Friday, October 29, 2010

Toulouse Lautrec Goes West

October 29, 2011
Meghan Saar and I attended the Arizona Tourism Conference at the Orange Tree Resort on Camelback Road yesterday. Collected a couple big bags of goodies from all the resorts and had a very nice lunch talking to Meghan about editorial for 2011. Very excited about several new features we are working on.

Been noodling some sketches of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec:

Wondering what he would have painted if he had come West with Oscar Wilde in 1882. I have some ideas on paintings he might have done. Hmmmmmm.

It's not hard to imagine him doing portraits of Doc Holliday and Bat Masternon. Check out this painting by Henri—Dude, that could be Tombstone, no?

Meanwhile, my neighbors, the N's (they're very private) brought me back a sketch by Toulouse-Lautrec several years ago and I have it in my studio:

They told me that Henri had a theory about drawing: if your pen stops moving, the drawing dies. The horse is all wrong, the harness seems incorrect, and although it is very fluid and loosey goosey, it is alive.

"Make no little plans. they have no magic to stir men's blood. Make big plans: aim high in hope and work."
—Daniel Hudson Burnham

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stoned Policeman

October 28, 2010
Sometimes you have cleanse your palette, Been drawing a ton of Old West characters and, of course French subjects, so, this morning, I thought I'd whip out a Stoned Policeman.

Just got a call from my step-father, Lou Cady, Jr. who lives in Cibolo, Texas. According to Lou Cibolo means buffalo in Spanish. He moved there to be with family after my mother passed in 2007 (they last lived in Cody, Wyoming). He's 89 and still shoots archery. He told me he takes the True Wests I send him down to a home where everybody watches the Westerns Channel. He told me they love the magazine and when I asked him if he wanted me to send them a complimentary subscription, he said, "No, I'll make sure it circulates." Ha.

"You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water."
—Rabindranath Tagore

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Show Low Final

October 27, 2010
Went home for lunch and knocked out the final for this Sunday's True West Moment in the Arizona Republic:

This illustrates the moment on July 4, 1876 when Marion Clark, seated, asked Corydon Cooley to show low, and Mr. Cooley drew the deuce of clubs, winning the land that became Show Low.

Working on nine others. Got kind of behind going to France and need to prance out ahead, as my son, Thomas, would say.

"Bedtime stories for children who drink."
—David Sedaris, describing his new book Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk

Show Low vs A Straight Flush

October 27, 2010
Working this morning on another True West Moment about how Show Low, Arizona got its name.

Two cowboys played a game of Seven-up to determine who got the land that later became the town. One of them "showed low" with a deuce of clubs and that's how the town got the name Show Low. Some of us have wished that the card game would have resulted in a straight flush.

That would be me, and six of my juvenile friends.

Bob McCubbin and Richard Ignarski came by today on their way to Tombstone for the annual get together down there. This year they're going out to Drew's Station and Galeyville. Been to both, not much at either.

"There are two things that are more difficult than making an after-dinner speech: climbing a wall which is leaning toward you and kissing a girl who is leaning away from you."
—Sir Winston Churchill

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oil Spill On Ol' Pinetop

October 26, 2010
Created a new True West Moment today featuring Walt Rigney who ran a saloon up on the Mogollon Rim in 1890. The soldiers called him "Ol' Pinetop" because his hair stuck out like a pine bough. Had a pretty good ink drawing going at lunch, but grabbed a jar of ink and shook it, but the lid was not on tight and it sprayed two books, my clothes and, alas, the drawing:

After I spent a half hour cleaning up everything and burning my clothes, I decided to see if I could save it with my scratchboard tools:

Not too shabby. Lots of happy accidents here. The ink blots at the top appear to be atmospheric background. Kind of cool. I also added a bit more spike to Rigney's hair. Most people don't know it but the town of Pinetop is named for Walt, because of his hair. Too funny. What a state, eh?

"Image is like a long shadow. Even when the sun goes down, you can see it."
—Keith Richards, in his new book, Life

Hatfight at the Frenchman Corral

October 26, 2010
Back from France just in time to celebrate the fight that launched ten thousand drawings: The Gunfight Behind The OK Corral.

If you saw the photo of me in Martmontre, gazing over my left shoulder, this is one of the Toulouse-Lautrec posters I was mimicking.

Henri did a couple versions of Aristide Bruant, the actual one I'm mimicking is over my shoulder on the Museum sign:

Slightly different angle, but the same deal. My French publisher commented on the above photo, saying I looked exactly like the Lautrec poster, except "he has a bigger hat." This really offended me. No way! Out hatted by a Frenchman? Pa-leeze.

Okay, I know I'm being hat sensitive. Ha.

