Monday, April 30, 2007

April 30, 2007
Back in office. Mailed off the Johnny Ringo painting this morning, plus went to the doctor to get a tetanus shot for my upcoming trip to Nicaragua.

Thomas Charles drove in from Cal with two babes yesterday. They all attended the Coachella Music Festival over the weekend. The girls were quite impressed with Bjork, and Tomas even had to admit she was better than he thought she would be. Tomas raved about Interpol, Sonic Youth and Jessica Alba, who he ogled while she danced on the side of the stage during the set by Peaches.

Here are a sampling of the cloud shots I took on the trip up to Pinetop and Hon-dah Resort last Friday. First up is the stunning flat-bottomed clouds poking over the horizon as I approached the rim. Really distinctive clouds:

The countryside is still scarred from the Chediski Fire which ravaged this area several years ago. Part of the Top Secret Project takes place in a burned out area, so I really wanted good reference for the post-fire-ravaged look:

Here's a stunning panorama, looking all the way to the White Mountains (middle, right, distance):

Shot this one out the driver's side window of a mountain meadow, and the dark buildup north towards Winslow and Holbrook:

Ran into Vicent Craig at the Joint History Convention last Friday. Vicent is a Navajo who appeared on our KSLX morning show back about 1987, and who played a song he wrote called "The Candy Bar Song," which was sung in the the dialect of "Boarding School In'din" about a poor Navajo who steals a candy bar from the local trading post and does hard time. Just a hilarious song. I played it so much on our show (daily for weeks on end) that upper management of the company who owned the station sent a vice-president to Phoenix to try and make me stop playinig it. They couldn't. Ha. Vicent told me he has some six volumes of In-din songs now and I'm dying to hear them. Great guy, very zany.

On a sad note, local horse training legend Floyd Brooks passed away on April 22, from cancer. Floyd is the guy who answered the "Endurance of The Horse" question from Paul Boord, who wanted to know how far a horse can run full out, because in the movies they seem to go on forever. Floyd told me a good horse can go flat out about two and a half miles before they "will tie up." I sighted his answer on a Westerns Channel True West Moment (shot in Tombstone on Comstock Hill) and it remains one of the most popular TWMoments we have ever done.

Speaking of which, we are going to Wichita in two weeks to tape another batch.

Onion Headline de Jour
Local Man Gets Cocky With Ladder

"The best companies assume that each individual wants to make a difference in the world and be respected. Is that a surprise?"
—Paul Ames

Saturday, April 28, 2007

April 28, 2007
Mixed results in the pines. Tried to work yesterday on the Top Secret Project but didn't get nearly enough done. However, I did meet some excellent historians and made several business contacts for True West, so that paid for the trip.

I'm taking off this morning for home. Too much to do on stuff that's due.

"The happiest miser on earth is the man who saves up every friend he can make."
—Robert E. Sherwood

Friday, April 27, 2007

April 27, 2007
Left Cave Creek yesterday at 11, headed for the Arizona-New Mexico Joint History Convention in The White Mountains. Noticed the price on the Shell gas station had risen to 3.10.9 just since Monday (see photo from yesterday's post). Went the back way through Rio Verde and out across the Fort McDowell Res. Big clouds piling up beyond Four Peaks. Really a beautiful ride.

Stopped in Payson for lunch and remembered a book signing with Margariette Noble (Filaree) when she took me to an old house off the main highway and wondered if I could find it, or if it was still there (that was more than ten years ago). And there it was, The Main Street Bar & Grill. Had a cup of albondigas soup and a small salad and iced tea. ($10.78, includes tip, TW account). Made notes on the convention and items I wanted to cover.

Topped out on the Mogollon Rim and hit rain and fantastic clouds beyond that. Took a couple dozen shots with my digital right out the windshield west of Overgaard. Stopped at Bison Ranch and got a latte ($3.50 plus 50 cent tip), and drove on into Show Low, Lakeside and Pinetop.

Got to the Hon-dah Resort at four (196 mile run) and went right into the conference. Met Larry Ball and his wife Ruth and asked how his much anticipated Tom Horn biography is coming along. He regaled me with his views and theories but it's the punchline to his book so I don't want to give it away.

Book dealer Bob Pugh showed me a new book that contains a never-before-published interview with Billy the Kid, "Dirty Dave" Rudabaugh and Billy Wilson, in the Santa Fe jail. A postal inspector investigating mail robberies interviewed the Boys and gave a short report, giving their ages, where they are from (Billy claimed New York City, so that is another vote for the legend).

Also saw Bob McCubbin and asked if he had any extra True West magazines for our table (I forgot a box of Billy issues at the office). Bob had some and put them out.

Paul Hutton gave a rousing speech in the main banquet hall to a full house. Of course it was on Billy the Kid, and he plugged his big Billy show that launches in two weeks.

After the speech I drove back down to Pinetop and checked into the Holiday Inn Express (Hon-dah Resort was sold out).

Back at the Hon-dah Resort for the big opening night banquet. An Apache girl was supposed to sing the National Anthem but she was a no-show (evidently on In-din time), then there was a snafu on dinner when it turned out certain local politicos crashed the dinner without tickets and they didn't have enough meals to go around. The director of the event, who sat next to me, had a very rough time working it all out, but he did, getting the kitchen to turn out another dozen dinners. One member came over to complain about me getting served because I didn't buy a raffle ticket (Paul did and I told her we'd split it). Good meal. Ended up down at Charlie Clark's Steakhouse in Pinetop for a nightcap. Talked over The Top Secret Project and how to finally bring it to completion. Going to work on that today.

"You have brains in your head, and feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose."
—Dr. Seuss

Thursday, April 26, 2007

April 26, 2007
Worked all of yesterday afternoon on Hugh O'Brian studies. But first I want to share a photo I took on the way back from the bank on Monday. We got a freak rainstorm and as I approached Cave Creek Road on Tom Darlington (a fancy name for Scottsdale Road, which they insist on using in Carefree), I saw this dramatic cloud jutting just over the horizon near Desert Mountain. Took two shots, this one right out the windshield. When I downloaded them I liked this one because it shows the price of gas in Carefree (3.01.9).

Several years ago, Scottsdale publicist Pierre O'Roarke got a photo of himself taken with Hugh O'Brian holding my Wyatt Earp book (looks like a rare second edition). That's Pierre on the right. Hugh also gave me a quote for the back of my Wyatt tome, "Your book is fascinating, coupling your powerful illustrations with your unique chronological tracking. . .from birth, to Tombstone, to the legend he has become, I think even Wyatt would approve."

So, naturally, I want to do right by the Hugh Man. The painting of Hugh and Wyatt was technically due yesterday, but I'm just not there yet. Here is a sketch from yesterday proving my point:

Actually, this is one in a series of warmup images I did to get loosey goosey. I have taken to doing loose washes with no attempt at anything approaching accuracy. Here's a vague background that I like because it has integrity. Don't ask me why, I can't prove it, but I just think it does.

Here's another one (I did about a dozen) that speaks to the inner-fiber of human DNA, perhaps inspired by going to see the Body Worlds 3 show at the Arizona Science Center last Saturday. That's the wildly popular show from that German guy who turns actual cadavers into plastic. Creepy, but intriguing:

And here's my six sketches for yesterday, proving I have Hugh on the brain. I may use that image of Wyatt Earp, bottom center (actually poached from Kurt Russell as Wyatt in Tombstone), and put the real Wyatt behind Hugh and call the painting, "Twin Towers." How 'bout them apples?

Late yesterday, I tried to do a study of Hugh from a publicity still, utilizing one of those "Integrity backgrounds" I created recently. Not bad. Still not there, though, and I don't see him sitting down in the final.

