Friday, May 28, 2010

May 28, 2010
A wonderful full moon last night. My neighbor, Tom Augherton, drove into my driveway and pounded on my door: "Come out! You gotta see this!" The red tinted full moon was a dilly. Unfortunately, I fried my camera crossing a stream in Utah last week and I thought it would dry out, but it's gone for good, so I can't share it with you.

Got up early today and bailed into a batch of moon glow studies. Did 14. Got some good ones:

The glowing white spots are happy accidents. Need to go in and add the Billy skeleton, like this:

Not happy with the calliope forearm, but it's got some nice elements going. Mark Boardman opens his excellent piece on the Billy dig with a full moon and this art is for the splash pages, the opening doubletruck. Got a couple more going as well:

Want to have a bunch of silhouetted people along the bottom reaching up for Billy, but he's just out of reach. Although it's not a moonlit scene, I kind of like this one the best so far:

Now THAT is Kid Krazy! Almost Joker Crazy, but still, the Kid is taunting us (don't tell anyone but his right hand is flipping the bird). Now if I can put a long line of small people along the bottom with their arms out reaching and grabbing for the legend, I think we'll have something.

Sent this down to Dan so he can start the layout. May do the reaching midgets in scratchboard.

"Isn't it better to spend a lifetime being second rate at what you're passionate about, what you love, than be first rate without a soul?"
—Dustin Hoffman, describing the failure of Ishtar

Thursday, May 27, 2010

May 27, 2010
Had a doctor's appointment this morning down in Scottsdale ($50 co-pay. Is it my imagination or is the co-pay creeping up towards total pay?). Got a clean bill of health, as far as a clean bill of health for a man of my health goes.

Utilizing the photo reference of Agathla Peak in the dust storm I worked up another dust storm study last night that is more faithful to the photograph:

But, I still kind of prefer the one I dug out of my imagination. May try to do another one and split the difference.

Got two new graphic novels in today. The new Jonah Hex graphic novel "No Way Back" and "The Sons of Liberty", a more American Revolutionary piece. pretty sweet. Talked to Waddie Mitchell yesterday. We're going to do a What History Has Taught Me with him.

Johnny Ringo Buys Lunch
Had lunch with Johnny Ringo, Jean Glass and Mary Brown of Festival of the West fame. Ringo is revitalizing Cave Creek Wild West Days and I hooked him and Jean up with Mary. We met at Tonto Bar &Grill and had a grand old time. Ringo bought.

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
—George Orwell

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 26. 2010
Let's check out the ol' mailbag:

"Hi Bob,
"Saw that you're reading the Beatty book. Did you see the Woody Allen piece in the New Yorker about Warren?

Woody's Warren Parody

"Never really 'got' Warren's appeal, guess Woody would be more my style."
—Nancy Ehlers, Tempe, AZ

Yes, in fact, I had read the Woody parody in the New Yorker before I went to Border's Books in Scottsdale and saw Star by Peter Biskind. So, based on the parody I bought the book and am am really enjoying it. The irony is that Woody Allen is in the book several times, and Beatty speaks highly of Woody's Annie Hall as being a "very, very good movie." Of course he was praising Diane Keaton at the time he was sleeping with her. The number of conquests is simply staggering: he slept with Jackie Kennedy AND Molly Ringwald! He seemed to juggle five or six at the same time, and often got multiples on the bedsprings at the same time.

But the book is not just about the sex (although it's quite entertaining in a "Oh, my God, not her too!" kind of way). He drove his film crews crazy with many, many takes, sometimes 75 or more and as the overtime multiplied, they began to call it "Master Beatty." Funny.

"Warren always played the girl."
Dick Sylbert, a producer
May 26, 2010
On the way back from Robbers Roost last Saturday, as we rattled along the red dirt roads of the San Rafael Swell, I pointed to the distant Henry Mountains and asked Gary Ernest Smith how he would paint the effects we were seeing. He told me he would mix a bit of Cadmium Red Light, a touch of Alizarin Crimson and Ultramarine Blue and mix it all, cheating toward the dust hues, and then tinting it with Titanium White. I wrote that down in the margin of my sketch book (see below):

Last night, after work, I went home, poured a glass of Two Buck Chuck Cabernet and went out to the studio to noodle the GES (Gary Ernest Smith) color scheme to see what would happen. Actually, some pretty cool effects happened and I whipped out four different backgrounds. Gave up for the night and slept on it.

Studied them this morning and took one of them to see if I could put in the mountains in the background.

Not finished, but the sleep worked for me. Gee, I wonder what ol' Steinbeck has to say about this?

"It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after a committee of sleep has worked on it."
—John Steinbeck

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 25, 2010
Took two babes to lunch today: Carole Glenn and Kathy Radina. Both have birthdays coming up and wanted to treat them royally. Went to Saba's up in Carefree ($65 biz account).