"If everyone is wearing a big hat, ain't nobody wearing a big hat."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Insane On The Seine

October 25, 2010
One of the zany things Charlie Waters and I did while we were in Paris is make good on a gag that goes all the way back to 1964 when Steve Burford joined the Exits.

We needed a bass player and Steve played guitar and dabbled in Kingston Trio type folk songs, so we recruited him to join Kingman's best dressed rock band (we wore matching jackets with a big Old English E over the left breast, letterman-sweater-style). Steve learned our ten songs and then proposed we add "The Seine" by the Kingston Trio.

Well, we were a rock band and this was a tad corny for the drummer (that would be me). Fast forward to the Girl's Gym and our fist gig with Steve on bass. When it came time to premiere the song, I left the stage in protest and Charlie and Steve played the music while Steve belted out the following lyrics:

One night along the river, at St. Germain de Pre,
I first met my beloved at a small sidewalk café.
We walked along the river, the shadows passing by,
But we only saw each other, the shining water and the sky.

The Seine, the Seine, when will I again,
Meet her there, greet her there,
On the moonlit banks of the Seine?

Standing there across the river, mid sound of horn and tram,
In all her quiet beauty, the cathedral Notre Dame.
And as we passed beside her, I said a little prayer,
That when this dream was over, I'd awake and find you there.


We walked along the river, 'till dawn was coming nigh.
Beneath the Eiffel Tower, we said our last good-bye.
There on that splendid morning, I saw you all in tears.
And the beauty of that hour will shine in me through the years.


The Seine, the Seine, when will I again . . .
Meet her there on the Seine?

The song more or less went over like a lead balloon because the Kingman crowd was there to rock out, but leave it to Charlie to bring the lyrics to Paris last week and we stood on the banks of the Seine at Saint Germain de Pre and belted out the tune for all of Paris and dear old Stephen Craig Burford:

Yes, Charlie is wearing a French beret and holding a cigarette like a Frenchman. Other than that we did it straight.

"A fisherman can spot another fisherman from far away."
—Old Russian proverb

The Yee-Ha Tour, Part II

October 25, 2010
Didn't do as much sketching in Paris as I would have liked, but I certainly did a ton of gaping. Ha. It's true, you can read all you want about the Louvre and the Orsay, but until you stand there in those huge rooms looking at the huge paintings that fill them, well, it's nothing short of stunning.

Amazon scale paintings stacked to the ceiling, and the ceilings are quite high:

By contrast, the biggest disappointment to me was the Mona Lisa, arguably the most famous painting on the planet. For one thing it is off limits for security reasons so everyone is held back about 15 or 20 feet by a rope, it's not that large and, at that distance, you might as well be looking at a print. Here's a photo of the mob flaunting the no-photos rule:

Yes, that's Kingman boy Charlie Waters at left.

"It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable."


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Toulouse Latrec And Vincent Van Gogh Territory

October 24, 2010
Our trip to France was predicated on an inquiry from a French publisher to translate my Wyatt Earp book into French. Last Tuesday we took the bus from San Michel up the hill to Montmartre, getting off at Blanche, about a half block from the notorious Moulin Rouge, probably one of the most famous bars in the world. According to my host Gerard, they go through 800 bottles of champagne a night. It costs $150 euros each (about $175) to see the first show. Didn't make it to a show, but I was entertained by a behind the scenes tour of the notorious artist mecca.

After a wonderful lunch, the publisher Gerard, took Kathy and I on a walking tour of the high hills of Montmartre and we saw the house that Theo Van Gogh lived in, and for a short time, Theo's brother Vincent, lived there. Not far away we stopped and Gerard pointed across the street to a high glassed apartment and informed me that this is where Toulouse-Lautrec had his studio. It rained on and off all afternoon, so here we are with Paris parasols:

The French prostitutes called Lautrec Tripod because of his short stature and ample endowment. He may have been short, but he painted big. And, his work surges with enthusiasm, which covers most bets. Right Waldo?

"Enthusiasm is the leaping lightning, not to be measured by the horse-power of the understanding."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Yee Haw France!

October 23, 2010
Got home last night at five after flying for 12 hours. T. Charles picked us up at Sky Harbor and took us to a new Mexican food restaurant he found on 16th Street below Van Buren, great carne asada platters. Pattarapan joined us. I loved the food in Paris, but Man, oh Man, I love our Mexican food.

As mentioned, I decided to wear my cowboy hat on my trip to France and I also brought along my Frontier Clothing custom frock coat. Here I am in Martmontre, high on the hill overlooking Paris.

Note the dude in the Museum sign behind me in the similar scarf and pose (it's a famous French poster). Also note the date on the photo is off by three years. Ha.

The number one comment I got while traversing the City of Lights was, "Yee Haw!" Got it almost constantly, and one time from an entire group of school kids. The way they say it, you can tell they are proud to know the term in English and I never felt it was in a mocking way, they simply wanted to engage this exotic foreigner. Or, at least that's how I took it. Ha.

