Wednesday, November 04, 2009

November 4, 2009
Met Kathy for lunch and then came home to work up sketches for a friend of mine who wants an illustration of the Medicine Lodge lynching where they hanged three guys with two ropes. This is the infamous bank robbery attempt by ex-Billy the Kid gang member Henry Brown (we think, some don't agree). He and his lanky deputy Ben Wheeler, along with two Texas cowboys, attempted to rob the Medicine Valley Bank on a rainy day in April of 1884. They ended up killing the bank president (who wasn't supposed to come in this day and that's why they picked the day) and a teller.

After a short chase, one of the outlaw's horses went lame and they tried to stand off a posse in a gully, during a rainstorm. After giving themselves up on the condition they not be mobbed, they were taken back to town and mobbed at about 9 p.m. When the vigilantes stormed into the makeshift jail, Henry Brown hid behind the door, punched the first guy, then ran for it and was shot almost in half by a farmer wielding a scatter gun. The deputy Wheeler was shot at close range and his vest was set on fire and he lost two fingers from close range shooting. Incredibly he was still alive, so the mob dragged him and the two cowboys down to the creek bottom. Incredibly they had only two ropes so they chose the two cowboys to stretch hemp from the same rope. Wheeler's bleating could be heard for several blocks as they twisted slowly in the wet, night air:

I wanted to illustrate them swinging (after all, the slang is "he swung for it") from side to side. Most photographs show the deceased after cessation of the wiggling which creates the swinging motion.

Worked up this color study at lunch today:

Although this has a nice mood, I think it's more dynamic to have them at an angle to show the deadly motion of the affair.

Meanwhile, got this today:

"I think you mentioned back when your art exhibit opened that you were going to post a photo or two of the evening... something like that... but I don't remember seeing them. Did I overlook them?"
—Sharon Tally

Here you go, this was the Saturday opening when all five artists who had art hanging at the time were present:

Left to right: Joseph LaRusso, Gary Ernest Smith, Martin Grelle (Cowboy Artist), Ed Mell and BBB.

"If you're an author, you're more interested in the story you're telling than in your handwriting. If you're an artist, and you tell a great story, the technique will follow. A great mistake can be made if you concentrate more on technique than the story."
—Old Vaquero Saying

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