Yesterday I posted a painting study of my memory of the dust storm at Agatha Peak between Monument Valley and Kayenta on the Navajo Res. As we drove through I snapped off a couple shots and here is how the actual peak looked:

Not nearly as dusty as I remembered, and that cloud looks totally fake, like someone with Photoshop trying to fake volcanic ash spewing forth. Here's how the Mittens area looked like in the same duststorm:

I could have sworn the Agatha Peak storm was just as intense. Funny, how our minds play tricks on us. However, I think I like my version of it better than the reality.

"Great opportunities come to all, but many do not know they have met them."
—Albert Dunning
May 25, 2010
Just got this from Brian Downes at the John Wayne Birthplace Museum in Winterset, Iowa:

"On Friday, May 28th, Aissa Wayne will be on hand to help us dedicate this heroic-sized bronze of the Great Man here at the John Wayne Birthplace. The statue is a gift from the Wayne family and now anchors the future site of the John Wayne Birthplace Museum."
—Brian Downes

May 25, 2010
As I mentioned Ed Mell and I got caught in a nasty sandstorm on the way back from Utah on Sunday. Here we are on the way up, stopping near Page for gas:

The ride is a Toyota Venza, and it got sand blasted near Tuba City on the way home. Ironically, he was on the Coppersate 500, a car tour, several months ago in his classic Corvette (1963?) and got sand blasted in almost the same spot.

Northwest of Page we took the Cottonwood Canyon cutoff, a dirt road and about ten minutes into it we ran across a herd of cattle (we later ran into longhorns and stopped again). Here's Ed lusting after one of them:

Ed liked the markings and took several photos. His longhorn cattle paintings are quite popular, so this was a lucky moment for Edmundo.

"You have to be eligible for luck to strike, and I think that's a matter of education and preparation, and character, and all the other solid attributes that sometimes people laugh at."
—James Michener

Monday, May 24, 2010

May 24, 2010
Got to Larry Clarkson's cabin near Torrey, Utah at about 5:30 last Thursday evening (we took a shortcut west of Page, up Cottonwood Canyon, but it still is ten plus hours from Phoenix). Got up at six, on Friday morning, packed up and went out to a dramatic canyon southwest of town called Fish Creek Canyon. Impressive petrogliphs on the walls of a nearby rock face. Set up looking the other way.

Of course, Ed Mell, Gary Ernest Smith and Larry Clarkson are all master plein air painters (plein air is French for "get your arse outdoors and actually look at what you are painting"). Which begs the question, if you paint an airplane outdoors, is that plein air plane painting?

While the boys painted, I sketched them painting. Here's Ed Mell hard at it, sitting in the sage brush:

Yes, Ed had a chair that had the saying "No boundaries" on the back of it. Here are quick gesture sketches of Larry and Gary:

Here's another quick take on Ed (top) and Larry getting into it:

And here's Gary Ernest Smith in his Fatwah outfit:

And, one more bonus sketch of Larry with the morning skyline towering over him:

Unfortunately, because of the wind, this was the only plein air session Ed got. The next day we went out to Robbers Roost and the day turned rather nasty (plus 110 miles on rough dirt roads didn't help). We came back on Sunday, but Larry and Gary were going to try and get in another day.

I'm reading an excellent book, "Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America" by Peter Biskind, and I took it along on the trip. It's quite a read (the subtitle should be: "How Warren Beatty seduced every woman in America"). Here's what Warren has to say about chasing history (in this case, his movie Reds):

"If you're chasing the locomotive of history, you do your best, you fire your best shots, and you live and learn, and then you die. It would be great if you had some fun, and it would be really great if you had some kids."
—Warren Beatty
May 24. 2010
Long trip back from Capital Reef, Utah, but saw some spectacular country and got some great inspiration. Left Larry Clarkson's cabin at about 7:30 yesterday morning and came back via Hanksville down to Mexican Hat, dropping into Gouldings at Monument Valley. Very windy and dusty. I drove Ed Mell's new Toyota Venza while he snapped reference photos. We both marveled all the way down as the canyons just got more and more amazing, with the sandstone strata turning to a dark chocolate as we got closer to Canyonlands. Stopped near Hite, just south of the Colorado River as it drains into Lake Powell, got out and took in the panorama. Both Ed Mell and I were literally gawking at the sweep of the multiple canyons and I finally said, "Now God is just showing off."

We both laughed, met a couple from Saint Louis, and drove on.

Just beyond The San Juan Goosenecks (where the river breaks back on itself in wild returns) we hit major dust. In the distance we could barely make out the iconic spires of Monument Valley, floating mysteriously in the haze. Had lunch at Gouldings Trading Post where John Wayne and John Ford spent many a night while filming The Searchers and their legendary cavalry trilogy.

On the way out to Kayenta we came upon the giant volcanic neck of Agatha Peak which really loomed in the dust like some giant pirate ship in thick, amber fog.

Got up this morning and whipped out this little study from memory:

The lone hogan is a bit of a fudge, since most of the dwellings today on the Navajo Res are trailer houses, but I remember when I was a kid that there was this lone hogan at the foot of Agatha Peak and I often thought about what that must have been like to get up every morning and see that giant monolith in the back yard.

