Wednesday, May 13, 2009

May 13, 2009
Went home for lunch and whipped out a nice little San Carlos study:

The peaks at right are prominent just north of the old agency where Mickey Free, Al Sieber, The Apache Kid, Geronimo, Tom Horn and even John Clum (especially John Clum) spent some quality time.

The area has a distinct striping along the ridges where the rock layers turn almost white. Trying to capture that.

The surface area is a burnt sierra green, with the creosote bushes choking out the underbrush turning it to a dull gray. Very beautiful to my mind, although, when I took him there, the Top Secret Writer proclaimed it "squalid," which is funny, because you could say the same thing about Albuquerque (his hometown and which he thinks is so breathtaking). Actually, they both have a harsh beauty I adore.

On our Capturing Billy the Kid Country road trip last month, I was driving from Hatch, New Mexico to Hillsboro and I kept seeing fascinating geography and I would ask Ed Mell if he wanted me to stop. Most of the time he said no, and maybe twice he shot a quick photo right out the window. By the time we got to Lake Valley ghost town, I had given up trying to predict what he wanted and so, I just shut up and drove. About five miles shy of Hillsboro, both Ed and Gary Ernest Smith came to attention and said in unison, "Pull over." They both must have shot a hundred images of this small, dirt canyon running northwest into the Black Range. Here's my take on it (from a photo):

I'm anxious to learn from them and see their take on it. Both painters work in the rarified air of "The Big Boys." One of Ed's landscapes recently resold at auction for $96,000 and Gary is currently doing a $60,000 commission. Obviously they have good instincts. Ha.

Here's a quick study I did before returning to work at two:

And a second version whipped out in about five minutes:

I think this last one has the best color sense for creosote on the desert.

Sibling Rivalry
The other night I caught Blood Red with Eric Roberts, Dennis Hopper and Michael Madsen (1989) on the Westerns Channel. It is styled as a Western, but actually was about the wine biz in northern California (Zorro meets Sideways?). The funniest thing about it is that Eric's little sister, Julia, has a tiny role and probably got the part because of her movie star brother. It's more than a little ironic that a mere ten years later, Julia Roberts was pulling down $20 million a picture and Eric was all but out of the business.

"Take everything you like seriously, except yourselves."
—Rudyard Kipling

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