Ran out of time. Need to leave for Hon-dah and the Arizona History Conference. Starts today and the Top Secret Writer speaks at 4:30. I'll be back Saturday night.

"I do the very best I know how—the very best I know I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end."
—Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

April 25, 2007
Worked late on Hugh O'Brian studies. We're going to unveil the painting at End of Trail in June and I want to make sure it's worthy of a veil. Ha. Never had that cliche experience of the veiled painting and then a hush and a gasp as a bikini-clad model steps forward and pulls off the blanket, I mean veil. May have to do an oil on this one. Kind of rusty, but the SASS head honcho, Ken Amiriasano, wants it to bring in some big bucks for HOBY, the youth group O'Brian runs.

Went through and inventoried all 25+ paintings for the End of Trail Art Show. Some good ones, including my recent Jeff Milton, and classic Wild Bill paintings, Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, Jesse James, The Youngers, Charlie Pitts, Doc Holliday, Johnny Ringo, plus Mattie Silks (shooting in her underwear).

Just got off the phone with Bob Alexander, an all around good guy and old West author. The next Classic Gunfight for the magazine is going to be the Gage Robbery and jail escape shootout at Silver City, New Mexico. Features an African-American outlaw named Kit Joy. Great name and cool photo, which Bob is sending me.

Good Question
"If I were to take as fact everything I see in Westerns, (and I watch them every chance I get) I would have to assume that every male, with the exception of a few doctors and preachers, carried a side arm at all times. What would be a more likely percentage of western men folk that carried side arms?"
—Larry Nerison

The main point is this: virtually anyone who travelled out West, went armed. But when they got to town, they usually put their guns away. There are exceptions to this: when Tombstone, and Dodge and Deadwood were brand new, everyone went armed because the towns were too dangerous, but as they developed, usually within a year, there were statutes demanding that citizens not go about armed.

There are examples of famous gunmen being unarmed at the oddest times. When Wyatt Earp and his brothers hear shooting on the cold night of October 28, 1880, they are running towards the gunfire and Wyatt tries to borrow a gun. He's been in a saloon and he's not heeled! Amazing.

Wyatt is not alone. There are numerous examples of dangerous men, not having guns on in saloons and other dangerous places.

Still, most dangerous men had a hideout pistol, or something to defend themselves. I would put the number of armed men in Tombstone in 1881 at under 10 percent. That is just a guess, but even at that number, in a town of 6,000 that's a lot of heat and hardware!

Well, that's just my guess. It may be too low. I'd like to hear other estimates.

"Whenever you trace the origin of a skill or practice that played a crucial role in the ascent of man, you usually reach the realm of play."
—Eric Hoffer

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

April 24, 2007 Bonus Blog
Robert Ray just gave me a lesson on the new scanner. Different controls, different buttons, same idea. Here's my weekend efforts at a certain rider sprung from an errant lightning bolt:

And here's my sketches of Hugh O'Brian as Wyatt Earp. The first pass is a typical image of him as the TV Wyatt, then my perverse-cartoonist mind kicks in and I think, "Hmmmm, didn't Hugh beat the bad guys over the head with his Buntline Special almost every week? And what if you had Hugh 'Buffaloing' an old man, who looked like a certain part time lawman. Hmmmmm."

I've got a more traditional composite in mind and need to go home early to get it executed.

Onion Headline de Jour
Food-Court Taco Bell Not As Good, Area Man Reports

"He that waits upon fortune, is never sure of a dinner."
—Benjamin Franklin
April 24, 2007
Working on the Hugh O'Brian painting. Finished sketches yesterday afternoon, and of course, gravitated to an outrageous satire on the assigned theme of O'Brian as Wyatt Earp. I'll post that sketch later. Robert Ray is still struggling with linking all of the computers in our office and the scanner is not hooked up yet.

Balloon Feedback
"Though I'm one of the guys encouraging you to experiment, I'll add a note of caution: When artists start messing around with type, they can forget that the most important thing about lettering is being able to read it. So think high contrast, and don't rule out dark type on a light background. But if you're loving the white letters, that's cool. It is striking. 
" One suggestion for the current examples: Rectangular word balloons seem wrong to me. One old convention you might keep is having rectangles for narration and ovals or rounded corners for dialogue. In any case, the page looks great!" 
—Will Shetterly 

"You might not agree, but I found that dialogue coming from an unopened mouth unbelievable. The box instead of a balloon is fine."
—Steve Lodge

Monday, April 23, 2007

April 23, 2007 Bonus Blog
A couple weeks ago I gave our art director, Daniel Harshberger, the assignment of coming up with an alternative to the same ol' word balloons that comic strips have utilized for the last 125 years. This irritates the Top Secret Writer. He argues that perhaps there is a reason for this tradition, or utility, and that the world agrees en masse that block lettering done by hand (or computerized to look like it) is the way to go. "When in Rome. . ." Or, "Why fight Rome, when everybody is there doing it the same way."

Well, I don't buy that. Comic word balloons look ancient to me—antiquated, out of style. There has to be a better way to communicate graphically. Fortunately, Dan The Man agrees and he has spent the last couple days noodling with one of my TSP illustrations. Here are the two versions for your perusal:

I'm not sure this is where we'll end up, but I'm excited about the possibilities. The Harsh is thinking out of the box, or, in this case, the balloon, and I like that. Do you?

We've got a new poll up: Would you switch to an online subscription of True West?

I sold a Johnny Ringo painting today. A guy from Santa Barbara bought it for his wife. They own Ed Boreins and Remingtons, so I took that as a good sign.

Had a long phone conversation with Hugh O'Brian (Wyatt Earp) this morning. He's a feisty guy for 82. Dogs barking in the background. He took several other calls while we chatted, then asked if the painting I'm doing will be on the cover of True West. I told him I hadn't thought of that, but he sure knows how to ask for the order. So did Royal Wade Kimes, and you saw what that got him.

The cover of the April issue.

Someone asked Dolly Parton early in her career why she had never been on the Tonight Show and she replied, "No one asked me." That is the problem with most of us. We have been taught to wait until someone asks us, for a raise, for a new job, for a cover story. The people who land those, usually asked for it.

End of sermon.

Onion Headline de Jour
Offended Customer's Huffy Walkout Goes Unnoticed

"I was particularly proud of my performance as the Joker. I considered it a piece of pop art."
— Jack Nicholson
April 23, 2007
Worked all weekend on paintings and illustrations for the Top Secret Project. Haven't been able to even think about it for the past two months because of CGIII.

More and more, I've been getting manuscripts and books from struggling authors sent to me. They want me to "take a look" and make a pronouncement. Are they any good? Is there a place for them in the biz? This makes me very uncomfortable. And as I responded to one this morning:

"While I like to encourage anyone who is attempting to keep history and the Wild West alive, I'm not real comfortable judging your efforts. I'm not much of a writer (seeing myself more as a cartoonist-illustrator who only developed writing out of self-defense).

"You can send me the book, but I won't promise that I'll have anything constructive to say. I don't mean to sound negative, but I don't want to give you false hope, either."


"The naked truth is always better than the best dressed lie."
—Ann Landers

Friday, April 20, 2007

April 20, 2007 Bonus Blog
We updated all of our production equipment, so I'm inputting this on a brand new flat screen iMac, which Robert Ray tells me has a "Bob Cam" a built in camera, which is staring at me even as I type this. Robert claims you will soon be able to see the brim of a Boze-crease, a mustache and fingers typing. Oh, the horror of technology!

"In case you hadn't heard, Dave Powell suffered a massive asthma attack last sunday, and was rushed to the hospital in Great Falls. He's due to be released today (Fri 4/21), and should be home sometime this afternoon/evening.