Made some other sketches and wrote down what I learned on the trip:

More images later.

"Creative minds always have been known to survie any kind of bad training."
—Anna Freud
May 24. 2010
Here's an update, from Marshall Trimble, on the new movie shooting in Cave Creek:

About three weeks ago I was asked to read and record the script of
"Queens of Country," now filming in Cave Creek. The dialogue coach wanted
someone with a "small town" accent to read the male lead so the actor could
listen to it and get the inflections into his role.

My first thought was, "I don't have a small town accent, I'm from
the City of Ash Fork."

My motto has always been when in doubt, go ahead so I recorded the
dialogue. I thought they'd say it was terrible but they liked it and said it
was just what they were looking for and could I record the other male part

Some of the lines were so salty they'd make a muleskinner blush
and the dialogue coach was a beautiful young woman named Diane. She was
really sweet and said, "Marshall, if you're not comfortable saying those
words you can skip over them."

Not wanting to be a wuss, I bravely read the lines like a pro. She
and I had a good laugh about it afterwards. I told her the only time I used
language like that myself was when I was mad at my computer.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

May 22, 2010
Just got back from Robber's Roost in southeastern Utah. We are in Torrey, Utah. Great scenery, good gunfight information and photos. Back on Tuesday.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May 19, 2010
Every once in a while, I paint a picture that I could sell 100 times over. Several years ago when I was completing Classic Gunfights, Volume II: The 25 Gunfights Behind the O.K. Corral I did a painting of the Bisbee Stage being robbed near Hereford, Arizona.

At my art show for the book at the Legacy Gallery in Carefree I had people practically fighting over this gouache and it sold immediately:

In fact, it sold to a couple from New York who paid for it, and then had us hold onto it until they could come out and pick it up. To make a long story a tad shorter, they never came. In the meantime half a dozen people, on a tour of our office would stick their heads in Carole Glenn's office, see the painting, on the floor, in the corner and say, "How much for that one?" Sorry, it's sold.

About a month ago the couple told me they had come on hard times and wondered if I might buy it back.

Boy Howdy! So, they're happy, I'm happy and now someone else can own it. It's framed and it's $1,500. First come, first serve.

"Give me an empty museum and I'll fill it."
May 19, 2010
Our July issue is going out the door to our printer in Kansas City even as you read this. We had a half page fall out at the last minute, so we scrambled and put together a short stand alone feature "What Would Billy Say?" and used Fred Nolan's witty interview of the dug up Kid (which ran here on a post last week). We used my Billy skeleton interview image to illustrate it (seen here before finished):

Getting packed to head up to Utah for a tour of the Wild Bunch area known as Robber's Roost. Here is a map of the area in southeastern Utah where we are going:

Really pretty country. Here is a photo by Larry Clarkson of the area:

Pretty sweet, eh? Photos and sketches next week. I'm taking my computer but not sure if there will be a signal out there.

"Can you hear me now?"
—Old Verizon Saying
May 19, 2010
Gave a True West talk last night down at Brookdale in Paradise Valley. It's an assisted living, retirement complex, very nice. Had dinner in the dining room with my host Phyllis Allen and five of her friends. Very good food, had the halibut. At 6:30 I spoke to about 30 people in the main living room. To some extent I felt like I am looking at my future (a few older guys drooling, nodding off and talking to themselves and I already do two of those) and to some extent I felt like I'm preaching to the choir (they all read newspapers and nod vigorously when I say we need to protect our heritage). The women were all dolled up and quite courteous, nodding and laughing at all the appropriate places. Handed out free True Wests, took questions and thanked them profusely for a very nice time.

No pay, just good karma.

Speaking of karma (in this case evaporating karma), an air conditioning tech came out to our house yesterday and said we need a new evap cooler on the house‚ $6,500. Told him no way. The repairs to the old one (and the one on the studio) cost me $550, so that made me hot. Ha.

Narrative Imperative
Woke up this morning rather discouraged (although the house was cooler, see above). Went out to the kitchen table and sketched out my angst:

Notice that I drew myself right-handed. Ha. I hate when I can't even get my own representation correct. Plus, Mark Boardman emailed me and said I am spelling Gail Cooper's name wrong, it's actually Gale, and she's a doctor not a ms.

So, that was irritating. I actually knew both facts, but, well, did I mention I'm irritated. Went on a walk with Peaches and saw my least favorite neighbor. We waved, but mentally I flipped him the bird.

Came back and decided I needed to attack the very things I am the weakest on, probably the main one being P.O.V. (point of view drawings). Did a page:

That kind of cheered me up. Went into the office and Bob Brink told me he hates the cover (issue goes out today). Had a discussion with him and Trish Brink about it. Decided it's too late to change it.

Leaving in the morning for an artist's tour of Butch Cassidy country. Ed Mell and I are driving up to Escalante, Utah to meet Gary Ernest Smith and do some plein air painting for three days.

"Continuous effort—not strength or intelligence—is the key to unlocking our potential."

