Saturday, September 13, 2008

September 13, 2008
Really buckled down this morning and attacked my priority art list for The Top Secret Project. With approximately two weeks to go, one of my main goals is to salvage art that wasn't up to snuff the first time around.

Case in point: if you visited you saw a pretty lame attempt at simulating a Harper's Weekly cover in Remington's style, circa 1888. It sucks so bad, I can't stand it. Done before my heart attack, I have no excuses, but I haven't had the time or the energy to re-attack the sucker.

Until this morning.

I knew what I wanted. Frederic Remington is visiting the troops in Arizona during the Apache Wars. He is with Captain Pearce, Lt. Powhattan Clark, Al Sieber and the Apache Kid, and they are all in the crumbling, adobe headquarters at San Carlos, when Mickey Free strides in and plops two severed heads on the table.

Remington is so struck by the event that he asks the captain if he can leave the heads out for a moment so he can sketch them.

Later, in New York, while Freddy is visiting his editor at Harper's and showing him his latest sketches, the editor lands on the severed heads sketch. Although Remington is not pleased (he wanted his Powhattan sketches to be published), he wants the cover and so, he capitulates.

In the final edition, the editors decide to delete the female head (for taste reasons!) and run the cover. They know it will sell issues and they know it will be controversial, and, yes, of course, when it hits the streets, everything hits the fan.

Heads Will Roll

Now this is more like it. I tried to simulate that old-time etching look utilizing my Esdee scratchboard and the excellent art reference I have. That's Powhattan Clark on the left, poached from an actual painting by Remington called "The Arrival of A Courier" (1890). Jim Hatzell actually posed volunteer models for the rest of the scene at his annual Artist's Ride (I sent him sketches), so I have to give a big shout out to Jim. Please give my thanks to all the models. I couldn't have achieved this overall effect without your valuable contributions.

Now it's on to a dozen other scenes I want to do.

"Middle age is the point in life when you realize patience is a weapon."
—Chris Erskine

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