Thursday, July 16, 2009

July 16, 2009
Drove into the Beast at 11 this morning to pick up my Big Billy oil, but it was too hot to transport via my pickup. Ed Mell and I went to the Heard Museum for lunch again. I needed to check out their gallery for an art issue we're doing this fall. Found a couple pieces I liked and drove back out to Cave Creek.

Decided to back up on the Naco gunfight and get some good types for the Naco policia who shot it out with Arizona Ranger Jeff Kidder in 1908.

I have great reference of Mexican Revolution soldiers and I started my search there. Always a bit dicey because the revolution is at least ten years later and any style you put on them may be a later fashion, sort of like putting a Nehru jacket on General Eisenhour, instead of a vaquero inspired short jacket which he actually wore.

But I digress. Here's my first five sketches, or audition, for my Naco Policia fighters:

An educated guess is that the police in Naco were not wearing uniforms but I could be wrong. The two guys who answered Chia's call were working the night shift, although in a border town that could be prime time. I really want to give one of them a big sugarloaf sombrero and for that inspiration I have some historic reference: the feared Rurales, who roamed Sonora and ruled with an iron fist, all wore sugarloafs, so, like modern day police in border towns who emulate SWAT team uniforms (black T-shirts with the word POLICIA on the back) I kind of think one of them would be wearing one:

The other consideration is, they may not have been the bad guys. There is some evidence that Kidder was drunk and may have pulled his gun. The New York Times reported as much in the next day's edition (April 5, 1908) so I don't want to necessarily portray them as nefarious, mordida type lawmen. I have a hunch they were typical local guys doing a distasteful job in a whore house infested town. Anyway, that's my speculation. I'd love to hear what others here have to say.

"A well-composed book is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world that we cannot enter in any other way."
—Caroline Gordon

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