayal that drives me crazy is the muscular, buffed-out Apache, who looks more like Charles Atlas, than Cochise. These representations were popular in the fifties with Frank McCarthy and yes, even Tom Lovell, producing their share of central casting studs who looked like they hung out at Gower’s Gulch, not San Carlos. When The Top Secret Writer and I were at Pastor Guenther’s home he showed us the actual sign-up logs for the Apache scouts, recording their height, weight, etc. More than a few were very short, one of them being four foot seven, and several under five foot. All of them were thin, weighing in the range of 130 to 155 pounds, if I remember correctly.

“I have come to the conclusion that almost no one on earth is lazy. The truth is that the person you call lazy just does not want to do your kind of work; they want to do their kind.”
—Bertha Damon

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

September 27, 2006 Bonus Blog
I went home for lunch and whipped out a nice little study of "Beauty". This image is based on a still of Apache model Lisa Bahlen shot at Fort Apache last month, and the background is from a photo I shot right out the car window of the Top Secret Writer's Ford Taurus. The wickiups are lifted from a Maynard Dixon painting, done on location in the 1920s (great colors!).

As I mentioned this morning, many artists have a hard time capturing a likeness of real Apaches in a convincing manner. Here are two examples from dudes I really admire, but they kind of tubed it here. The first is Frank Tenney Johnson. His Navajo and cowboy nocturns are knocked out, but this painting of an alleged Apache looks more like an Italian gypsy lost in America. The one next to it is Remington's, which has great nighttime effects, but the faces are not quite Apaches, maybe Minnesota Snowbirds who lost their thermals, but not Apaches:

"You can be on the right path but if you take too much time to set up your easel you'll get run over."
—Vincent Van Google
September 27, 2006
Put in another hour working on the chicken coop this morning. J.D. and I wailed on the roof, snipping with wire cutters and pulling out a ton of rusted nails. Felt very good. It really makes me feel good, especially using muscles that never get used when I'm on the computer or over a drawing board.

And speaking of drawing boards:

Capturing Apaches (on paper)
I spent a good part of yesterday and last night working on drawings of "Beauty" an Apache looker who figures prominently in the Top Secret Project. I have excellent art reference from the two photo sessions with Lisa Bahlen at San Carlos and Fort Apache. I got some decent portraits going but I'm missing the Apache-ness of her face.

Frankly, I'm not alone. It seems to me, Apaches are as elusive in art as they were in the flesh. Very few depictions of Apaches are convincing to me. Frank Tenney Johnson, one of my painting heroes, does excellent cowboys but his Apache paintings are weak (they look like Italian gypsys). Even Remington has trouble getting the cheekbones right, and believe me, Apaches have very distinctive cheek bones!

I'll post some of my progress and also some of the bad Apaches in art (and they could fill an entire book).

Another Lonely Road Nomination
"My vote is California State Route 62, Twentynine Palms to Vidal Junction, if you're AWOL from the navy and your motorcycle is low on gas."
—Tom Carpenter

"I would rather squint at this sorry face and neck of mine in the mirror than confront a stranger who looks suspiciously like a drum pad."
—Nora Ephron, on face lifts, in her new book "I Feel Bad About My Neck"

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

September 26, 2006 Bonus Blog
Here's a response to the question about whether cow dung has ever appeared in a Western:

Lifting Tails Redux (Redux:Doo Doo)
"Bob, in RIDE WITH THE DEVIL, there is a scene (I think it is when William Clarke Quantrill's command links up with Black John's raiders), one of the horses does, in fact, lift his tail and drop a generous load of horse hockey.  All in the interest of historical accuracy, I'm sure."
— Gary Roberts

"From what I have gathered, most towns and cities in the Old West paid someone to clean up the horse droppings because not to do so could bring flies, disease, etc. In the movies, it's the Craft Service Man (Person) who has that job. I knew one who would see a horse lifting its tail and race over to put his scoop under the horse's rear end, catching the stuff before it hit the ground.

"Also, in reference to Heaven's Gate: Remembering first that greats like John Ford would shoot a vista shot from the side of a road where the equipment could be parked (The She Wore a Yellow Ribbon trek scenes with troopers, wagon, and storm were shot beside the road that runs through Monument Valley) - Michael Cimino, director of HG, took his crew miles inland from the only road, clearing the way as they went, to have them build a town set that had the very same vista backdrop as seen from the main road where they had started. This is called creativity?"
—Steve Lodge

Here's two studies I did on Sunday of a high desert daybreak scene (poached from an ad for Daybreak Ranch). Each has little virtues: the boulder in the first is less defined, but just as evocative, while the background in the second is less defined but just as sweet. This image is of the high desert area north of Cordes Junction and east of Big Bug Creek:

I also have been working on dust storms and their aftermath. That led to this scene, which is a study for The Top Secret Project:

Just had a meeting with several local merchants regarding our Cave Creek Wild West Days coming in November. We are working on an ad that would represent all of our interests and I did a sketch showing a cavalry guidon galloping out at the viewer with the American flag flying. Faith from Big Bronco blanched at the soldier and said, "Do we have to have a soldier? I don't like war." This led to the following response from our friend up at Cowboy Legacy in Carefree:

"I love war. War pays my mortgage."
—Bill Welch, Cowboy Legacy Gallery
September 26, 2006
Got up at 5:30, went for a bike ride early. I walked up to J.D.’s at seven and worked with him on getting the tin off the roof of the chicken coop. I had trouble hanging off the ladder on one foot, leaning over the thinly supported roof and trying to get my hammer under the set screws to pull them out. I’m stretching and groaning and using muscles I haven’t used since my rear chainman days, and I look over and here’s J.D. leaning out farther, stretching longer and grabbing nails that are in my zone. And he’s 82! Kathy says it’s his Mormon lifestyle so I had to ask him, “Didn’t you say yesterday you liked to sit out on your back porch and drink Pepsi?” J.D. smiled and popped another rivet straight into the refuse bucket and said, “Yeh, well, it’s my one vice. And my wife gets on me every time I take a sip.” He’s quite a character and a good neighbor to boot. I’ll miss him when he goes to Utah (and drinks state supported Pespsi).

