Thursday, April 12, 2007

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

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