"My dad talked with him yesterday, and apparently Dave is feeling much better, although I haven't had a chance to speak with him yet. I'm planning on giving him a call tomorrow, after he gets back from the hospital. Just thought you might want to know."
—Jeff Prechtel

Two attractive ladies took me to lunch today at Tonto Bar & Grill. I donated a True West subscription, CGII and a Val Kilmer mouse pad to a silent auction for a scholarship from the Arizona Women In Food & Wine. Jeanne Cook and Mary Fiore treated me and we had a grand time, even imbibing in a decadent dessert.

Unfortunate Fallout From The Imus Flap
There will only be 49 contestants in the Miss Black America Contest this year because no one wants to wear the banner that says, IDAHO.
April 20, 2007
It feels great to have CGIII out the door, but now we are staring down the next issue of True West which we have to turn in about two weeks. Plus, we have bought all new equipment for production and Robert Ray is trying to get it all installed and networked. Quark Xpress is being a pain, and, of course, tech help is in India, and he's growling (he just walked by my office door, spitting nails all over the carpet).

Worked with Carole Glenn this morning on my travel itinerary for the next three months. Really a farflung schedule. Going to Hon-dah Resort up in Apache Country next weekend for the Arizona History conference. Then to Albuquerque for the big Billy the Kid Dreamscape Desperado Show on May 11. I come home on Sunday night then go right back to the airport on Monday morning to fly to Wichita to tape new installments of True West Moments for the Westerns Channel. On May 24th I'm flying to Iowa to attend the John Wayne Birthday Centennial. Then Sue Lambert and I are off to Helper, Utah on June 8th, to present them the Western Town of the Year Award, followed by our big End of Trail BBB Artshow with Hugh O'Brian at the end of June. A possible Mexican Revolution Road Trip is in here somewhere, and then I'm off to Nicaragua in August to help the Sandanistas regain control of the country (or sell them Johnny Ringo paintings, I can't remember which).

Speaking of John Wayne, we got a review book in yesterday on The Duke: "John Wayne: The Star of A Western Celebration." Big sucker, 11X14 inches, full page posters of each and every John Wayne movie, with a synopsis, publicity photos and random dialogue like this:

Cutter: It would break my heart if I had to put a bullet in your back.

Regret: It would make me sad also.

That's from The Commancheros, 1961. Here's another one:

Cole: I'm looking at a tin star with a drunk pinned to it!

Sheriff: Look, Cole, I may be a drunk. I may not be able to load my own gun, but I don't need you to tell me how to do my job.

That's El Dorado, 1967, and Cole is John Wayne and Sherrif J.P. Harrah is Robert Mitchum.

My friend Jim Hatzell sent me the new BBC CD of "Custer's Last Stand," which includes more than 12 minutes of footage that will not be in the edited version shown on the Discovery Channel. Jim says, "The BBC gave me a lot of power to shape the look of it, the uniforms and weapons of officers and men, gray horse troop, you name it. How does somebody go about putting a show in for a Golden Boot Award? This is certainly the best thing I have ever done on film! But remember, Bob, you covered all this first in your magazine."

Jim is referring to our breakthrough Custer piece based on the research of Michael Donahue who advances the theory that Custer came off Last Stand Hill and tried to make a river crossing farther west. In fact, we feature it extensively in CGIII.

I watched the BBC show last night and enjoyed it. Unlike most of these docs, they actually hired actors and had dialogue and it was quite balanced and yet edgy. Jim's work on the costuming, the horses, the tack and the guns is first rate, certainly one of the most accurate I've ever seen. I would highly recommend it.

Onion Headline de Jour
All Minority Postal Staff Undergoes Mandatory Diversity Training

"When nothing is sure, everything is possible."
—Margaret Drabble

Thursday, April 19, 2007

April 19, 2007 Bonus Blog
Yesterday I had lunch with Gail Peterson and Pastor Roger Thompson and his wife Cheryl. They treated me at El Encanto and we sat outside by the pond and had a great time. For several years I have donated paintings to their cause: The event will benefit "Friends/Amigos of Breaking the Cycle" through the ASU Foundation and supports the family planning services ASU provides in collaboration with Grace Lutheran Church of Phoenix.

I brought in a passel of artwork into the office and Gail and Roger picked out three, including a sweet Honkytonk Sue and an original Billy the Kid dancing at a baile in Puerto de Luna.

The Exhibit and Sale is called "Art for Health!" and will be held May 4th, 6:30 - 9:30 - Hope Hall, 1124 N. 3rd St. Phoenix.

In addition to my work, they will have work by:

Ed Mell
Craig Cheply
Jon Nelson
Zarco Guerrero
John Dawson
Louis DeMayo
Cindy Carrillo

It's for a great cause and I enjoy contributing.

"Nobody is a real loser—until they start blaming somebody else."
—Legendary UCLA Coach John Wooden
April 19, 2007
Woke up this morning with about six changes and corrections to Salt Siege Shoot-out. Got into the office and we went through them. Some were tiny (change town to plaza), others were significant (headline didn't pay off in text!) Going to upload the changes to Tri Star this afternoon. The book went down last night.

Meghan Saar really outdid herself on this book. She caught errors on top of errors, a typo here, a misplaced name there. She saved my bacon on the Credits page when I forgot to thank about a half-dozen Alamo and Custer experts who helped me, including Richard Fox, Kenneth Hammer, Col. W.A. Graham, Richard G. Hardorff, Dan Kilgore, Bill Groneman, Gary Zaboly, Richard Santos, Stephen Hardin and Alan Huffines. Whew! That was a close call.

So I asked Meghan to list the Top Ten Corrections for CGIII and here they are:

1. Changed Lonie from being the culprit when it should have been Thornhill in the Kid Curry fight.

2. Realized the “Adair” gunfight did not match the gunfight that ran in the magazine, and was actually an earlier version. It didn't read quite how I remembered it, and when I looked at what ran in the magazine, my suspicion was confirmed.

2. Made sure Huaca Huanusca (Dead Cow Hill) was spelled the same throughout the Butch & Sundance gunfight (and believe me, it is all over that gunfight!).

5. Caught different dates for the Adair train robbery in different gunfights (Kill Bill and Adair) and making sure they matched.

5. Made sure Dalton gang member Charley Pierce was spelled the same throughout the book in various gunfights.

6. Fixed a date that should have been marked in color, when the one above was instead—thank goodness for color proofs!—as well as fixed Sonoma spelling on background of map (in Tiburcio Vasquez gunfight).

7. Speaking of map changes, here are a few: Fixed Osage from Oasge in map in John Wesley Hardin gunfight; Fixed Magdalena on map in Jeff Milton gunfight; bin(n)oculars, Wo(o)lf Tooth in Custer gunfight maps; Changed ending year on Kid Curry map from 1903 to 1904, as that is when Parachute robbery took place; Salt War maps: had Mortimer being hit from Mauro Lujan’s home instead of Nicholas Kohlaus’ store, among other errors corrected.

8. Counted the heads in a photo for a Wild Bill gunfight and alerted Bob that it could not be similar to the size as the one Hickok confronted because the crowd in the photo numbered more than three times the size of it.

9. In Caldwell gunfight, copy stated four cowboys run to Kalbfleisch’s stable and demands horses at gunpoint, while map stated a half-dozen; matched map to the copy; in same gunfight, a sidebar introduced a group of cowboys as being five suspects, while the list included a sixth person who was actually in jail at the time.

10. Made sure everyone was credited that should have been (at least, as far as who was originally credited in the "Recommended" and in some maps). This included a long list of Alamo and Custer researchers who would've been left out.

(And this is why reading final proofs of what is being sent to the printer is SO important!)