Los Lonely Roads
“Las Vegas to Hawthorne on U.S. 95 may be the ugliest stretch of highway in American, but Ely to Fallon on U.S. 50 is the loneliest. Trust me.”
—Charlie Waters

“Perhaps the loneliest road in America is Hwy 51 across Nevada.”
—Gus Walker

“In your survey, I think you should have included Highway 50 in Nevada that runs from Fallon to Ely. If you look on the Official Highway Map of Nevada road map you will see it noted as the the Loneliest Road. Having made that trip several times, it's hard to imagine the others could be lonelier.”
—Stephen Teed, Carson City NV

“The stretch from Clayton, New Mexico to Springer, New Mexico. It had to have been the worst drive I have ever experienced, and I drive a lot. I think I saw one building the entire stretch. And in fact, there was a town called Abbott that actually had NOTHING in it! No houses, shops, anything! I couldn't believe it. Have you ever been on this stretch? If not, here is some words of wisdom; don't.”
—Nicholas Narog

Got back to the house at eight. Cleaned up to go into the office. We are really steaming on two issues. Trish and her crew are working very hard and it looks like we are finally poised for true success at True West. Gee, I wonder what Bette Davis has to say about that?

“Success only breeds a new goal.”
—Bette Davis

Monday, September 25, 2006

September 25, 2006
I had an excellent art day yesterday, turning out a dozen sketches and paintings. Got started early and stayed with it. Not easy to do since I’m so easily distracted. One of the tricks I’ve learned is to make a list at breakfast in my daytimer of things I want to work on (not accomplish, but things I want to work on, which doesn’t put so much pressure on the outcome). This helps keep me focused. I can easily spend a whole day in my studio working on stuff that is not on any list! Ha.

I turned the cooler off in the studio last weekend. First time in four months it’s been off. Ran it yesterday, just in the daytime. The nights are cool. I’m wearing long pants on the early morning bike rides (as opposed to no pants).

We’ve got a new poll up. Vote now!

The loneliest highway in the West is:

a. Datil, New Mexico to Soccoro, New Mexico?

b. Las Vegas, Nevada to Reno, Nevada?

c. Thermopolis, Wyoming to Casper, Wyoming?

d. Fallon, Nevada to Ely, Nevada?

I’ve been on all of them and lean towards the Datil road, but maybe that’s because I’ve been on that one more. I’m curious to know which one you think is the loneliest.

Last week Larry Willis sent me that self-portrait he saw in Paris and I kind of wondered which BBB painting he was referring to, and looked in my morgue. Perhaps it’s this one?

If you saw the photo of my art desk two weeks ago, you undoubtably saw the big self-portrait of Rembrandt staring straight out. I was so prolific this weekend I whipped out an inspired piece called: “Billy the Kid Self-portrait at The Age of 63.” I’m sending it to Fred Nolan as punishment for sending me the Rembrandt poster.

And speaking of those big art posters put out by The Independent, did you know the Italians say Van Gog, the British say Van Goff and we say Van Go, and the Dutch pronunciation “is a real mouthful,” according to the text on the poster. Vincent is how he signed all his paintings. However you pronounce it, Mr. Van Gogh also has been an inspiration to me and my gunfighter tendencies. Here’s the poster, plus a calendar in our kitchen (of the same painting) and a Jesse James portrait by me. Uncanny? Or just blatant plagiarism? You be the judge.

”Copy-catting with full residuals is the sincerest form of flattery.”
—Vincent Van Google

Sunday, September 24, 2006

September 24, 2006
Yesterday morning, Kathy and I worked four hours dismantling our neighbor’s chicken house. J.D. is moving to Utah and he said if we’d come up and take down his coop, we could have it, plus his 10 chickens. Hard work. It’s much harder taking out the nails than putting them in! Ha. Plus that damned chicken wire is lethal. I got poked all over the place. Started at seven and worked until about 11 when it got too hot.

At one I drove out to Pioneer Living History Museum for a Western Festival. We have a booth manned by Joel K. and Bethany B. Huge crowds. In fact I’ve never seen that big of a crowd out at Pioneer, and I’ve been going out there since the seventies. According to Joel and Bethany it’s all because of one guy—Buck Montgomery. He is a solid promoter and really got the word out. Very encouraging, since Pioneer has languished for decades. I was on the board of directors for several years and we couldn’t get much of anything going, so I was very impressed with the success of Buck’s efforts. Talked briefly with Peter Brown, plus Joey Dillon, Tony Cassanova, Dakota, and many Westerns Channel fans who came by our booth to rave about the magazine and True West Moments. And speaking of the TWMoments, here’s an Email I got today:

Cow Pies In The Saddle Again
“BBB: I've watched western movies since the birth of T.V. My uncle was a Vice President at Universal & I was lucky enough to spend a few summers wondering the lot.. I'm also friends with the Rutheford family of Brawley Calif, who own the flying U rodeo company. Mr. Rutheford was very good friends with Gene Autry and leased a lot of stock to the studios. Now my question—Of all the movies I've watched, I've never seen dung on ANY street or trail drive, let alone lift a tail."
—Sam Burch

Yes, Sam, good point. You never see any dung or tail lifting in Westerns. Simply put, cow poop (or any other kind of poop) is unseemly, although I'm sure there must be an exception to this, especially in the revisionist 1970s when Westerns attempted to show the "rugged truth," but I can't think of one off the top of my head. I have several reference photo albums full of horses on the march and the tails are going up all over the place! It's a good point, though, and shows how sanitized our visions of the West have been, for a very long time. You don't see paintings of it either. I can't think of one Russell or Remington where cow pies are being made, or are left behind in the streets.