"To understand all is to forgive all."
—Old French Saying

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pontificating Inside The Pomidou

October 20, 2010
Started out our day at the Pompidou, which is France's idea of extending the French legacy for art up to, and including, so-called Modern Art. The building, quite pompous in the extreme, with all of the exterior exuding heating ducts and exaggerated blow horns coming out of the sides and the ground. it is so over the top that you have to smile and say, "Only the French would do this."

And there-in is a riddle: Do the French dominate art because of their ridiculous commitment to the glorification of art by building a monstrosity like this, or do they dominate it because they are simply French? I don't know the answer to this but I have a sneaky suspicion that this riddle will not be solved by anyone from Kingman.

Just a wild guess but a man has to know his limitations.

Inside it's a mixed bag of pretentious crap and semi-pretentious worthy crap (a precious few artists actually betray a talent for drawing).

Which is not to say I hated the experience. I intend to go home and create a wll like Andre Breton's wall which is duplicated on a wall in the Pompidou. The bigger question has always been, what exactly in all of this high concept effort will be remembered 200 years from now? Or even 200 days from now? Not sure, but I think it's safe to say, many small-minded people said the same thing about the Impressionists and that makes us all pause.

After a Thai food lunch, saw a ton of art at the Carnavalet Museum, but that is another story.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Last Tango And Cash In Paris

October 17, 2010
Kathy and I have been in Paris a week now. Four days to go. It really is Disneyland for adults who like art, history and good food. Still, I miss the desert. Ain't that sick?

Yesterday we took the Botabus (boat bus) to the Eiffel Tower, then walked to the Monhattan Museum to see a slew of Monet paintings showcased in the former home of a tycoon who collected Monet's. The most inspiring thing to me is they posted the sketches for some of his big paintings next to the framed canvases and they were so simple, and actually resembled the sketches in my sketchbooks. I know this is presumptuous but it's comforting to realize that even the giants put their pants on one pantaloon at a time.

Walked back to the Eiffel Tower, a different way, up a gaggle of different streets, sort of trying to get lost, but as Kathy, Charlie and Linda have nicknamed me, The Nose, I have a pretty good Norsky compass lodged up in there and we saw some pretty neighborhoods and came back to where we started. The only problem I have is with their street names, which are quite exotic, like Rue de Ben Franklin (an actual street), but then half a block later it turns into Quei Le Pussy (not an actual street, that I know of), then into something else with no street sign to tell you of the change (they tend to put the street names on the side of a building, but not always). Maddening, but no doubt as we like to say in the middle of our Phoenix summers, "It keeps the riff raff out."

Lots of art (both mine and theirs) to show when I get home.

"Draw what you see, not what you think you see."
—Old Masters Saying

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Wild Wild Paree

October 16, 2010
Back from a wild trip to Reims yesterday (the Germans surrendered here in WWII) where we learned about champagne making, drank some, rode the 100 mph train back to Paris. On the way there, the train was stopped and a French SWAT team ran into the area. Very high security, although everyone seems quite casual about everything. The problem is that on the trains, unlike the airlines, there is no security to get in and everyone is carrying a backpack. And, about a third of the people fit the stereotype. Ha.

Charlie and Linda Waters' last day in Paris today. We walked to the Royal Palace, across from the Louvre, had lunch at a place, e /Restaurant du Paliasi Royal, where Napoleon supposedly had lunch 200 years ago. Charlie bought (260 euros), excellent wine and food. Then walked to Evangelina's, the best chocolate in Paris. Looking out over the Seine River as I write this.

Meeting with a publisher this coming week.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Two Kingman Eighth Graders Finally Learn World History

October 13, 2010
Childhood friend and Kingman comrade, Charlie Waters and his wife Linda joined us in Versailles today to take in the apex of French decadence. We paid for a private tour of Marie Antoinette's private quarters and in the process of traipsing through the narrow stairwells ("Marie ran through this corridor when the peasants broke in the palace.") we got an earful.

With my Kingman education, I never knew that the French have had five different goes at being a Republic. I am going to mangle this pretty good, but here's what I learned today: after we had our go with the British and won (thanks to massive French help), the French jumped on the freedom bandwagon and chopped off all those nobles' heads with the newest "humane" invention, the guillotine. Marie A. was among them (and her famous quote, "Let them eat cake," is apocryphal according to our tour guide, although another source claims "cake" was the burnt crusts from the oven normally fed to cattle). The powerful elites who didn't lose their heads, and there were plenty, fled to other European countries where they encouraged and financed other monarchies to put this uprising out of business.