Corrections were made to the Butch and Sundance map, but they must have been made on an earlier copy of the map as a November 6 entry about the pair asking for directions to San Vicente had been turned into them asking for directions to Cucho.

When you see this map in the gunfight book, you’ll understand why that slight change could’ve been easily missed. But I read my proofs, even if I’ve read all the articles a million times, because you never know when a file mix-up like this happens!

These are my favorite catches, because sometimes the last thing I want to do is reread the entire magazine (or, in this case, book) that I just finished reading to approve for final proofs. But technology can play tricks on us, and what I approved may not be what was prepared for the printer. So it is definitely worth it!
—Meghan Saar

Onion Headline de Jour
Cell Phone Lost, Found, All In Thrilling Four-Minute Period

"I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center."
—Kurt Vonnegut

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

April 18, 2007
We are finishing up the final gunfight for CGIII, the book, this morning. The Salt War Siege Shootout has been a dilly to finish, but we have had excellent information and images from Paul Cool, the author of the forthcoming book on the war to be published by Texas A&M next year. Meghan is going over final changes in the maps and copy and then the whole six-page-deal will be eBooked to Paul for final corrections in about an hour.

The book, meanwhile goes to the publisher tonight.

Yesterday, after whipping out the night time scene of Chico Barela confronting Captain Blair's squad (I call the painting "Spooked!"), I was amazed and somewhat surprised at the excellent Frank Tenney Johnson nocturn effects in the painting. What actually happened is that I didn't have any clean boards to paint on, and since I had about 45 minutes to execute the image during my lunch hour, I grabbed a failed board on the Wham Robbery and painted over it. The end result being that all of the ground colors shine through the dark blues, giving the painting a very authentic night time glow. To me, the image (see yesterday's post) is very Remingtonesque with the color scheme looking like a bonified Frank Tenney. All in all a happy accident. If I had the time, I would have gone to the store, bought new board and the end result wouldn't have been nearly as thick and juicy. Hmmmmm.

Anyway, when I got home last night and started on my six sketches for the day I dipped into the pools of color left over from the Spooked! painting and ended up with a page of this:

Nappy-Headed Ex-Shock Jock
"Met Roy Oswald [from Kingman] in his Scottsdale store today, said to say hello. Was Don Imus from Kingman? I was his counselor at Orme summer camp."
—Jeb Rosebrook, screenwriter of Junior Bonner

Actually, Don Imus and his brother Fred lived for a time on a ranch near Ashfork, Arizona. In his book, "Two Guys, Four Corners" (a reference to Arizona's northeast boundary with Utah, Colorado and New Mexico), Don talks about living on the ranch and his relatives in Kingman. I believe his uncle was sheriff in the late 1940s. When I read this several years ago I called my Aunt Jean in Kingman and asked about the Imus family and why I had never heard about Don Imus being from our area. I knew of people named Imus, but they were Hualapai Indians. This is not uncommon as several Hualapais took the "American" name of the ranchers they worked for, such as the Grounds and others. Aunt Jean called me back about a week later and said she talked to the Imus's she knew and they confided to her they weren't real proud of the connnection. Imagine their horror today? Ha.

"My husband, Leonard Burgoon, 'Lefty', was an extra in Rio Bravo. He can be seen 5 or 6 times in the movie. He is the cowboy that rides in from the desert at the beginning. We would like to buy the uncut version where Leonard rides in with the Marshal at the end. We have only seen it once on TV. Our grandchildren thinks it is great that grandpa was in a John Wayne movie. Leonard laughed when he read Angie was the only star from Rio Bravo still alive. He said, 'They forgot about me.'"
—Janet Burgoon, Pataskala, OH

Onion Headline de Jour
New York Philharmonic Hosts Open-Mic Night

"Quality never goes out of style."
—Levi Strauss

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

April 17, 2007
Final push for Classic Gunfights, Volume Three: Hell's In Session. Lots of tiny errors, but, of course Meghan Saar finds them all. Even on the map Gus did for the Butch and Sundance escape route in Bolivia, done years ago.

Went home and did one more quick illustration for the Salt War Siege, or Salt War Slaughter, or Salt War Shootout, take your pick:

One of the major turning points in the battle, was when a relief column, led by Captain Blair left Franklin (as El Paso was called in 1878), and headed for San Elizario. Blair and his fourteen men arrived on the outskirts of the battlefield around midnite. Blair was challenged about two miles out but he ignored it and kept on the road. At a distance of 300 yards, and where the road was hemmed by a low wall on one side and a hedge fence on the other, a dozen voices commanded him to stop. He did, but demanded to talk to their leader. Chico Barela appeared and told the captain that whatever was going on was no business of his. After several blustery attempts at intimidation, Barela just shrugged and told the captain "they wanted Howard and would have him." Adding that if Blair advanced they would fire on him.

Blair turned tail and rode back to El Paso, where he sent a series of telegrams to his superiors covering his tail (feathers). The Rangers besieged at San Elizario waited in vain for Blair to do something to help them, but he never did.

"Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter could be said to remedy anything."
— Kurt Vonnegut

Monday, April 16, 2007

April 16, 2007
Long weekend. Worked all day Saturday at the Phoenix Book Festival, then a Planning Session at a Scottsdale Hotel for Western Writers of America. I am the chair for activities and the local reception. Had dinner with the crew, got home at about 11:30. A long one.

Worked all day yesterday, on final paintings for CGIII. Here's a decent look at the ridgeline at Bloody Run, a painting for the Wham Robbery CG. Notice the Buffalo Soldier running for cover, far right, and all of the firepower coming from the "forts" along the ridge line:

My Kingman cowboy cousin Craig Hamilton has made the cover of a horse magazine. Here it is:

And, one more time for good measure, is the final painting for The Salt War:

Onion Headline de Jour
Area Baby Doesn't Have Any Friends

"I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different."
—Kurt Vonnegut

Friday, April 13, 2007

April 13, 2007
Unexpected rain storm blew in last night. Really came down. My cousin's daughter had a rehearsal dinner scheduled for an outdoor steakfry down in Scottsdale. I imagine that got mighty wet. The wedding is this afternoon and Kathy and I are attending.

The Top Secret Writer is flying in today for a confab and a Book Fair this weekend.

Abby Pearson came in on her day off, to help Robert Ray and I finish CGIII. I whipped out a painting of PIke Landusky this morning. Could have been sweet, but I had to rush it. Hate that.

I had great reference from our shoot last June up in Cody. We had a great Pike Landusky model, Candy Moulton rented us a great skunk cap ($25 down, and $25 when the video goes to market). And along with Preston and Steve Randolph of Cactus Productions we filmed in a saloon at Trail Dust Town.

"When Imus is sitting there with that cowboy hat on, he looks like Wyatt AAARP.'"
—Dennis Miller, as reported from Mark Boardman

Thursday, April 12, 2007

April 12, 2007 Bonus Blog
Our managing editor, Meghan Saar, is such a stickler for detail. This morning she was copy editing the Caldwell, Kansas "Hell's In Session" gunfight which appears in CGIII and discovered a gaff: when I listed Talbot's "Cowboys" I said "Five of the suspects came up the Chisholm Trail," but then I list six gang members in the sidebar. "Why the discrepency?" Meghan wants to know.

Dammit! One of the problems is, my mind is currently on the El Paso Salt War, and none of those Caldwell names ring a bell. Right now, the names rolling around in my head are Barela, Blair, Howard, Ellis, Kerber and "Dangerous Dan" Tucker.

The Caldwell crew listed in the sidebar are Bob Bigtree, Jim Talbot, Doug Hill, Jim Martin and Tom Love, and at this moment they are as alien to me as a Croatian soccer line-up.

What to do? I immediately emailed and called Rod Cook in Caldwell, Kansas. He has spent his life researching this fight and he should know. He did. Here's his immediate reply:

Autobiography of Charles Colcord –pp.111
“Tolbert picked up three cowpunchers who worked on the Gorham range adjacent to that of the Comanche Pool on the west.” [In the Cherokee Outlet, bordering the T5 on the north-west.] Further down in the paragraph, Colcord says the outlaws “. . .came to my camp – Jim Martin with his right thumb shot off, Doug Hill shot through the right leg, and Bob Bigtree wounded in the hip.”

The Chisholm Trail -pp.471
“Soon thereafter there appeared in the town three other men . . . were all close associates of Talbot . . . These three men gave their names and were known as James Martin, Bob Munson, and Bob Bigtree. [Gorham ranch-hands]

Wellington Monitor Press – April 11, 1895
“In the early part of December, five cowboys, Doug Hill, Jim Martin, Bob Munson, Bob Bigtree and Tom Love, rode into Caldwell from the range and began making themselves at home in the saloons, the “Red Light” <9> and other resorts with which the town then abounded. They were In Talbot’s company a good deal and came to be known as the Talbot gang.”

Cowley County Courant – December 22, 1881
“After the fighting in the city, and Mike Meagher and George Speers were killed, the five outlaws—Jim Talbot, Bob Bigtree, Bob Munson, Jim Martin, and Doug Hill—rode off to the east of town, across the railroad track. Some one of the citizens fired at and killed a horse from under one of them [Talbot].”

Caldwell Post: December 22, 1881
"Tom Love participated in the fight but did not ride out of town with the others. He and Eddleman were caught and held in Caldwell after the fight and after the others rode out:

“Warrants were issued for the arrest of the above named men [Jim Talbot, Bob Bigtree, Jim Martin, Tom Love, Dick Eddleman, Bob Munson and Doug Hill]. Tom Love, and Dick Eddleman were arrested Tuesday and sent up to Wellington. The others escaped into the I. T. [Oklahoma Indian Territory].
—Rod Cook

"Man, it pays to know the right people."
April 12, 2007
Worked late again last night. I'm driven by the fact that the holes in CGIII will be in print for a long time and I don't want weak stuff there.

Remember several months ago when I posted my proposed cover sketches for Paul Cool's Salt War book? Here's a page of those sketches:

And here's the final painting:

I brought in about three dozen paintings from my morgue for Trish Brink and the crew to look at. We're going to choose the best 20 for a big art show at this year's End of Trail. We're going to have an art opening featuring the artwork from Classic Gunfights, Volumes I, II and III, on June 21st, and Hugh O'Brian is going to be there. I'm presenting him an award, and I also will have a painting of him which I haven't done yet. This is quite amazing to me because back in 1957 my grandmother, Louise Robinson Guess Swafford, pointed at the TV when "Wyatt Earp" came on and said, "Wyatt Earp was the biggest jerk who ever walked the West." It was at this exact moment, as we both sat looking at Hugh O'Brian strut across the tiny screen, that my passion for the truth about the Old West gunfighters was born. And if someone had told me that 50 years from then I would not only meet Hugh, but present him a painting, I would have said, "Wow! Will this be at the girl's gym or the American Legion in Kingman?"

And not so ironically, yesterday I decided to dedicate CGIII to my grandmother. Every time I went to her house (she lived on Jefferson Street, just below Radar Hill in Kingman) she told me how we were related to outlaws (my mother hated this) and I loved it. I called my Aunt Jean in Fort Sumner to get her blessing (she is the last surviving Guess girl), and of course she was supportive, as she always is.

Speaking of Fort Sumner, Buckeye Blake just called and said the Fort Sumner village council "shelved it." It being his proposed "Wake of Billy the Kid" sculpture. An insider has admitted they had enough dissenting votes to kill the proposal. They don't think the scuplture is a fitting place for a dead Billy (too funny for words!). The ex-sheriff of DeBaca County (a very controversial guy) and Steve Sederwall's names (ditto) came up in the council meeting, and this allegedly freaked everyone out. The board was also "shocked" at how Buckeye portrayed Billy, even though Buckeye went to extraordinary lengths to ensure accuracy and used only contemporary accounts from local Fort Sumner residents like Paco Anaya and the Maxwells. There were also rumors that the sculpture would be firebombed if it was installed. As of this morning, the unveiling in Sumner is off, but the original of "The Wake of Billy the Kid" will go in the Hutton show in Albuquerque, which opens on May 12. Poor Buckeye walked the gauntlet and got slapped down for his efforts, but I believe the controversy will, in the end, actually help the art piece find a prominent home, and I predict, ten, twenty years from now, some Fort Sumner politician will be quoted as saying, "Why didn't the artist put this at Fort Sumner where it belongs?"

Yesterday afternoon, Robert Ray, Abby Pearson and I were talking about the amazing maps Gus Walker has in this latest collection of Classic Gunfights. The Custer, Alamo and Butch & Sundance's Last Ride maps are just extraordinary. Gus really is an artist, and I think it's safe to say, nobody has ever done better maps of the frontier period than The Mapinator. Period.

Onion Headline de Jour
Area Man Looking For Whatever The Hell Is Beeping

"Maturity is the ability to live in peace with that which we cannot change."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

April 11, 2007 Bonus Blog
Four of us are slaving over the sprawling layouts for CGIII. Actually, five of us, counting Mark Boardman, who has been ferrreting out and confirming specific dates, like this:

• Bitter Creek Newcomb and Charlie Pierce went to the Dunn ranch on May 1, 1895. They were shot in the early morning hours of May 2. Bitter Creek was finished off later that morning when he revived in the back of a wagon that the Dunns were using to transport the outlaws' bodies to town.

• Bill Tilghman arrested Bill Doolin in the bathhouse of the Davy Hotel in Eureka Springs on January 15, 1896.

• Doolin, Dynamite Dick and 13 others broke out of jail in Guthrie at about 8:45pm on July 5, 1896.

• Doolin was gunned down by Heck Thomas and posse on August 24, 1896.

Both Robert Ray and Abby Pearson are tweaking layouts for the 26 gunfights covered in the book, and Meghan Saar is double and triple-checking facts and grammar. Several pages still hanging out, mainly for art, but there is always little stuff, like isbn numbers, copyright info. dust jacket copy, credits page credits and on and on.

I went home for lunch and tried to knock out a firing squad scene but blew it. Probably didn't help any that I was bragging this morning how great I have been doing. ha.

Jesse James Is Looking Good
"Advance word -- for what it's worth -- actually has it that the Brad Pitt Jesse James movie is very good. Apparently the studio thinks the prime release time would be November, so that's what we're looking at."
—Allen Barra

"I'd rather not sing than sing quiet."
— Janis Joplin
April 11, 2007
Worked last night until about 7:30 on Salt War images. Here's the rooftop shooter which was about half done:

I wanted to retain that damaged, faded photo look, but I also wanted to convey the Ranger Compound off in the distance (150 yards away) and the shooters there on the roof. Nice gunpowder effects as the insurgents laid down a withering fire and drove the Rangers off the roof of the compound (the shooter in the foreground is on the roof of the post office). One Ranger chopped off two fingers trying to cut a hole in the roof to escape.

I also finished the cover piece for Paul Cool's book jacket and we are using it as a full page in the magazine. I'll post that image tomorrow. I'm really in the zone and it all feels good.

"Excellence is not an act but a habit. the things you do the most are the things you will do best."
—Marva Collins

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

April 10, 2007
Gus finished his Salt War maps and uploaded them this morning. I'm still scrambling to finish three paintings for the book. Meghan is doing final edit. Going to go home early to work on the paintings.

I have a bunch to tell, but no time right now.

“The people who are grandly famous are people who are often famous for contradictory reasons. The more contradictions you can hold on yourself, the more contradictions your image has, the more famous you will be, because people will interpret you in different ways. The more different kinds of stories and even contradictory stories that can be told about someone, the more famous he will be.”
—Leo Braudy (interviewed by Bill Moyers in his book World of Ideas)

Monday, April 09, 2007

April 9, 2007
Dave Daiss is up from his ranch, so I treated him to lunch at Tonto Bar & Grill ($25.02 plus $5 tip, biz account). Sat outside on the patio. Beautiful day. Talked quite a bit about promotional efforts for True West. He often buys banner space and rodeo mentions down in his area to promote TW. Dave is a natural promoter and we need him to do even more to get the magazine known.

Got a call from Buckeye Blake and he tells me it doesn't look good in Sumner. The meeting is tonight and the buzz has been quite negative. Evidently, someone from the Lincoln area, specifically, Capitan, got involved and the locals are not happy.

Decided to get crazy, and brought in some Essdee scratchboard to the office. Hadn't touched the stuff in six months, so my first efforts were kind of rusty:

But once I got going, it kind of flows right out of me. These are more studies for the Salt War Insurgent Faces. I especially like the Vato in the lower right corner. That Dude will mess you up.

Onion Headline de Jour
Inner City Community Bands Together To Find Missing Parent

What helps me is the daily habit of drawing six pictures no matter what. By the way, with these ten and the six I'll do when I get home, it will bring me to 3,558 drawings without missing a day. Amazing (for me).

"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."
—Old Vaquero Saying
April 9, 2007
Worked all weekend on Salt War images. Here's "Face of The Insurgency." Very nice effects and patina. Note the small scar on his jawline (a happy accident). And also notice the dirty fingernails (he's a farmer). I'm also proud of the '73 Winchester. I have one, and propped that sucker right on my art desk for reference. Notice the rubbing circle created by the saddle ring, just above the trigger guard.

Also did a gaggle of facial studies for other insurgency characters. Runs the gamut.

The insurgents got up on the adobe rooftops of the surrounding houses in San Elizario and laid down a deadly fire at the Texas Ranger compound. Nice subtle effects here. Still need to add the Ranger compound in the mid-distance.

"Believe in yourself. Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy."
—Norman Vincent Peale

Friday, April 06, 2007

April 6, 2007 Bonus, Bonus, Blog
Tom Tumus came by and gave back a TW check for $473. Claims we don't owe him the money. Carole's not here so I told him I'd check on it Monday.

Now Ron's gone and it's just Sylvia and I (she was here earlier too). Going to meet friends up at AZ Wine at 6:15 and then we're going to eat at Easy Street Bistro, who have been doing heavy email campaigns, sending us menus for their custom dinners on Friday and Saturday night. They aren't open to the public. Anyway, we finally decided to try them. Ah, those email campaigns work, don't they?

Here's one more page of red-ryder-roof-shooters-studies. Very nice and loose. Hope I can capture some of that in the finals. Many of the San Elizario shooters got up on the flat roofs and fired on the Texas Rangers.

English Numbers And Fun With Wild Bill
"A thought for you: have you noticed the fact that the number '10' not only played a part in the death of Hickok on August 2, 1876, but also Jack Slade? To be specific, Slade was hanged on March 10, 1864 by the Vigilantes; but if you add 1+8+6+4 you get 19 which is 1+9= 10. Similarly, Hickok's year of birth was 1+8+3+7 which again totals 19 or 10. And as a final figure, 8/2 for August 2 also equals 10—chilling isn't it?

" I enjoyed the latest issue on Billy the Kid, but I wish someone had taken time to point out that his real name was Henry McCarty and that much of the research into his earlier years was done by the late lamented Waldo Koop who unearthed details of his time spent as an urchin at Wichita.

"My best, and a Happy Easter to you all."

— Joe Rosa, England
April 6, 2007 Bonus Blog
Everyone's gone (3:35 p.m.). Just me and Ron left to hold down the fort. Everyone took off early, but we had a rough week and they deserve it.

Seth Hoyt and I had lunch at El Encanto earlier in the week. Good talking to him. He has a whole bunch of experience as a publisher and an all around media guy.

Bailed into sketches for the Salt War fight. Texas Rangers holed up in their Ranger Compound in San Elizario, Texas, firing out windows and thru portholes. They were brave fighters facing overwhelming odds and they repulsed wave after wave of insurgent charges, but in the end they surrendered, through a confusing maze of miscommunication and battle-fatigued and truce-fed negotiations, succumbing to outright lies and half-truths. Whatever, they are remembered to this day as the only Texas Ranger unit who ever surrendered.

Gee, I wonder if there's a moral in there for anyone in Washington?
April 6, 2007
Robert Ray, Abby Pearson and Meghan Saar and I worked late again last night, finishing several projects that needed to go out. This after getting the June issue out the door at two. Lots of last minute changes and tweaks. Very successful day.

Now, I need to shift gears and get all of the artwork done for Classic Gunfights, Volume III which goes to the printer a week from today. Robert Ray is home working on the layouts for that today, and I'm going to put in a hopefully successful three days in my studio this weekend.

I finally got photos back from my mother's funeral. They were on Deena's camera and she uploaded the images last week on Snapfish. I ordered a batch and they finally arrived, via snail mail, last night. Here's a good illustration of the cultural split in my family. The top photo is of the pall bearers and as you can clearly see, the Kingman cowboys certainly stand out and have their stance down. Ha. Left to right: Charlie Waters, Deena Bell, Billy Weir, Billy Hamilton, Bud Linn and Robert Jerl Stockbridge. The bottom photo is of the service, and Lou Cady, Jr. picked out the casket. That's Radar Hill in the background.

After the ceremony I took Deena and Kathy over to pay a visit to my father's grave. Several years ago, I stopped at a K-Mart and bought a miniature '57 T-Bird and placed it on his grave. It was still there (you can see it in the close-up).

Onion Headline de Jour
Google Announces Plan To Destroy All Information It Can't Index

"We can't do much about the length of our lives, but we can do plenty about its width and depth."
—Evan Esar

Thursday, April 05, 2007

April 5, 2007 Bonus, Bonus, Bonus Blog
Got a call from Buckeye Blake. He got an email from the mayor and "village council" of Fort Sumner requesting a written proposal for his Billy the Kid sculpture. They are going to vote on it Monday night at a council meeting at 6:30. I asked him if he was going to make a call for supporters to show up like Paul Hutton, Drew Gomber or any of the Billy folk over at Lincoln and he said, "Oh God, no!" And he reminded me how much the Sumner crowd hates the Lincoln crowd (and vice versa). I had completely forgotten this aspect of the Kid world (early Alzheimer's?). And he's right. Please don't go to the meeting unless you are "from around those parts." You'll just make it worse.

I fretted all day about the Oklahoma railroad map. Emailed Ed LeRoy of the Old Cowtown Museum, Rod Cook president of the Cadlwell, Kansas Historical Society and Marcus Huff, former OK resident, but didn't hear back from them. Finally got this email from Gus late this afternoon:

“I was able to find info on the RRs in Okla. The one from Hennessey traveled mostly north to Waukomis, then to Pond Creek and enters Kansas at Caldwell. From Caldwell north to Wellington then on up to Wichita. Reference is from the map of Indian and Oklahoma Territory 1894 official records of the General Land Office. Good to go. If i’m wrong i’ll hang up my callipers.”
—Gus “The Mapinator” Walker

Well, that's good enough for me! I'll sleep better tonight knowinig that map is right. Thanks Mr. Mapinator.

Meanwhile, on the Paul Cool "Salt War" front. I painted one of the key buildings wrong (the aerial shape is off) and need to tweak it. No rest for the wicked.

"Never let the urgent crowd out the important."
—Kelly Catlin Walker
April 5, 2007 Bonus Bonus Blog

“Bob, nice picture of the donkey, but who's the strange guy in the big hat leaning against the post?”
—Wolfgang Mountain Man

That would be me, the taller ass.
April 5, 2007 Bonus Blog
Finished Classic Gunfights at about ten. Still hanging out on the railroad tracks. Called Rod Cook in Wellington, Kansas and he said he could find the answer, but it wouldn't be until tonight (his notes are in Caldwell). Still need to tweak To The Point (my editorial) for the June issue. Also starting to work on July and need to finish a Bull Riding Program ad, and a new gunfight for The Cowboy Chronicle by tomorrow. Classic Gunfights, the book is due on April 13 and I need to finish a dozen peices of art for that. I know, it's like running in front of a train.

Regarding my concerns about copyright infringement, here is an interesting take on that:

Copyright Critique
"I'm not sure what all this means, but as someone who tries to be honest, and consistent, I don't like it one bit."

“What it means is copyright in the 21st century is broken. On the one hand, you have Disney expanding copyright every time the Mouse is eligible for the public domain. On the other, you have technology that makes it really easy to share what you like.

“Copyright was originally established to make sure creators got a fair shake, and then their work was supposed to go into the public domain. The original copyright in Britain and the US was based on the Statute of Anne: fourteen years, non-renewable. They've been expanding it ever since. Now we're up to seventy years after the death of the inventor in some countries. That's just insane.

“Well, it's a huge topic. I'm on the side that says if no one profits, filesharing is okay. If someone makes money, I want my piece of the action.

“The evidence seems to suggest that sharing files actually increases sales, because most of the filesharers wouldn't buy anyway, but people who love the file often buy the official version.

“Okay, this is already too long. But don't feel guilty for enjoying the occasional piece of art someone shares with you!”
—Will Shetterly

Buckeye On Billy
“Can't we evolve in art & histoiry or must we forever be saddled by a sameness of one badly doctored image. How can the Pan at rest create such a motion. Should not this bright soul be released from that moronic shell to change the attitude of a nation. He was the boy warrior who bucked the tiger and died in so doing."
—Buckeye Blake

“Politics I supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”
—Ronald Reagan
April 5, 2007
Worked late last night. Got out of the office at about 7:15. Meghan and Abby were still here, trying to wrap up the June issue.

Got in this morning and tweaked errors on the Ed Short vs. Black-faced Charley Bryant Classic Gunfight. I'm concerned about The Mapinator's railroad route from Hennessey to Wichita. Gus is in Alabama and doesn't have access to our map collection and we don't know how to find stuff the way he could when he was here. He ended up wing-dinging the railroad route from Hennessey, Oklahoma to Wichita. This makes me nervous because it would be like someone wing-dinging a railroad from Kingman to Vegas, which would be wrong for the simple reason that there isn't one. You had to go to Needles, California on the Santa Fe and up through California to make that route. I may call Ed LeRoy at Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita. I'll bet he knows.

Billy The Kid's Death Suit
To all of the Fort Sumner residents who are questioning Buckeye Blake's sculpture of Billy's funeral clothes, and why the ensemble wouldn't have included cowboy boots and a gunbelt, here's Paco Anaya's account in his book, "I Buried Billy":

"'OK,' my brother answered, and with out swearing in or anything else, my brother started to name from those that were there; and he named Antonio Saverda, Jose Silva, Sabal Gutierrez, Lorenzo Jaramillo, but he (Negro) did not want to serve. He said he did not know anything about that. Then Don Alejandro said to my brother, 'You, too, can serve.' And so it was done.

"Then Pat [Garrett] gave Don Alejandro a paper. This paper had the verdict already written by Pat Gartett, which we all signed. My brother signed as president, and then the rest. I took the paper, it was a paper of five inches wide, and about 10 inches long.

"When we were through, Pat said to Don Pedro Maxwell, 'Pete, take this $25 so you can put good clothes on Billy.'

"Don Pedro took the $25 and he and Don Manuel Abreu went to the latter's store and bought a beige suit, a shirt, and undershirt, shorts, and a pair of stockings. I, the writer, and my brother, Higinio Garcia, and several others of those that were there, dressed Billy with those clothes than we laid him on a high bed, one of those narrow ones, and we took him to the saloon where they held dances. There we watched, and on the next day we buried him."

Onion Headline de Jour
Office Manager Forced To Resort To Unfriendly Reminders

"Dilligence is the mother of opportunity."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

April 4, 2007 Bonus Dylan Track
"Listening to or possessing a pirated Bob Dylan CD is not a crime. Paying for his stuff is."
April 4, 2007 Bonus Cheat Sheet Blog
Went home for lunch to finish the Ed Short vs. Black-faced Charley Bryant gunfight. I looked through my reference file for something that would illustrate the situation just prior to the fight. Something to create tension and drama. Which brings us to the subject of:

Short Cheating
Most artists are loathe to show off their "reference" materials because a.) it diminishes the artist's perceived talent ("Oh, you just copied that photograph?!"), and, b.) it usually borders on stealing, which is on the outskirts of Lawsuit City.

Here is the painting of Ed Short walking dangerous fugative Charley Bryant across the train platform at Hennessey, Oklahoma on August 23, 1891. Notice that Charley has his hands manacled behind him. Deputy Ed Short makes one mistake on this prisoner transfer and it's a fatal one.

In my reference file at my home studio is a photo I tore out of an old Arizona Republic about the Grand Canyon Railway and tourism there. I liked the steam coming from behind the main character, John Moore, director of outlaw performers, and knew that reference would come in handy at a later date. Of course, the train is too modern but I knew I could fix that.

As you can see, the design and the main figure are pretty close to the photograph (or more accurately, closer than I'd like to admit in court). As far as that goes I have always labored under the "legal construct" that if you change something 20% it's okay, it's legal and you will not get sued. I can't remember where I heard this, but I think about it a lot. Perhaps that is artist folly (or Kingman stupidity) I don't know. The photographer of the above photo is Mark Henle of The Arizona Republic and he might disagree on the 20% (Hey great photo Mark!), as might the floor of lawyers retained by The Arizona Republic. Just to play devil's advocate—in this sue happy country—there might be as many as four litigants: Mark Henle, The Arizona Republic, John Moore and The Grand Canyon Railroad. Oh, and just to make it a lottery lock: let's throw in the municipality of Williams, Arizona.

Which brings us to a bigger problem:

Pirating Artist's Copyright
As someone who lives by and off of copyright, it is amazing to me how dishonest much of our culture has become.

On Monday, one of my good friends at work stuck his head in the door and wanted to know if I'd like to check out a pirated version of the film The Last King of Scotland. I was taken aback. Why, that's stealing!—I told him with some indignation. I do not appreciate ripping off of artists, like me—I think I also told him.

Fifteen minutes later, he stuck his head in my door and said, "You didn't seem to mind the pirated version of Bob Dylan's Modern Times which I gave you last month.

Ouch! My Christian friend is right. I did take the pirated (STOLEN!) version of Bobby Zimmerman's excellent CD and I have listened to it a hundred times (BMI will probably have a good charge for me on that admission). Why did I think one was okay and the other a capital crime?! Both involve artist's creations. Weird.

If someone stuck their head in my door and said, "Hey, I just stole a Cessna, want to take it for a ride?" I would report them to Corrine "Coe" Mitchell of the DPS (Department of Public Safety). I'm not sure what all this means, but as someone who tries to be honest, and consistent, I don't like it one bit.

Onion Headline de Jour
Dead iPod Remembered As Expensive

"Venture not to defend what your judgment doubts."
—Old Vaquero Saying
April 4, 2007 Bonus Blog
Here's the finished Charley Bryant mug shot:

April 4, 2007
Working hard to finish the Ed Short vs. Black-faced Charley Bryant shootout. Worked on a mug shot of Bryant this morning. Trying hard not to glamorize him. A weapon discharged or exploded in his face and gave him the moniker. I'm imagining this would leave small black and blue dots on his face, rather than black tones. I'll publish the results later today.

We've got a new poll up: How many rodeos do you attend each year?

Onion Headline de Jour
Congress Awards Itself Congressional Medal Of Honor

"All growth is a leap in the dark—a spontaneous, unpremeditated act without benefit of experience."
—Henry Miller

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

April 3, 2007 Bonus Blog
More Billy the Kid problems: just found out I forgot to include the big Billy the Kid painting (cover of Arizona Highways) for the Hutton show in Albuquerque. I had 28 paintings set aside for the shippers and forgot about the big boy, which is hanging in Sylvia's office here at True West. Needs to go out ASAP.

Whatever Happened to Marcus Huff?
" We finally grew tired of Phoenix, sold the house and threw every dime into moving into a 102-year old building with enough room for all four kids, three dogs and my book collection. The cost of living here still affords some in the bank, besides what we spent on winter clothing. It got to-45 this winter. Old Westy it is....the building is on the National Register, and frequently originally supplied Butch, Sundance, Calamity, Canton...the usual bunch of Wyoming characters. Pretty nice place to go to sleep at night."
—Marcus Huff, Ten Sleep, Wyoming

Speaking of selling everything and running away somewhere, when we were on the Copper Canyon train trip last December I really fell in love with Cerocuahi, high in the Sierra Madres. It was a little village tucked into a little valley. And as the trip has receded in my memory, this one place has grown fonder and sweeter in my memory. Here are two photos, both taken by Deena, that capture the mood of the place. Horses walked up and down the main street, and a donkey, packed for the mountains, was parked outside the general store. I plan on going back there and exploring those mountains, perhaps on that very donkey.

Well, a guy can dream can't he?

Appointment With Irony
"On March 6, 1836, that fateful day, Davy Crockett woke up and walked from his bunk on the floor of the Alamo up to the observation post on the west wall. William B. Travis and Jim Bowie were up there already. The three gazed at the hordes of Mexicans moving steadily towards them. Davy turned to Bowie with a puzzled look on his face and said, 'Jim are we
pouring concrete today?'"
—Thom Ross
April 3, 2007
On Sunday, Kathy and I drove into the Beast and picked up Mike and Phyllis Hawkins to go see "Curves of Steel: Streamlined Automobile Design" at the Phoenix Art Museum. Great cars, mostly from the late 1930s. Very artistic and stylish. More so than one might expect and it really illustrates how WWII derailed auto design for decades.

Afterwards we drove over to Taco Villa for lunch. I had the barbacoa special and two Modelo Especials, as did Mike who tried Pepe's Especial and Phyllis had the huevos rancheros and Kath had a bean burro enchilada style. We bought ($60 cash, includes tip).

Poor Buckey Blake. He wanted to do a cool Billy the Kid sculpture that everyone who loves Billy would dig and he had the permission from the mayor of Fort Sumner to put up his art piece on the anniversary of the Kid's death and then. . .

Well, Fort Sumner has a new mayor, and now Buckeye needs to get permission from him and the town council. And, here's the key part, the project deals with Billy the Kid. So? So you are going to draw the weirdest-weirdness you can even fathom, no matter what you do. And, it's Fort Sumner, where everyone has a "unique" concept of what and where Billy actually resides in death, and put the two together and you get comments like this:

"I can't take my kids to the cemetery and see a dead man like that. It's too creepy."

"Why's he wearing a suit? Billy wouldn't be wearing a suit. He'd have on his guns and be wearing cowboy boots."

"This is not something we need in our town. it's disrespectful. Maybe if it was a statue of Billy with a rifle."

I called the new mayor, Juan Chavez, this morning and had a nice talk with him. He's a decent guy, but anytime you've got the Kid, you got problems. The town council is going to vote next Monday on Buckeye's piece being allowed to be installed at all. And resistance is being voiced all over town (see quotes above). I told the mayor that we were excited about the project and were intending to send a film crew to cover it. Cactus Productions out of Cody, Wyoming has already signed on for the shoot. So hopefully, we can carry the day over there. I may even have to call in the big guns, my aunt Jean Linn and her husband Bud who own several farms in the area.

Meanwhile, On The Jesse James Front
Today is the 125th anniversary of the assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford...the event, not the movie (which only seems that old...). Here's a link to an interview Allen Barra conducted with Ted Yeatman and TJ Stiles.
—Mark Boardman

Onion Headline de Jour
Report: One In Five Women Training To Be Yoga Instructors

"If you do not make yourself happy, no one else can."
—Alan Cohen

Monday, April 02, 2007

April 2, 2007
I got Tomas Bell on an April Fool's joke. I had Kathy leave a phone message saying Lute Olson has been fired as Arizona Wildcat basketball coach. He lives in Philly so I knew that even if it was big news around the nation he would never hear it because those eastcoast Bastards never cover anything from out here. Plus, it has been a rumor ever since the Wildcats lost to Purdue in the first round of NCAA tournament. He told his mother, "Dad totally got me."

So I've got that going for me.

Now about that photo of those laughing women in my office. It looks quite perverse, no? Like I called them in and let a mouse loose on the floor, perhaps? Actually, I asked them to come in and look on my computer screen at Dan Harshberger's proposed cover design for the June issue. And as Meghan, Sam, Trish, Carole and Sue gathered around the far end of my desk, I stepped out, grabbed my camera and took the below shot. I think they're laughing at me taking the photo, but whatever the reason it's uplifting to see so many staffers being so happy, and in one place, at the same time! Ha.

Carole needed a house warming gift and asked me to bring in some of my small painting studies. She ended up buying two, and here they are:

The dry lake one you've seen before, but the next one I just did last week and was inspired by a photograph taken by Gil Gustavsen of the Cave Creek Complex Fire. I really liked the dramatic, sparkling ridgeline fire effects and tried to capture the feel of it. Carole is so thrilled with them she asked me to bring in another batch tomorrow.

Onion Headline de Jour
Frances Bean Cobain Enters Prehab

"I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you're going to work here you will be sodomized."
—Jon Steweart, on The Daily Show
April 2, 2007 Bonus Blog
The women below are in my office. They are all laughing. The why and the who, later.

April 2, 2007
Worked most of the day finishing the San Elizario overview map. I wanted it to have the look of an old, battered map, found in a chicken coop after 127 years.

April 1, 2007
“Bozer sounds like a great name for a new sky piece. Bet they would sell well
on you online store. Is there anywhere I can call up a detailed pic?”

“I tried not to do this but I could not resist. My sincerest apologies
for the following suggestions

• El Buddy Boze

• El T Double U

• El Hatkiller

• El Maniac

• El Chicken Rancher

• El "Grand" O Bucks

“The May issue is excellent, as always. I enjoyed the articles on Billy
and I appreciate you having some space devoted to John Wayne.”
—Hugh Howard

“Why not call the hat crease The Boze? Simple, memorable, and loaded with
—Emma Bull

“You are keeping me up at night with this. the Boze sounds good. The Boze B
is also another option, as well as the B Boze B. Could be a good brand. I like
the B Boze B brand.”
—S. Grant Sergot