I do remember a cattle drive scene (maybe Red River? or was it Culpepper Cattle Company?) where a bull is trying to mount another cow in the herd. My suspicion is they left it in hoping no one would notice.

And speaking of big cow pies and movies, I got Heaven’s Gate in the mail from Netflix on Friday. Plopped it in my laptop and watched much of it, while I was working in the office. I forgot how long that sucker is (three hours plus!), and even though there are some wonderful set pieces (when the conductor walks through the train station, comes out the door to meet the train and we see the main street, clogged with wagons and people and smoke curling from a dozen chimneys atop the buildings and I read in the book Final Cut they had to bring the train in piece by piece, well it's a stunning moment) in it and decent action, it doesn’t hold up as a compelling story at all. Still, I tagged a couple dozen snapshots for art reference (great lighting in the cock fighting sequence with a lone lamp shining in the foreground and Jeff Bridges walking back and forth on the other side of the lamp, creating superb chiaroscuro effects).

Speaking of trains, "Mr. Train," aka Jim Clark, came by our offices on Friday. He was at a car lot in Paradise Valley and ran into Minnesota Mike Melrose who gave him directions to our place. Jim came by and Bob Brink and I had a great talk with Jim about movie trains and the upcoming 125th Anniversary of the O.K. Corral extravaganza next month in Tombstone. Along with Bob Love, Jim is the lead dog for that event. They are expecting huge crowds and have sold some 500 VIP tickets.

From Pioneer, Kathy and I drove over to her mother’s for dinner last night. Nice visit with her. Got home at eight. Long day, no art.

I’m working hard in my studio today trying to get some decent artwork for Classic Gunfights, Honkytonk Sue and The Top Secret Project. Most of it comes down to commitment. Gee, I wonder if basketball coach Pat Riley has anything to say on this subject?

“There are only two options regarding commitment. You're either IN or you're OUT. There's no such thing as life in between.”
—Pat Riley

Friday, September 22, 2006

September 22, 2006
One of my Old West friends, and a fellow artist, Larry Willis, just got back from France. He sent me this tidbit:

Doc Holliday in Paris?
"While in Paris last month I visited the d'Orsay Museum. They have a self portrait by Johan Barthold Jongkind done in 1850. It reminded me of a BBB painting of Doc Holiday. Check it out."
—Larry Willis

Meanwhile, my Chalfont St. Giles Compadre Frederick Nolan sent me another batch of famous artists posters from The Independant (English newspaper). This batch included several more of my painting heroes including Spanish masters Goya, Valasquez, and Vincent Van Gogh. I spent a good hour studying them last night and I'll have a full report later. Damn, those Bastards were good!

I organized my art reference piles this morning and set up my desk for a full assault on the opening scenes of the Top Secret Project. Came into the office to finish Classic Gunfights copy and a piece on ponies for the Cowboy Chronicle.

Got a call from Jim Clark of Tombstone fame. He's the guy who provides all the trains for movies (Wild, Wild West, Into The West). He's in town buying some cars and he's coming out to see the True West World Headquarters. Jim told me they have received 500 VIP reservations for the big 125th Anniversary and are expecting huge crowds for the October 26th event. He asked me if I had anything he could take back with him, and I said, "Yes, I need to ship 25 paintings from Blaze Away: The 25 Gunfights Behind the O.K. Corral."

"Rest assured that no matter how hard you try, someone else is doing the same thing, faster, easier and better."
—Vincent Van Google

Thursday, September 21, 2006

September 21, 2006 Bonus Bonus Bonus Blog
On this date in history, back in 1850:

California became a State.
Of course at that time the state had no electricity.
It had no money.
Almost everyone spoke Spanish.
There were gun fights in the streets.
In many ways, it was just like California today,
except the women had real
boobs and the men didn't hold hands.
September 21, 2006 Bonus Blog
This just in, forwarded to me from Mark Boardman:

Valley actress Terry Earp seriously injured in collision
By Chris Page, Tribune
September 20, 2006
Valley playwright and actress Terry Earp is in serious condition after
being hit by an SUV while she was riding a bicycle Saturday.

Earp, 58, is best known for her historical stage plays performed by husband
Wyatt Earp — great-nephew of the Old West lawman — and herself.

She, along with her husband and a family friend, had left the Earps’ north
Phoenix home and was bicycling to breakfast when, shortly after 6:30 a.m.,
the driver of a 2003 Honda Pilot, traveling east, ran a red light at Union
Hills Drive and Central Avenue and hit her, according to Phoenix detective
Stacie Derge.

Terry Earp, who was wearing a helmet, was taken to John C. Lincoln North
Mountain Hospital, where she had several surgeries and is in an induced

The Earps’ agent, Kathy Collins, said Earp suffered a spinal injury that
could leave her a quadriplegic or paraplegic. Wyatt Earp did not return
phone calls
Tuesday, referring all calls to Collins.

The driver of the sport utility vehicle, 28-year-old Jason Foree, was cited
with running a red light. No other charges are pending, Derge said.

“I’m terribly saddened because Terry is my friend. However, I see
improvements every day,” said longtime friend and theatrical collaborator
A. Nannette Taylor. “Terry is a fighter.”

Taylor had been directing rehearsals of the Earps’ latest productions,
updated editions of longtime bioplay projects called “Wyatt Earp: A Life on
the Frontier” and “Mrs. Wyatt Earp,” to be performed in January at
Scottsdale’s Kerr Cultural Center, where Taylor serves as managing director.

“(The crash was) in the blink of an eye, literally,” Taylor said. “It
really brings home how fragile everything is.”

Updates on Terry Earp’s condition are expected to be posted at
September 21, 2006
Working hard but not sure I’m working smart. I need to finish up opening sequence of The Top Secret Project and I’m not even half done. I also have two illustrations for the next issue’s Classic Gunfights, which will be the Billy Thompson-Chauncey Whitney shooting in Ellsworth, Kansas. Gus Walker did a great map and I worked quite a bit yesterday trying to make the copy fit I had great research, local info and sidebars from Tom Bicknell and Jim Grey. Thanks guys.