—Winston Churchill

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 18, 2010
So how do you draw someone who doesn't want her photograph taken? Well, for one thing you talk to people who have met her. One person I talked to is a professor of history at the University of New Mexico and he described her as a "faded blond bombshell." You mean like Farrah Fawcett, or like Madonna?

No reply. Not much help either.

The next person I talked to met her in court (it should be easy to surmise who that is) and this witness said she has long, straight blond hair and is very skinny, oh, and she seems to prefer black. Now we're getting somewhere. Did a batch of sketches yesterday morning trying to pursue the descriptions like a police sketch artist might:

While sketching these, I remembered and realized that Ms. Cooper sees herself as the hero of the digging up Billy the Kid story and probably sees herself as, well, more like this:

"No man is against you, he's merely for himself."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Monday, May 17, 2010

May 17, 2010
Walked down to the Buffalo Chip Saloon this morning to talk to the young directors of the movie being filmed in Cave Creek, Queens of Country. The popular dance hall is about two hundred yards east of the True West World Headquarters.

The first thing I noticed, besides the rows of big trucks in the parking lot was the black out on all the doors and windows. Hollywood shooters hate natural light and will do anything to dampen or obliterate it:

I knew several of the crew because they are local guys. Turns out it's a small movie, $7 million budget, but it sure looks big. The Line Producer Connie Hoy also knew me and we talked for a minute. She had to laugh about the Sonoran News report that the EMG signs directing trucks to the locations stood for Exclusive Media Group. According to Connie, they are actually from a Will Ferrell movie, Everything Must Go, which they just wrapped on, and she bought the signs to use on this flick. Ha. Too funny.

The two directors, Ryan Page and Christopher Pomerenke came over and introduced themselves. The two previously wrote and directed Blood Into Wine a documentary in part on Maynard James Keenan the lead singer of Tool (he's also the villain in this movie), who has several wineries in Arizona, Jerome and elsewhere. Marshall Trimble worked on the film and went to the premiere down in Scottsdale, and quipped to me, "I haven't seen so much cleavage since I was born."

My daughter Deena and two of her friends went on a tour of the wineries last month based on seeing the movie.

Christopher is a musician, plays drums, and has worked with Ween and Modest Mouse among others. Being a drummer myself we compared faves and he impressed me with his comment that when it comes to great bands, the lead guitarist likes his drummer, the example being Jimmy Page and John Bonham of Led Zep. That scored major points with me right there. As I told him, on the way in to work I caught the middle section of Whole Lotta Love on my old station KSLX where Page comes yo-yoing off that freakout bridge and Bonham suddenly, out of nowhere, hits every drum in his kit with telephone poles, culminating in the crudest, heaviest, bitchin-est guitar licks that have ever, I mean ever, been laid down.

But that's just little ol' Country me.

I asked where the plot point of the movie came from about the iPod being found in a truck stop and Christopher said he was at a Mac store at 24th St. and Camelback in Phoenix and he found an iPad on the ground, took it home and turned it on and it said "happy birthday" and he wondered who it belonged to and the story behind it.

As we were chatting up comes the star, Ron Livingston (Band of Brothers, Sex In The City) to go over some lines. He pulls out a mini-script. Actors carry these because they can hide it in their clothes then pull it out between takes to review their lines. Here they are, Ryan, Ron and Christopher going over this morning's setup at the finals of the dance contest:

I asked them why they came back to the Chip after several days of shooting there last week and Ryan told me, "Because Larry, the owner wouldn't let us film during the weekend." He allegedly didn't want to lose a "million and a half in beer sales." So they filmed the semi-finals of the dance contest last week, and this morning they begin the finals.

The shoot lasts until June so it's quite ambitious. I'm rootin' for them.

"You have to be eligible for luck to strike, and I think that's a matter of education and preparation, and character and all the other solid attributes that sometimes people laugh at."
—James Michener
May 17, 2010
Just got back from visiting the set of Queens of Country. Had a nice talk with the two directors, Ryan Page and Christopher Pomerenki. Also met the Line Producer Connie Hoy. Photos and anecdotes to follow.

Spent the weekend working on the big Digging Up Billy painting. Still trying to nail a likeness of the diggers and the anti-diggers:

Making My Friends Look Bad

As I worked on these I noticed a strange phenom: the more I like someone the nastier their caricature became, and vice versa, the less I cared about someone, the more flattering they look. See if you can guess who my friends are by how bad I have made them look:

"Never underestimate the narcissism of a writer."
—Elia Kazan

Friday, May 14, 2010

May 14, 2010
Overcoming long odds, my nephew, E. J. Radina has won both the regional and state National History Day competitions. This year's theme is "Innovation: Impact and Change," and E. J. chose the Tesla Coil as his innovation. He presented this in the individual performance category. Here he is winning the state:

E. J. is now going to represent Arizona in Washington D.C. in June, but some of the students need to raise funds for the student's registration, flight and hotel fees. Any amount you can give to alleviate the burden of their costs would be greatly appreciated.

"Let's get kids interested in history."
—Old Vaquero Saying
May 14, 2010
For the past twenty some years I have been noodling a Wyatt Earp time travel story where Earp comes forward to the present chasing outlaw Curly Bill (an errant Fort Huachuca chemical experiment goes awry in the Whetstone Mountains sending both Earp and Brocius into the present).

This morning I did a couple sketches playing with what Earp would run into as he chases Curly Bill north through Tucson, Phoenix and ultimately Vegas:

"This time travel has commenced. Get to traveling, or get away."
—Wyatt Earp
May 14, 2010
Just got a phone call from my daughter Deena who is driving from Amarillo to Phoenix. She was in west Texas, actually in Cactus, north of Dumas, giving 401K presentations in English and Spanish to the 3,200 employees at a slaughter house (not making this up). Her flight home connections from Amarillo to Dallas were canceled this afternoon because of major rain, so she has rented a Toyota and is headed west on I-40. I got the call for road trip advice. My recommendations were: find a good hotel and spend the night in Albuquerque, eat the green chile at the Owl Bar & Cafe, get up at four and get out of Dodge before the city traffic picks up and have a leisurely drive to Flagstaff, but stop there for huevos rancheros at Martann's on San Francisco Street just off old Route 66, then come down the hill and stop at our house for a pecan salad.

Ha. Mostly true (didn't recommend the salad).

Update On Movie Filming In Cave Creek:
Turns out the EMG signs we have been seeing for the movie being filmed here stand for Exclusive Media Group, which is the org that's producing the following:

Apr. 22, LOS ANGELES – The Twinkle Cash Company announced today that principal photography on Queens of Country, a quirky comedy set in a rural southwestern town starring Lizzy Caplan (Mean Girls, Hot Tub Time Machine, True Blood) and Ron Livingston (Office Space, Band of Brothers, Sex and The City), begins on May 3 under the direction of well-known music documentarians Christopher Pomerenke and Ryan Page (Blood Into Wine, Moog, The Heart Is A Drum Machine).

Queens of Country centers upon beauty queen and line dancing champion Jolene Gillis (Lizzy Caplan). After stumbling upon an iPod filled with her favorite country songstresses in a local truck stop bathroom, Jolene upends her world to track down her soul mate.

The film’s cast is rounded out by Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad, Role Models), Matt Walsh (The Hangover, Role Models) and Maynard James Keenan (lead singer for Tool and A Perfect Circle).

Queens of Country was written by Ryan Page, Serene Dominic and Christopher Pomerenke.

News From The Front Lines
"Brad Triplehorn from Milan (near Grants), NM called to subscribe today. He said he has been visiting museums and monuments and has found TW at 3 of these.

"He said that he understood that you recently became involved and I let him know you have been involved since 2000. He said it is one of the few magazines that he reads from cover to cover."
—Carole Glenn

Been planning on some new projects (both in video and print), but got this fortune cookie today at Flo's down in Scottsdale:

"As long as you don't sign up for anything new, you'll do fine."
—Old Vaquero Saying
May 14, 2010
My good friend Jay Dusard is a damn good photographer. Case in point:

Jay calls it Abandoned Railway Coach Car and at this point he's reluctant to disclose its location, but it really speaks volumes to me about how quickly nature devours everything; our best laid plans, our craftsmanship, our history. I guess I would call it Westward Bound Oblivion. But that's just me.

Jay also wanted me to mention the use of a super wide-angle lens that doesn't cover the entire 8x10-inch negative, and which dramatizes the "exploding" nature of the situation.

Pretty cool.

"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."
—Dorothy Parker

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May 13, 2010
Well, from True Grit (Coen bros filming now) to Jonah Hex (out in June) to Country Queens (filming now in Cave Creek), and now comes a report from Charlie Waters that a Vegas Elvis impersonator is going to be doing the theme song for the new Lone Ranger movie which will supposedly star Johnny Depp as Tonto (which, by the way, means "fool" in Spanish). George Clooney has been rumored for the Ranger role but has not signed on as of yet. Here's the link to the story.

Went home for lunch and grabbed a couple more rejects and splashed around. I seem to be obsessed with storm riders:

Maybe it's because sometimes I feel like we're running in front of a train. Or, in this case a terrible storm that's bearing down on us all.

Also whipped out a sunset scene:

And a Last Light landscape:

And just for grins did a cloud study, that I call Snoopy Couds:

These are actually very relaxing to create. Takes the edge off the magazine deadline stress.

"Painting a ditch is better than digging one."
—Ed Mell
May 13, 2010
Got a pesky coyote who really wants Peaches for a snack. Makes a run for the Peachtree each morning, coming right up to our gate before retreating. Of course, when I come out this emboldens the Peach and she goes on the attack chasing the big brute out into the desert, which is exactly what the wily coyote wants. He/she even fakes a limp to draw the old girl out. If the coyote was running with a pack Peaches wouldn't stand a chance because they'd draw her out and then another one would come in from behind, but so far it's just Wily.

Grabbed a couple of ruined boards from my reject pile and tried to salvage them this morning. First up, some willy nilly washes turned into this:

Fire Rider is the name of this puppy. A certain one-eyed half-breed scout lopes his mule in front of a lazy Mexican fire (talk about flirting with insensitive racial profiling). Speaking of which, best line from the Arizona illegal immigration furor: "But it's a dry facism," Seth Meyers, Saturday Night Live.

Meanwhile, grabbed another failed wash, based on a summer storm I witnessed last year on a road trip to New Mexico. I was coming around the bend from Magdalena, and down the slope to Socorro, when a huge bank of clouds angled in across the highway and started dropping rain in those mountains to the west of Socorro (don't know their name). I actually pulled over and sketched the whole thing. Got some decent washes going and ended up with this:

Pretty dang close to what I witnessed. The Sweeper.

"Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven't planted."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 12, 2010
Looks like the movie filming up at the Buffalo Chip is starring Ron Livingston (Band of Brothers) and not Nic Cage, which was a Cave Creek rumor. Here is the synopsis for Queens of Country off of IMDb:

"Living in a fantasy era long gone and obsessed with old time country stars, the prettiest girl in a small Arizona town finds a lost iPod filled with songs that speak to her sensitive heart. Jolene Gillis is convinced the owner is her soul mate and she is thrust into a sexy, heartwarming and hilarious adventure of mistaken identities, ATVs, line dancing competitions, kidnappers, time machines and doppelgangers."

The house where they filmed last week had two ATVs parked in the driveway when I drove by.

"Whatever you are by nature, keep to it; never desert your own line of talent. Be what nature intended you for, and you will succeed; be anything else and you will be ten thousand times worse than nothing."
—Sydney Smith
May 12, 2010
Fresh off a divorce and a repossessed truck, in the summer of 1978 I moved from Tucson to Phoenix and went to work at the hippie-alternative rag-free-weekly New Times, founded by two college dropouts Jim Larkin and Mike Lacey.

My starting pay was $110 a week and I functioned (i.e. worked long hours) as the art director, columnist (Scoops!) and cartoonist (Honkytonk Sue). It was a decade-long stressful, exhilarating experience, especially since the editor, Mike Lacey was prone to shouting matches and fisticuffs (he once punched out an assistant to the mayor of Phoenix).

Here is a photo of Mike and his then girlfriend Georgia O'Neil at our house in about 1980:

Flush with success in the late eighties, Mike and Jim went on a buying spree and methodically bought up a baker's dozen alternative weeklies around the country including the legendary Village Voice in New York. Both guys are often vilified in the press as "cowboys" which always makes me smile.

Arizona Republic columnist E. J. Montini recently caught up with Lacey and did an interview:

Yes, the tattoo on the fingers of his hands reads "Hold Fast". Although Mike and I often had our disagreements, I have to say he is a total charmer and a bit of a wit.

"Kingman named a street after Andy Devine. They should name a freeway after Bob Boze Bell."
—Mike Lacey

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

May 11, 2010
My father had an older sister named Doris and she married a doctor from Osage, Iowa. They had a son named Mike, who is two years younger than me. The two cousins, one from Iowa and one from Arizona, always had a blast on the family farm almost every summer. We built go-carts, filmed a movie ("The V-2 Rocket Farm," 1963) and got into rock fights with the Thompson toughs. When I graduated from Mohave County High School in 1965, Aunt Doris and Michael came out to Kingman for the ceremony. While they were in Kingman we went to Vegas and in one of those cheesy photo booths we had our photos taken:

That's me on the left. Like his father, Mike became a doctor, but then moved on to buying hospitals and then casinos. Needless to say, when I have tough financial questions I call my cousin Mike. We don't have a bunch in common but I think it's safe to say we are both stubborn Norwegians.

News From the Front Lines:

"I renewed my subscription and became a TWMAG Maniac. Why? Because we love to visit the west as often as possible and when we can not, True West Magazine brings the west into our home with wonderful articles and photographs.

"So thanks to you and the other members of the dedicated staff of TWMAG.

"I would like to share an observation I made over the years of watching western films. The Searchers is the movie and the scene is toward the end of the movie. Ward Bond is more or less giving it to Patrick Wayne just before they ride into the camp to rescue Natalie Wood. At the moment Ward Bond is giving Patrick Wayne a hard time, look at the upper left hand portion of the screen. John Wayne is watching the acting of his friend and son and seems to be enjoying the interaction a little more than his character,
Ethan Edwards, would do. Now this is an observation that has made me enjoy the movie even more. I believe I caught a glimpse of John Wayne, the father, watching his son acting and enjoying every minute.

"Any way thanks for listening and thanks to you all for a terrific publication."

—Bob Johnson, Delaware

"The habit of persistence is the habit of victory."
—Herbert Kaugman
May 11, 2010
Breezy and cool out this morning. The days are getting hotter (high 80s) but the mornings are cool. This will last for about another week and then it's nuclear blast heat time 24/7 for the next five months. But as we like to say, "It keeps the riff-raff out."

Went for a walk with Peaches and noticed a few wispy dreamlike clouds wafting over the Seven Sisters (stair-stepped peaks over the cave that Cave Creek is named for). Came home and whipped out a loose wash of the dreamscape clouds from memory:

Still working on the Digging Up Billy painting. Mark Boardman turned in his story and it has a nighttime setting, so I may have to scrap what I've done for a more nocturne image.

"No idea is so antiquated that it was not once modern. No idea is so modern that it will not someday by antiquated."
—Ellen Glasgow

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 10, 2010
There is a major movie filming in Cave Creek. Saw a ton of trucks, trailers and lights just off Fleming Springs Road last Thursday. Drove by and saw the crew scrambling for a set up. Major crew, everyone mum. Didn't stop to chat, but I did call Don S. who is tracking down the studio and hopes to have a blurb in Wednesday's Sonoran News. One rumor had them in the Buffalo Chip filming. Sounds like a contemporary Western, perhaps?

The house they were using is one of those taco modern Santa Fe McMansions with too many vegas, going in too many directions. Big old sucker, sits down in a wash to the south of Fleming Springs.

Thanks to True West, the Buffalo Bill Museum And Grave outside Denver got some nice ink.

"Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
May 10, 2010
Had a very nice weekend. Went to a movie at Camelview 5 yesterday for Mother's Day ($21 for three tickets). Saw that 4.5 star foreign Oscar winner with "Eyes" in the title. What is it, "Something In Their Eyes"? in Spanish, with subtitles. Of course, I'm the only guy in the family who has to read the subtitles. Deena and Tomas are fluent speakers and Kathy is well versed. Great chase sequence in a soccer stadium. Very fluid and remarkable. Afterwards we got pizza in Old Town Scottsdale ($56 my biz account).

Worked most of the weekend on the facial likeness for the diggers and the anti-diggers in the Billy dig:

If you know the players you might recognize a face or two. Hint: that's Bill Richardson at bottom, left. Ha. Needs work, but I like his crazed look as he eyes the Kid's bones. Arrrrgggg!

Meanwhile, got the inspiration to add a boulder heaving woman to the mix:

And I'm still playing with Billy's face, after being underground for 130 years:

Haunting, no?

"These are grave matters."
—BBB, from the forthcoming book The Fine Art of Becoming A Fine Artist

Saturday, May 08, 2010

May 8, 2010
Worked all day on the big Digging Up Billy painting, utilizing the study I finished yesterday and several other sketch ideas I came up with from perusing a huge book I have on Michelangelo ("The Complete Work of Michelangelo"). Nobody has done the big crowd scenes, with naked gay guys jockeying for position with sharp elbows, better than the Italiano-Boy. In fact, one of his ceiling fescos inspired me to include a boulder heaving woman (I'll let you guess who that will be) about to toss "the second stone," as in "He who casts the first stone."

And if you're Gail Cooper's attorney, I would recommend you all relax, it's satire (I always imagine myself on the witness stand with some anal attorney reading me these lines and asking me if this is an accurate statement. Of course, I included "anal attorney," so he, or she, will have to read that into the record).

I know, I really take these things to ridiculous levels, but it's what I do. Look at True West, the magazine. Ten years ago it was a company that was on the verge of collapse and today it's a company that nobody can kill. Several have tried, myself included, but it apparently cannot be done (read the business timeline, click on the BBB blog above, if you don't believe me). Many have predicted the demise of the magazine but it just keeps going. Call it the Joe Small Big Perpetual Motion Machine.

Or not.

But I digress. Got about six or seven character washes in place, including Drew Gomber, Steve Sederwall, Paul Andrew Hutton and a very dapper Frederick Nolan. Hope to finish the mob tomorrow.

Not sure I'm going to post this progress beause it's too juicy and perhaps too libelous (counselor?). At this point I'm thinking you can wait and see it when it lands in your mailbox.

Or not.

"See you in court. Or, perhaps at a sidebar."

Friday, May 07, 2010

May 7, 2010
Went home for lunch and got a haircut from Bev up the street ($20 cash). Caught up on all the Old Stage Road news. Came back, changed the water in the chicken coop, then settled in to finish the Digging Up Billy the Kid cover study:

Here's Looking At You Kid

Need to back out the reporters a bit, expand to the left, push them back so that the microphones and camera lenses are pointed at Billy, but he can breath a bit more. Also need to work on the faces, which will feature Fred Nolan, Drew Gomber, Paul Andrew Hutton, Steve Sederwall, Bill Richardson and Gail Cooper, among others.

Gee, I wonder what Billy's mother will think of all this?

"The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness."

—Honore de Balzac
May 7, 2010
Deena Bell turns 30 today (and her mother turns 60 in a couple weeks). So, to celebrate, we're all going to Rocky Point, Mexico next month to celebrate the occassion. Here is a photo of the birthday girl in 1982 on her first visit to Cholla Bay in Rocky Point. We stayed in a primitive beach house with screened in walls and no lights or amenities:

Since then, Deena has fallen in love with the place and goes down every year, and that's where she wants to go for her 30th B-Day.

"The father of daughters is always a shepherd."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Thursday, May 06, 2010

May 6, 2010
People ask me all the time, Hey Boze, show me that 1980 photo of you and Ed Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show). And, I'm like, you mean that photo taken at the Wrigley Mansion in Phoenix where New Times reporter Jana Bommersbach introduced Kathy and I to Mr. Asner and he pointed at Kathy's stomach and said to me, "What did you do to her?" (Kathy was very pregnant with Deena). You mean that old thing? No way!

Well, way:

"Under normal periods, any man's success hinges about five percent on what others do for him and 95 percent on what he does."
—James A. Worsham, who I don't believe was referring to me getting Kathy pregnant
May 6, 2010
Thanks to a daily counter at I know this is my 3,000th posting. Quite a number. Wish I had the time back. Ha. Not really. I have very much enjoyed each and every post, even the ones Charlie Waters wrote while I was visiting the Kingman Regional Intensive Care Recreation Center. Especially those posts.

Speaking of which, for some reason, this morning, I needed to go look at the True West business timeline (see link above) and just reading some of that early TW business nightmare gave me the willies. I'm still not sure how I lived through that one (although rereading it did take the surprise out of the Kingman Regional visit. Heart attack anyone?)

Got a call from our cover boy Joey Dillon (he was on our cover and taught Josh Brolin how to spin his guns for the upcoming June release of Jonah Hex). Joey is working on a Spike TV show on the Jesse James Gang vs. Al Capone's gang and he wanted to know about Jesse's weapons and also if Mr. Howard was as deadly with a gun as Billy the Kid. Evidently someone criticized the show and said Billy the Kid was the person that should have gone up against Al's Chicago boys. You can pretty much guess what I told him (Jesse and Frank had mucho training and experience as combat raiders).

As for the show and details, here, I'll let him tell you:

"The show I was on aired last Tuesday night on Deadliest Warrior on Spike T.V. I am the firearms and Jesse James expert. Here is a link to part of the episode. The whole episode should be up in a week, and with it the thing we filmed today. 'The Aftermath' discussing it all further. Webisode only."
—Joey Rocketshoes Dillon

Had lunch today with the Rosebrook boys. Went to Tonto Bar & Grill. Sat outside on the covered patio. Beautiful day. Had the small cobb salad ($15 cash). Lots of talk about a possible True West TV show, something I have been noodling for some time (see True West business timeline, above).

"Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success."
—Dale Carnegie

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

May 5, 2010
Deena Bean turns 30 this weekend and her friends asked that I send them some photos of her as a youngster. Hauled out a couple of old photo albums this morning and brought them to work. As I looked through the dusty pages, I found quite a few of the baby Deena but I also found a couple other interesting prints (me with Ed Asner, me with Mike Lacey, me in Jim Larkin's shirt that I'll post later),

So Young, So Skinny

This was taken at Rio Rico Lodge north of Nogales in March of 1980. I have on my new custom made Boze Boots made just for me by Johnny Weinkauf. This is the day I drove Kathy (who was 8 1/2 months pregnant with Deena) out to Mescal Springs to see first hand where Wyatt Earp shot Curly Bill. I was also reading "The Earp Brothers of Tombstone" by Frank Waters for the first time and that was both disturbing and an eye opener.

Two years prior, in 1978, I was getting ready to self-publish my first comic book on my original character Honkytonk Sue. I culled the strips I was doing for New Times weekly in Phoenix and pasted the whole thing up at Rau Advertising in the evenings when everyone was gone. Dan Harshberger worked there and gave me the key. I had to shoot pmts (positive prints of the artwork) then glue down the type and pictures on to a paste-up-board with rubber cement! Ancient stuff!

Another Kingman childhood friend, Charlie Waters, was the publisher of the Prescott Courier at the time, and he agreed to print up the guts of my comic book if I brought up the camera ready artwork, and came early enough so that they could run my job before they ran the daily paper.

I drove up the hill, arriving in Prescott before dawn and the Courier press prep guys quickly started shooting my boards and developing them into negatives, then burning plates to put on the big presses. This is a press check photo taken by one of Charlie's photographers on that day:

Of course, that's me at left and Chrarlie at right and this morning I asked Charlie to provide the other names: "The guy between us with the beard is Dennis Wyrick, who was the head pressman. He was a very nice guy who got his hand stuck in the press and almost lost it. Peeking out behind him is Tom Cotton, who was the production manager of the paper back then and another great guy. Regretfully, I lost track of both of them after I left Prescott."

It only took them about a half hour to run off 5,000 copies, which they quickly bundled up and loaded into the back of my F-150 Ford pickup for the drive down the hill back to Phoenix:

I wrote a check for, I think, $750 and change (Charlie's cost) and headed home. I remember the truck did some major swerving when I braked on the descent from Sunset Point, but I made it to Central Bindery, where I dropped these off and then came back with the printed cover (which I had printed in Phoenix). The comic came out soon after and I was invited to attend the New York Comic Con in July where my brand new comic book character was met with a bit of a yawn. Ha.

"A free press belongs to any man who can afford to pay through the nose for one."
—Old Pressman Saying