Monday, January 21, 2008

January 21, 2008
Chilly out this morning. Frost on the truck windshield when I came out for the bike ride. You could see the Peach's and Buddy's breath as they loped up Old Stage looking for trouble. Made it up and back, without incident.

Kathy rented The Namesake from Blockbuster and we watched it last night. it's about an East Indian couple who come to the United States in the 1970s and raise a family, cutting back and forth between Calcutta and New York. Really enjoyed it (9). In fact, I watched the making of Special Features and watched part of the film again with the commentary track by the director, Mira Nair (she did Monsoon Wedding and Vanity Fair). I think between Robert Osborn on Turner Classic Movies and these DVD commentary tracks, this has become my favorite pastime. I keep learning so much, it's like going to film school.

Speaking of movies, ordered The Charge of The Light Brigade from Netflix to poach images of Errol Flynn. Believe it or not, he looks like a dandyfied version of Frederic Remington, and so I took snapshots of a couple dozen still frames from the film, on my computer and then drew sketches extrapolating between the two. Here are a few of those efforts:

Worked on Spanish Daggers over the weekend, trying to capture the fan effect as best I can. Couldn't get the oil paints to cooperate for the points, so unlimbered my gouache pallette and did a couple studies:

And here's another angle of a tall quasi-Joshua Tree Spanish Dagger I photographed near Mount Graham in about 1994:

On Friday, Robert Ray and I worked on Mickey Free layouts, experimenting with scratchboard images over a sepia background. Got some intriguing contrasts, but not sure if it's working yet.

Watching those commentary tracks reminds me that the reader (in my case) really needs to know what is going on in a simple, direct way. I don't want to get too fancy, because a guy I met at the SASS convention in Vegas really reminded me of the basic appeal of my Old West books:

"Your books are easy to follow for someone who's easily lost."
—Rick Anderson, SASS member who bought Classic Gunfights, Volume III in Vegas

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