I also need to find art for our train issue postcard and am contemplating an illustration, but that’s another can of worms.

Here's a couple of the cloud studies:

Plus, Mary wanted to buy my big thunderhead cloud study last week, but it was in my sketchbook, so I promised her a better version that she could frame. Here it is:

As you can see, my wash studies are loose and fun, but I still have problems when I switch to the final. Gee, I wonder if Jack Dixon has anything to say about this?

“If you focus on results, you will never change.
If you focus on change, you will get results.”

—Jack Dixon

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

September 20, 2006 Bonus Bonus Blog
We got a letter from Mrs. Sheb Wooley asking us to correct a mistatement in our DVD column. Here it is:

PLEASE have Mr. HENRY CABOT BECK "correct " information on my late husband SHEB WOOLEY. In your Oct. 2006 issue he gives his speil on RAWHIDE dvd.

My late Husband SHEB WOOLEY CO-STARRED FOR 7 YRS. with Clint Eastwood, and Eric Fleming. His ROLE was that of PETE NOLAN THE SCOUNT for the drive....PAUL BRINEGAR portrayed WISHBONE who was the COOK.

SHEB WOOLEY had massive success following RAWHIDE (BESIDES THE PURPLE PEOPLE EATER song) he wrote, published and recorded which to this date (including all covers of the song and re-releases has sold in excess of 100 million records.

He wrote the THEME SONG for HEE HAW which is now out on home well as beinga regular cast member.
SHEB WOOLEY co-starred in over 100 major motion pictureas including HIGH NOON, HOOSIERS, SILVERADO, OUTLAW JOSIE WALES, WAR WAGON, HELLTOWN, RIO BRAVO; and appeared in 1000s of television programs including THE LONE RANGER, SUGARFOOT, MOD SQUAD, ETC. HE IS A MULTI-AWARD WINNING SONGWRITER AND RECORDING ARTISTS (having #1 HITS under 2 diffent names....his own and BEN COLDER the parody KING )...won CMA awards for that character.

Thank you,
Linda S. Dotson-Wooley

Amazing. It was a one-eyed-one-horned-flying-purple-eater and it sold 100 million records. Incredible. What a guy. I had no idea (from High Noon to Hoosiers, now there's a stretch!)

"Do not forsake me oh my darlin'."
—Tex Ritter
September 20, 2006 Bonus Blog
Robert Ray is working on uploading the Wichita PSA even as I type this. As soon as he gets it on a site, I'll post the link here and you can go take a look at our efforts to save Old Cowtown.

My good friend and old Kingman bandmate, MIke Torres, has played Sun Devil Stadium twice now (50,000 people each time!). He was the featured musician at half-time, playing along with the ASU band. Mike does incredible Santana music, and more than a few in the stadium thought he was, in fact Santana. Mike told me he lost 25 pounds to do the gig because he didn't want to be "Fatana." Ha. Here's Mike rocking out at the thirty yard line:

And speaking of talented Mexicans, I sent Jorge Harada a customized Honkytonk Sue cartoon for his birthday. Jorge plays guitar in Ruby Dee and The Snakehandlers. Jorge wrote me a nice note and this photo of him posing with the cartoon:

I've been seeking out warm color schemes for The Top Secret Project. Here's a color study of one of the icons of my youth, Boulder Dam (my grandmother hated Herbert Hoover and refused to call it by the official name—Hoover Dam). I wanted to play with the warm color of the lights snaking out of the canyon and the cool green of the massive cement dam iteself. Kingman used to be know as "The Gateway to Hoover Dam," or put another way, "Have Patience, there Is A Route Out of This Hell Hole." Ha.

And here's a painting I pulled out of the Failure Pile. It's of a certain youth portrayed in the Top Secret Project and I wanted to surround him with the color of turmoil. Not sure it works, but that's why they call it a study.

"Draw what you see, not what you think you see."
—Vincent Van Google
September 20, 2006
One of the True West Moments running on The Westerns Channel has stirred up a hornet’s nest among horse people:

“Does anyone check the accuracy of the statements he makes on the Westerns Channel. For example ‘hold your horses’ has nothing to do with the manner in which horses are tied to the hitching post, but rather to imply that you are going too fast and need to slow down. I can dispute 90 percent of what Mr. Bell says and can prove it 100 percent of the time. Lets get real and make True West Magazine a TRUE statement magazine backed up with documented research facts, not an opinion that reflects one individuals need to impress the general public with their own opportunistic approach to the facts.”

What Bill and others who have written me seem to be upset about is the lack of credit given for ground rein trained horses. Good horse trainers are proud of dismounting, dropping the reins on the ground and walking away, while the horse stays put. And according to some of these guys, the cowboy can go to the bunkhouse, take a nap, run into town and buy some beef jerky, come back, eat dinner, watch a True West Moment on The Westerns Channel, get pissed off, come out and the horse is exactly where the Kaboy left him. I, personally have never seen this phenom, but I have a half dozen Emails from trainers who claim it’s true.

I am proposing to Jeff Hildebrandt that we go to one of these ranches and do a test and video tape it.

And speaking of rein ground training, I was talking to Dave Daiss yesterday (who is one of the riders in the “Hold Your Horses” TWM) and he said he was just at a roundup down in Sonoita and during branding several local cowboys rode up, dismounted, dropped their reins and their horses casually walked away. I have a hunch our test will be quite interesting. One thing’s for certain, some of these horse guys are damn touchy about it!

During these serious times people of all faiths should remember these four religious truths:

1. Muslims do not recognize Jews as God's chosen people

2. Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah

3. Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian world.

4. Baptists do not recognize each other at Hooters.

Took the dogs for a bike ride this morning. Down at the end of the road, they got into the new horse arena and chased a visiting dog. Buddy thinks he’s playing, but Peaches comes in behind and really attacks the outnumbered dog, upsetting all the cutting horse women and especially the dog that’s under attack. I do my yelling technique: “Hay! Hey!” And of course that’s about as effective as, well, ground rein training, or, in this case that would be "sound leash training."

“A dog’s bark may be worse than her bite, but everyone prefers her bark.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

September 19, 2006
I just got off the phone with the San Carlos Apache Tribal Historian Dale Miles and he tells me that "Bi-jashn" is technically Apache for a widow or divorced woman, "One who already knows the intimacies of life," as Miles puts it. But, Miles went on, that through time, the term has gravitated to mean something more like a "shady lady." Interesting how some words wander ("gay" comes to mind) while others, like "cool" and "cloud canopy" are still going strong with their original connotation.

Speaking of cloud canopies, I did two loose landscapes last night and they turned out rather evocative. The first one is of Kansas clouds, which I call "Clouds Over Medicine Lodge." Here it is:

As Ed LeRoy, Rob and I motored from Caldwell to Medicine Lodge last June I was struck by the rolling hills and long roads in that strip country.

The second study is of old Route 66 at dusk, on a hot August night approaching Tucumcari. I have fond memories of coming home from Iowa every summer (1953-1966) with my mom and dad, and after spending the night somewhere in Kansas, we would usually hit New Mexico at dusk the next day, and as we approached those high desert towns (Santa Rosa, Moriarty, Albuquerque, Grants, Gallup, Holbrook, Winslow, Flagstaff, don't forget Winona), there would be this pink glow in the distance of all the motel neon. It is one of my favorite memories and this little painting captures some of that magic. I especially like the rising dust from the busy highway in the foreground, a result perhaps of engine exhaust, leaking oil pans and DeSotos pulling off the two-lane to check out the local attractions:

"Road Trip!"
—Two of my favorite words in the English language

Monday, September 18, 2006

September 18, 2006 Bonus Bonus Blog
Remember the attractive woman who wanted to see me barefoot on the blog (here's the quote): "You are a great looking guy and you look as though you have a large size pair of feet. Also, Bob, what is your foot size?"

That missive prompted this missive from a reader who wishes to remain anonymous:

Cowboy Curtis: " You know what big feet means, Pee Wee?"

"Pee Wee Herman: "No, Cowboy Curtis. What?"

Cowboy Curtis: "Big cowboy boots."

On Saturday afternoon, Kathy and I went to see The Illusionist ($13 cash, $6.50 for medium popcorn and bottle of water) at Harkins 101. I really enjoyed it. Edward Norton was very good and the Victorian settings and costuming were fantastic. Jessica Biel was beautiful and Paul Giamatti, as the police inspector, was quite rich, but the director of photography, Dick Pope, really shined.

I also got a call from Linda Frank of Light Source in Hollywood. They're doing a DVD of True Grit and she wants me and Jeb Rosebrook and Stuart Rosebrook to talk through the entire movie. And they pay us to do it!

"You get what you pay for except when you bill out your own time and you own the company."
—Old Vaquero Saying
September 18, 2006 Bonus Blog
Went home for lunch and finished three studies. The first is the Failure Pile reject I took another stab at. Here it is:

The second study is a sweet little cloud job called "Fanfare Over Mexican Hat." I saw this sucker on the way home from the archery center last week with Lou and my Mom. Pulled over and took a snapshot with my trusty little Kodak file sharer. Here it is:

The third one actually talked to me, and this is what it said: "He rode out of a sunset, and just as the story of the West was ending, his was just beginning. . ."

"Artists who talk while they paint are odd, but paintings that talk to artists, well, that's just Apache Wacky."
—Vincent Van Google
September 18, 2006
I drove up to Prescott yesterday and had lunch with Janet Childress (U of A art grad and Gamma Phi Beta). Prescott was slammed with tourists and the downtown area was jammed to the gills. Met Janet on Whiskey Row then walked down to her co-op art gallery and saw her impressive pottery. Also saw a cartoonist's space (he worked for Warner Bros for many years) who is making a killing by selling his sketchbook artwork. Hmmmmm. He puts out a booklet, all black and white, of the best sketches of a particular year (I looked at 2005 and 2004) and they sell for $20. He does a whole bunch of nudes, though, and perhaps that is what's driving his sales ("Hey Dad, can I buy an art book for school?"). Would you pay $20 for a sketchbook full of this?

We ended up at Genoveses Restaurant on Gurley and had a very nice Sunday brunch ($36.73 plus $7 tip I bought), then Janet drove me up the canyon to her impressive home, built by old bandmate and Kingman compadre, Terry Anderson. The house and her studio were quite impressive, very artistic and bold at every turn.

From Janet's I drove out to the Phippen Museum and picked up my cartoons. The Humor on the Range show came down Sunday. I drove home in a flurry of traffic, but got off at Carefree Highway just before the southbound lanes ground to a halt. Got home at five (184 miles round trip) and did some research, with Kathy, on visiting Creel, Mexico and Divisidero. Creel is at 7,700 feet high in the Sierra Madres and we are looking at taking the train from either Chihuahua or El Forte.

On Saturday I whipped out five cloud studies, and saved one piece from the Failure Pile. Here's how it looked as it went into the failure pile. I noticed the late afternoon clouds over Ratcliff Ridge, tipped with sunlight, but when I went in to put it on paper, it came out too bold and crude (happens a lot). So I put it down and came back to it the next day. Here's the bad version:

I'll post the later version this afternoon.

"Only a mediocre painter is always at his best."
—Vincent Van Google

Saturday, September 16, 2006

September 16, 2006
Samantha took a call yesterday from a "longtime subscriber" who also reads this blog. He wouldn’t leave his name, but he wanted to register a complaint: he said he has noticed an alarming change in the blog. It seems to him I have apparently abandoned the magazine and all of a sudden it’s “all about me” and the “top secret project.”

I beg to differ. This blog has always been all about me, and yes I have been engrossed (some might say obsessed) with the Top Secret Project, but I’m still running the magazine and still doing Honkytonk Sue and still doing Classic Gunfights (by the way, Volume Three of the book series will be coming out next spring) and still doing paintings and cover illustrations and writing True West Moments and producing True West Moments (and also, by the way, Cactus Productions sent me the finished PSA and Wichita True West Moment we taped two weeks ago and we will try and get that posted, or at least up where you can view it, ASAP). And speaking of The Top Secret Project, I have planted quite a few clues as to what it’s about. Here’s a guess that came in this morning:

Flying Leap—Half A Cigar
“I got it, it's a movie, yup, thats got to be it. Yippeee!”
—J. Mitch

You’re half-right. The distinguished professor is doing a screenplay and I’m doing a graphic novel. Hopefully, they’ll have something in common.

In Texas Them Are Semi-Fightin’ Words Department
“Per an article in the September YALE ALUMNI MAGAZINE (passed on to me by a Yalie friend—my academic roots are decidedly more plebian), Fred Shapiro's forthcoming YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS traces the word ‘motherf*****g’ to several late 19th century court documents in Texas.

“The oldest citation for the insult in J.E. Lighter's canonical HISTORICAL DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN SLANG was 1928. Thus for the moment, until an earlier usage wells up, Texas has the honors. Another jewel in its corona.

“Per the YAM article: ‘In at least two appeals of murder convictions, the killer failed to persuade the court that the deceased, having used the m-word, had it coming to him.’

“The bar for fighting words in 19th century Texas must have been set higher than we thought.”
—Dan Buck, Washington, DC

”My mother aside, sir, get to the point”
—unknown gunfighter just prior to slapping gun leather

Friday, September 15, 2006

September 15, 2006 Bonus Bonus Blog
The advance copies of the November issue of True West came in the door this morning from Banta in Kansas City. A very handsome issue with stellar pieces by our own Bob McCubbin (his photos are always a treat) and an excellent review of two new Crazy Horse bios by Alden Big Man Jr. You should be getting your issue in the mail starting this weekend.

I got a call last Tuesday from John Gastin, a subscriber in Blyth, California, who claims his frend and neighbor, Worth Duncan, claims he stole my mother's new hat when he was eight years old (I think he's in his late seventies now). This allegedly happened down on the Gila in the late twenties. Worth claims his dad found the hat and made him return it. My mother said, when I related the incident to her, "I never got my hat back." Hmmmm, I may get a hat lawyer.

San Carlos Officer's Headquarters Set Scene Progress
I have been sketching and fretting over the opening set scene for the Top Secret Project for two months now (see first sketch from July 23, below). I'm getting closer, but still no cigar:

I have tried to capture the claustrophobia of the setting. Here's a color study:

And utilizing the Fort Apache snapshot here are a few character studies in blue:

I hope to work on this set piece this weekend and hopefully I'll post some positive progress.

By the way, according to my White Mountain source, "Bi-jashn" is Apache for a shady lady.

"All of us are crazy in one way or another."
—Old Vaquero Saying
September 15, 2006 Bonus Blog
Here are three more views of my studio, two of them taken this morning, while in the thick of the Top Secret Project:

The bottom photo shows the same desk area from a distance, looking into the original part of the studio (the history of this space continues this weekend). That's Peaches listening to the radio (speakers at left) during the storm. Now here's a photo from last weekend when I was trying to get a handle on all of my art reference. Note the numerous Remington books, and also the lazy-assed dog in the chair (it's Buddy Boze Hatkiller):

As I mentioned, more photos and history to follow, including much new BBB artwork stolen from Remington and Rembrandt.

"If you are going to steal, steal from the best."
—Old Vaquero Artist Saying
September 15, 2006
More rain last night. The air feels turgid and San Diego-ish.

I worked last night on overviews of the Top Secret Project set piece. Realized it needs a hazy, dust-laden patina, with lots of creeping light coming through the brush arbor openings in the officer’s headquarters at San Carlos. So I went to the Netflix website and typed in Heaven’s Gate and put it at the top of my “Q” (request list). I seem to remember every interior scene in that notorious Western had copious amounts of dust in the air to simulate old photos. Can’t wait to see what I can steal, I mean emulate, from that film.

True West Maniacs Go Global!
“Prompted by the mail from Gary in Swansea: You do know what the next stage in the True West Maniac campaign is, don't you? Maniac Clubs. Local gatherings of TW Maniacs at pubs. Club excursions. Newsletters. The clubs volunteering to do presentations on the Old West at nearby schools and nursing homes. It'll be like regional Alumni Associations.

“I don't know if you've created a monster, but that's definitely the work in progress. Congratulations!”
—Emma Bull, Tucson, Arizona

Odd Request #327
“Would you please post a picture of yourself in your Big Bad Book of Big Bad Diary Entries where you are fully clothed but in your barefeet or socked-feet? You are a great looking guy and you look as though you have a large size pair of feet. Also, Bob, what is your foot size? Thank you for any response and posting.
—Samantha Aldridge, Parsons, Kansas

Friday On My Mind
“Man, did you really watch Fort Apache? 'Cause you got some things, er, wrong. Henry Fonda played Col. Thursday, not Tuesday. You must have had Friday on your mind. And John Wayne's remark regarding the painting is ‘Correct in every detail.’ Your quote of that was, let's say, inaccurate. I forgive you. But will the ghost of John Ford haunt you over this?”
—Mark Boardman

He already is. I increasingly dream in black and white and every scene is framed thru doorway shots.

”When the facts become mangled, print the mangled facts.”
—John Chevy

Thursday, September 14, 2006

September 14, 2006 Bonus Blog
Sprinkling at dusk. Dave Daiss said today at lunch it’s the seventh wettest monsoon season on record. Well, we needed the rain and the clouds are still spectacular.

The History of My Art Studio: Part One
In the beginning there was the dining room table—and it was good. Or, it was good enough. From the age of about three (my first memory of drawing) until the year 1986 (37 years!), almost all of my artwork was created and produced on a dining room table. First at my parent’s homes in Swea City, Iowa, then in Kingman, Arizona in three different houses, the last and favorite being on legendary Ricca Drive. When I came home from school, the dining room table was where I landed. While my mother made dinner I would draw until my dad came home and if I was lucky, he would stop and say, “Pretty good, kid.” (actually, I still love to draw at the dining room table, and from time to time Kathy will kick me out saying, “You have a 1,500 foot state-of-the-art studio. Go use it!”).

When I went to the University of Arizona (1965-1970) I was miserable for the first semester because there was no dining room table in my dorm, Cochise Hall. Luckily, as a sophomore, I moved into Park Lee Apartments, where I immediately commandeered the kitchen table for art projects, much to the chagrin of every roommate I ever had.

When I got married to Kathy, the dining room table was still my domain, until we had kids. That’s when I lost my dining room studio privileges. I remember the day it happened: Deena was tiny, with a big, bald Baby Huey head, and I had to babysit her, but I was on deadline and had a New Times comic double-truck spread due the next day. Kathy was gone, so I put Deena up on the dining room table where I could sort of keep track of her and work at the same time. Well, you could have phoned this one in. She was content for about ten seconds, then casually reached out and grabbed my open jug of Pelikan black ink and dumped it over everything I was working on, including Dewey Webb’s favorite movie book which I had borrowed for art reference. The stains never came out of that table or the book (it took me two years to find a replacement for Dewey and I still have the ink stained version, filed right here next to my computer and I’m looking at the black stained edges even as I type this).

Coming next, Part Two: I graduate to a spare bedroom, but I’m still not happy.
September 14, 2006
I took my mom and Lou to the airport at six this morning. Of course Lou was up at four, had his bow packed and by the door and pounded on my door at 5:30. We got to the airport at seven, I tipped a skycap $5 to ferry my mother through security in a wheelchair, and fought my way clear of the Beast in rush hour traffic. Fortunately most of the traffic was going the other way.

As promised, let's take a tour of my studio. Here's my main art desk (I have three, in different rooms) and as you can see, The Top Secret Project is spread out all over the surface. That's the big Rembrandt poster that Fred Nolan sent me. Intimidating, no?

Also, an image of the main character in The Top Secret Project is on the desk. And speaking of the Top Secret Project, which as you know will be a GN, and a movie on paper, and feature numerous set pieces, or master shots. One of them opens the movie, I mean GN, and it will be of an interior of the officer's headquarters at San Carlos. The Top Secret Writer and I loaded this scene up with a whole bunch of characters (easy to do when you're writing a scene, but much harder when you have to draw it!). I wanted to portray the place in the period when San Carlos was a rough outpost (it was never a fort), and in the early photographs it's all tents and brush-jacal arbors. Here's a scene from my sketchbook, which I lifted from a photo of an old stagestop (can't remember where I got it), but I like the holes in the roof and wall, and the gnarly wooden posts in and among the furniture.

Now, to people that room with accurate military men, in the proper uniforms (or lack of uniforms!), and also capture the resemblence of the seven men in the room (there are photographs of almost everyone assembled). I pictured the main officer behind his desk and various Apache scouts, plus Chief of Scouts Al Sieber and Tom Horn sitting and standing around the desk. I drew several rough sketches of where I wanted the men in the scene to be and mailed it to Jim Hatzell up in the Dakotas and he shot 11 rolls of film utilizing a wide cast of characters who show up at his annual Artist's Ride. Here are several sketches of the main characters which I gleaned from Hatzell's photos (the three sketches are of the Scout Curly, Lt. Mott and Tom Horn):

Next, I needed a room full of soldiers that approximated my sketch and that led me to Netflix, where I ordered the classic John Ford movie Fort Apache. Watching it on my office laptop, I found the exact scene I wanted at 12:12 and took a snapshot of it for my art reference (see below). The problem with the scene is that it's a tad formal (it was obvioiusly shot on a sound stage), and the room is too clean. I'll show more of this scene development as we go along and the script, so you can see how it progresses. And by they way, as I write this I do not have this scene nailed, at all.

"Accurate in every detail."
—Capt Kirby (John Wayne), at the end of Fort Apache, describing a bogus painting of the glorious battle between Cochise and Lt. Col. Owen Tuesday (standing in for Lt. Col. Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

September 13, 2006 Bonus Blog
Yesterday, Lou Cady, Jr. borrowed my Ranger and drove back into the Beast for another archery lesson at Straight & Arrow, an archery store and range at 29th Ave. and McDowell. So I was on foot. Had a massage at four with Christie Wilcox and she said to me, "You seem rather tight," and I said, "My mother's here."

Speaking of my lovely mother, I posed her yesterday, holding a triptic of her as a young Mohave County Beauty, in front of the Spanish Rodeo Poster in our dining room. After a couple solo shots I asked Tap Lou and Billy Weir to join her. Here's the best shot of that effort:

Meanwhile, after my massage I was on foot, so I called Kathy to come get me, and while I was waiting I started watching a big thunderhead build over Elephant Butte. From my perch at Black Mountain Gym, I furiously sketched the tall booger, then when I got home I laid in the washes and color scheme I remembered. Here's that image:

Going home for lunch today, then bringing back Lou and my mom for the True West tour. Lou is anxious to meet Carole Glenn because he was impressed with her helping him book his ticket from Cody. They go home tomorrow.

"Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experience."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
September 13, 2006
Woke up at five. Went out early for my bike ride with the dogs. Spectacular skies in all four directions, masterpieces all. I tried to memorize the effects but ultimately, they are too grand and too subtle, all at the same time. I end up just admiring them before they disappear (usually in about two minutes they're gone).

Blogging, Blogging, Blogging, Sold American!
“Two days in a row, I must be getting very involved in your blog. I like the landscape for the blog yesterday. I think you do a great job with all the desert colors. You can feel a storm coming. By the way, how much for the John Wayne ‘failure’? It looks nice to me.”
—Hugh Howard, Maniac# 9, SASS# 49890

Hugh, because you are a Maniac (which practically makes us kin) I’ll give you the Duke for $75. Does that work for you?

“I'll send you a check next week when I get back in town. If you will sign it that would be great.”

Thanks Hugh, but please, please don’t tell anyone. I don’t want anyone else to know I’m practically giving these damn things away.

The Road To Erudition
When my cousin Tap Lou was visiting yesterday, I gave her a tour of my studio and she later commented, “I had no idea all of the extra work it takes you to produce a finished painting.” Boy Howdy!

Based on her comment, I thought it might be instructive to give you a tour of my studio, so you can see where I work, and then to walk you through the sketches and planning for one specific scene. We’ll start that tour tomorrow.

“Necessity never made a good bargain.”
—Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

September 12, 2006 Bonus Blog
Went home for lunch and warmed up some turkey for the gang. Showed Tap Lou and her husband Billy Weir my studio. Gave Tap Lou my recent painting of Tap Duncan riding across Red Lake. She was thrilled. She gave me some rare photos of our family and pics of several family members who were allegedly related to John Wesley Hardin.

Speaking of horse wranglers and movies sets:

"On a few occasions when I was doing costumes for the movies, I was allowed to play a part. First, because I was there, and second, I carried a Screen actors Guild Card. On one show, I was cast as the leading man's neighbor - a rancher; and the star and I had several scenes together with dialogue while both of us were on horseback. This particular leading man was resented by the wranglers because he had insisted in having his own horse brought to location (putting a movie horse out of a job), and he was very persnickety about how the wranglers treated his mount. So, when it came time for me to go to work, they gave me a horse that was almost two hands higher than the star's, which made me look like John Wayne next to the guy; plus, during the scenes we did together, the wranglers held my horse's bridle off camera so its head wouldn't bob up and down covering my face during my close up. Of course, they did not do the same thing during the leading man's close ups, and he was never aware of their little scheme."
—Steve Lodge

Ah yes, movie politics. And speaking of horse operas, here's that John Wayne wash I was talking about the other day, you know, the one I pulled out of the failure pile:

It's from a Stagecoach I believe. Here's another aspect of my art that I'm trying to develope:

I call this method, Push It Til It Breaks. I keep adding color and values far beyond where I normally would, moving past every warning signal my body and mind can muster. Many times (if not most times) it collapses in a wall of mud, but every once in a while it congeals into something quite thick and juicy. The above is a pretty solid represenation of the bluffs around San Carlos, with the white line strata that makes that area so unique. The sky is full of many colors (see opaque areas in upper sky with the under layers peeking through), loaded down with value, but the sky is still very wet just the same. Almost seems like magic. Try it!

Meanwhile, in my sketchbook, I sometimes let my subconscious take over and just start sketching with no apparent theme or subject matter. After I let go, and let go (it's very hard, we have been taught over and over, "What is that you're making? No, really what is it?"), but I keep going and keep my mind away from the end result. This too ends in many a train wreck, but sometimes, something gels, like this:

I call this terracotta sonata, and I'm not sure exactly what it is, but it's very Apache, and I have a hunch it will end up in the book. It just has a certain integrity, I could never have "willed" on it. Michael Stipe of REM claims he wrote their new CD without his concious mind. Someday I'll have that much courage, but not today. Ha.

"Show Biz is high school, with money."
—Martin Mull
September 12, 2006
My cousin Tap Lou (Duncan) Weir is coming out today to visit with my mother this morning. She grew up in Kingman and is named after Tap Duncan (her grandpa). Speaking of Kingman, a subscriber, Bud Hart from Kingman called this morning and wondered when I was in Kingman and I said, " 1956-1966. Are you related to Joe Hart?" and he said, "Yep, he's my ugly younger brother." That's so Kingman.

Here's an alert reader's response to our latest issue:

"I want you to look at something and tell me what you see.  The last issue of True West page 22 the picture of Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer.  Is someone holding Kilmer's horse?  Look between his hand and his belt.  Is that a hand holding the reins of the horse?  Is that a modern straw had over his left shoulder?  HOLLYWOOD? 
"I could not tell but it struck me as funny.  In the movie everyone wore felt hats of the period and I don't remember the staw.  It could be something else but I was reading that article by Beck, and a good read, but I saw the picture and the cop in me keep asking what the hell is wrong here?" 
—Steve Sederwall, Capitan, New Mexico

Steve, you've got an eagle eye. I have seen that photo for ten years and never noticed it, but you're right. There is a hand below Kilmer's and that appears to be a straw hat behind his shoulder. I'd be willing to bet it's a horse wrangler. I met some of those guys on the set and they thought the costuming was fruitcake (so Kaboy), and they hated the hats, kept trying to curl them up on the sides (several of them rode as doubles for the leads) and Kevin Jarre and others kept having to correct their wardrobe, and of course, the wranglers would roll their eyes, intimating that these Hollywood guys didn't know what a real cowboy looked like, when ironically, they did and it was the kaboys who were full of it.

Dan Harshberger just walked in. It must be Kingman oldtimers day here in Cave Creek. I've got a bunch of artwork to post, but it'll have to wait.

"The dead don't die. They look on and help."
—D.H. Lawrence

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11, 2006 Bonus Blog
Here are some of the storm shots from Saturday. This is the scene at Grapevine Wash as we tried to make it into town. That's a sheriff's deputy on the other side, and yes, those are probably illegals on the left:

We went back towards Rockaway Hills and this is what that crossing looked like, plus it was ripping even harder downstream:

The sound was quite loud and as you can see Peaches was a bit intimidated by it all:

And finally, here's a shot of my mama, Deena and Lou Cady, Jr. at The Good Egg. Good eggs all:

"I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex."
—Oscar Wilde