Tuesday, December 05, 2006

December 5, 2006
Still quite chilly out. I heard at the party last Saturday night that the big Microsoft (or was it IBM?) honcho who bought the horse farm up at the end of the street had a nasty fall from a horse and sold his property. He spent a ton up there and walked away. Some other mega-millionaire bought it and the improvements continue. Rode by this morning and saw them working on the turf.

News From The Front Lines
Carole Glenn sometimes gives me the skinny on the phones and she sent this to me this morning: "Melva Stokes of Stanfield, Arizona called to get a gift sub today. She said she and her husband moved from Virginia to AZ after visiting – their real estate agent gave them a gift sub to True West and Arizona Highways. She said that she had received the Best of the West/Source Book and has it on her desk – she has used it to order Christmas gifts and to locate a website for Soda Creek. She said that she read the October issue cover to cover and she, husband and friends visited Tombstone and had a ball."

More culling and filing in the studio this morning. Here's a half-finished, big, splashy painting of the James-Younger Gang riding out of Northfield called "They Took The Whole Road." (below, left). Need to flesh out the other riders but it's got that Remington sweep and could be a good one. Next to it (below, right) is an unfinished scene of the Acme Saloon in El Paso, Texas on the night John Wesley Hardin was shot and killed.

Here's a failed painting of a Mexican rider that originally was under, or part of, one of the Pancho paintings posted yesterday (below, left). I cut it off and attacked it as a stand-alone painting and it has some potential. On the right is a cloud study I pulled out of the rejection pile and gave it a few strokes. Not bad. Those are the mountains north of our house.

In my Wild Bill Hickok files I found this big painting which ran in True West several years back (below, left). Wild Bill preferred mules and my model, Jerry Tarrantino, was riding a horse out at Winter Range and I gave his horse longer ears, but now that I know more about mules it really doesn't fly, does it? Next up, is a black and white, stark image of The Carkid (below, right) which I created back in the eighties. It's a story about a modern day Billy the Kid, who steals a dream car from Ford Proving Grounds in Yucca, Arizona, circa 1956 and takes off on a joy ride with a Vegas stripper. Yes, that's famed Kingman based Highway Patrolman, Floyd Cisney, on the right. He held the record for the most stolen car nabs (over 5,000 collars). This story was inspired by a tale Stubb Shaeffer told me when I worked in my dad's gas station. Stubb had a hotrod which I seem to remember he called "The Black Widow" and he was coming back from Phoenix and outran several patrol cars and they ended up with a road block at Peach Springs, with highway department machinery parked across the road to stop him, and he blew right past them. I wish I could tell the story as good as he did.

And from the permanently failed pile, comes a Tommy Lee Jones cover attempt that was supposed to illustrate a True West cover story on The Missing. I had no photo reference from the movie (it hadn't been released yet) so I had to extrapolate what he might look like. Didn't work. Next to Tommy Lee is another failure, this one of Wyatt and Doc Holliday for a proposed issue on the dynamic duo. Great idea, but it just flat sucks. And on the far right is a failed Davy Crockett painting where I was emulating a Rembrandt self-portrait and it ended up looking like a gay banker with a Michael Jackson-style nose job.

It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech."
—Mark Twain

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