Which the rich bastards basically did and then there was a power vacuum so they went back to a monarchy (also England didn't cotton to the idea of a Republic in Europe, especially after the U.S. had just fought and won independence). Then comes Napoleon and his crazy B.S. and a couple more Napoleons (never have quite got that part straight) then they try the Republic thing again, then you get the Nazis for four years until you arrive at the ideal form of government where you go with a hipster leader who is married to a former porn star. It's a dizzying process which the two-Kingman-eighth-grade-boys admitted they knew nothing about. Very humbling but kind of sexy in a French O.K. Corral kind of way.

Somehow, all these twists and turns lead to great bread.

"Throughout history, democracy has been a bonzai tree in the house of the powerful—it looks nice, and when it grows too big you simply cut it back."

—Rick Steves, Rick Steve's Europe 101

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Kingman Cowboy In Gay Paris

October 11, 2010
Second day in Paris. Went to the Louvre today and the Effel Tower. You have to give credit to a town that draws millions of visitors every year to look at purloined art, liberated from rich bastards, who lost their heads in the process so that everyday schmucks like me can view the damn, fine stuff. Really inspiring. My faves, so far (going back tomorrow): the huge canvases of the early French masters, big, big and huge. Had no idea they worked that large.

No Way Charlie is here, which totally overturns 45 years of obstinate behavior.

Went up in the Effel Towner about three hours ago. Armed guards at the bottom. Comforting to know my 20X Beaver Brand hat was looking good on the ascent and the descent. French babe said to me, "Hello Ka-Boy." Life is good.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Narrative Imperative War Room

October 8, 2010
Every morning I spend 15 minutes at my art desk in my Narrative Imperative War Room noodling random images and ideas. Sometimes it leads
to a good idea, sometimes it does not.

And here's a sketch I did for the Ike Clanton comment made in Kelly's Wine House on October 25, 1881 after sampling a nice merlot:

I was inspired to make this goal of 15 minutes every day by a class on Attention Deficit Disorder which my therapist wife made me go to. Gee I wonder what ol' Scott Reed has to say about this?

"Choosing a goal and sticking to it changes everything."
—Scott Reed

Thursday, October 07, 2010

A Fine Wine at The O.K. Corral?

October 7, 2010
It's October, do you know where your Tombtone stash (rash) is? Speaking of one of my fave towns, I finally got around to doing a True West Moment on one of my favorite tidbits about the O.K. Corral fight. The night before the fight Ike Clanton spent two hours in Kelly's Wine House on Allen Stret, no doubt sampling one or more of their 26 wines imported from Europe. Quite a high toned place and, unlike the movies, where everyone is drinking rotgut, I can just imagine Ike remarking:

Last night I also finished an illustration on Victorian tennis players at Fort Apache in 1874:

It's called "Thirty-Love-at-Fort Apache."

"Pioneers get the arrows, settlers get the land."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Mickey Free Is A Ballet Star

October 5, 2010
Very overcast this morning. Went home for lunch and as I turned on Old Stage Road a freak hail storm hit. Sounded like baseball bats hitting the roof. Parked in driveway and watched two-foot-high explosions ripping across the pool. It got worse. Ground completely covered in a snowscape white. Peaches freaked out and went to my neighbors house. Went over and got her. She had chocolate milk stains on her upper lip, the little bitch.

Last Friday, another independent bookstore went out of business at Stagecoach Village. Went up to Pages for the wake and bought a bag full of books. One of them was a picture book of that Russian ballet guy (Nureyev?) and I was struck at how he could be a model for Mickey Free. This was inspired by the cover shot:

Nice effects, more to come.

"Man's rise or fall, success or failure, happiness or unhappiness depends on his attitude. A man's attitude will create the situation he imagines."
—James Lane Allen

Monday, October 04, 2010

What Magazine Do Tombstone Stage Drivers Read?

October 4, 2010
Steve Thompson is quite famous around these parts for his photography. In fact he did the photo of me for this blog.

What Do Tombstone Stage Drivers Read On Their Downtime?

Well, it appears this Tombstone stage driver prefers True West:

And, the art issue, at that. Ha. In my opinion, that is one very smart stage driver.

"He was so funny, he was barred from family funerals."
—Marlo Thomas describing her uncle Tony

Quick Trip to France, Anyone?

October 4, 2010
On my way to France this coming weekend. A Paris publisher wants to translate my Wyatt Earp book into French. When family members contacted Kathy this morning expressing concern about our safety, my wife said, "I'm not worried, Bob has a beret."

Meanwhile, speaking of terrorists, worked most of the weekend on an image that portrays the old Mexican saying, "Ai Chihuahua, quantos Indios (Apaches) sin huarachis?"

Nice study. Need to bend it a bit, add a couple more raiders (Quantos Indios?)

"Bedtime stories for children who drink."
—David Sedaris describing his latest book, "Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk"