Monday, December 31, 2012

Last Liar Standing

December 31, 2012

   In Baltimore I finally got to stand in front of a very historic ship, the U.S.S. Constellation:

As I recall, this is one of the ships featured prominently in my grade school history books supposedly dating back to the Revolutionary War. Turns out that is only about half true. Upon digging by historians in the 1990s it was discovered the ship was totally rebuilt in 1876 and very little of the original ship remains. Anyway, here I am, one of the last liars standing, square on the anchor, in the harbor at Baltimore, Maryland.

Damn cold, though.

As with the above named ship and its half-true history, the older i get the more everything seems to be about half authentic, half true. Turns out Wyatt Earp wasn't hunting buffalo in 1872 (as he told his biographer Stuart Lake) Earp was actually hunting beaver in a brothel in Peoria, Illinois. And so it goes.

"Follow the beaver."

—Old Vaquero Saying

Friday, December 28, 2012

True West magazine job number one

December 28, 2012

One of my constant missions on my various road trips is the obligation, nay, the duty, to reposition True West magazine to better advantage wherever I find it. This morning we walked into downtown Baltimore. On the inner harbor is a huge Barnes & Noble bookstore inside an old electric plant:

Inside this huge store is a magazine rack that takes up one entire wall of the store:

There are thousands of titles and they are split into categories like Sports, Women's Interest and Current Events. Ken lobbied hard to get our magazine back into the History section (after languishing for years in the Lifestyle section), but there is no "History" section, at least in this B&N. I finally found us, tucked in underneath the Current Events section:

My daughter-in-law is searching for True West. You can just see the T in the second row, just to the right of Pattarapan. Of course, it was our job to pull the three issues lodged back there and give them a better chance of being seen:

But being down there on the bottom row was just too irritating to me, so we moved it to where it should be in all the stores:


"Please do this in every story you go into. Thanks."


East Coast vs. West Coast

December 28, 2012

   Woke up in a snowstorm on the eastcoast. Kathy and I are visiting our kids. Got in two cars and headed north. Made the driver stop at certain art museum because I am a huge fan of a hometown boy, John Singer Sargent. I don't want to give away the city but here we are at the museum:

Afterwards, we drove around the Johns Hopkins University where my daughter-in-law graduated from with honors then ended up at a Korean BBQ joint (Joung Kak) in the Charles North neighborhood:

Great spread of exotic food and had two Cass beers so I was having fun:

Quite cold out, low thirties plus a 40-mph-wind off the ocean (I won't say which one). Ended up playing an old family game: Let's stop for a shot at every bar on the right. We actually cheated so we could stop here:

Of course, we were quite obnoxious in here (Tex Mex in Arizona?! Pah-leeze!). The women started dancing:

We ended up on Baltimore Street not far from city hall at a place called "Larry Flint's Hustler Club". Really enjoyed the artwork in there. Kind of a slow night, but saw plenty of eastcoast, female plumbing.

"When in Baltimore do what the Baltimoreans do"

—Old Travelers Saying

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Old Coot In Snowbank

December 26, 2012

Woke up in a snowbank. I'm in some damn eastern state, maybe Marys Land?


"You can take the old codger out of the country but you can't take the country out of the old codger."

—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Verde Canyon Railway Adventure

December 25, 2012

Got back yesterday from a road trip adventure up to the Verde Valley. My daughter Deena missed our BLT farm tour last summer so she wanted to do something on the road with the mom and dad. So, I cooked up a train trip on the Verde Canyon Railway which takes off from Clarkdale, Arizona. And yes, the Monkees' "Last Train to Clarksville" was inspired and written about a newspaper account of the train closing in the early 1960s, but it's back, baby, and it was a ton of fun to ride.

L to R: Mike Bortscheller, his new bride Deena C. and a proud old man checking out the canyon from the observation car. Meanwhile, we had a cozy living room in the Presidential Car and on the way back down the canyon the two lovebirds cuddled in:

One of the scenes from "How The West Was Won" was filmed at the destination of the train ride at Perkinsville. In the movie Debbie Reynold's character meets the George Peppard character at the old train station there. Beautiful canyon, open bar and food galore. Couldn't have been nicer or more fun. Saint Nick even came through the cars at one point and made us sing Christmas songs.

My neighbor Matt has a classic 1904 two story apartment in Jerome so we went from the train up the hill to the cozy digs:

After lounging and taking in the spectacular view of the entire Verde Valley we walked up town (literally up!) for dinner at Quince. On Sunday morning we came over Mingus Mountain as it snowed and landed in Prescott for breakfast at the Hassayampa Hotel. Snowed most of the way home. A delightful trip.

This morning i went around to the neighbors and delivered art prints to the deserving neighbors.

Kathy got me the Louden Wainright CD "Older Than My Old Man Now" and I have listened to it almost non stop since my birthday. Classic tunes about growing old ("I Remember Sex") and hilarious and heart breaking songs about families. The title song refers to the fact that Louden has outlived his father, who died at 62.

"There is no shallow end in the family pool."

"You can't see the forest for the family tree."

—Loudon Wainwright III

Friday, December 21, 2012

Mexican Mammoth Jakcs & Remington Drawing Storms

December 21, 2012

Worked this morning on a handful of studies, finishing four of them and tweaking a couple more for later attention. Last day in office until the New Year.

The DWO offer has expired and we have some pretty amazing stats. 41 DWO paintings sold, Nick Narog bought most of them (14) with Lauren Kormylo not far behind at 7 along with my good friend and art patron, Craig Schepp, who also bought 7. Mundo snagged two, as did Scott Stone and Morris Mortensen and the rest were snapped up by savvy buyers who know a good deal when they see one.

Going to wait until the New Year to establish the new price for upcoming DWOs but rest assured it will be higher than a C note.

Mickey Free rides a mammoth jack and the crafty, little, one-eyed captivo knows from experience when that beast starts to chew on his bridle and whip his ears around, it's time to hang on or hunt cover.

Daily Whipout Painting #102, "Typical Jack Behavior"

Meanwhile, found an old study of a certain Yale cowboy who was prone to wearing the "Queen's Breeches" and hanging out with buffalo soldiers.

Daily Whipout Painting #103, "Remington Draws Up A Storm"

Here's another study I found that needed just a bit of a tweak on the sky and the little, bitty rider at bottom left:

Daily Whipout Painting #104, "Twilight Rider"

And, finally, here's another angle on Micke and his mammoth Jack in front of a giant dust storm.

Daily Whipout Painting #105, "Mick and Mule In Front of Dust Storm"

I'm beginning to feel like an expert in this whip-out-painting deal, but we all know what Niels thinks about that:

"An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field."

—Niels Bohr.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Peter Gunn Run and The Wham Payroll Bam, Ma'am

December 29, 2012

   Had a very nice birthday yesterday. Kath treated me to a visit to the MIM (Musical Instrument Museum). I have driven by this monster museum for a year or so and have never been in there. Well, the place is a total hoot. You wear headphones and when you approach a display featuring, say, the piano John Lennon played when he recorded his classic song "Imagine" a sensor in your headphone picks up a signal in the display and starts playing the song, when you walk to the next display that performer's signature songs start playing along with a video of them playing it. Here I am in front of the Marty Robbins display:

I have to say my favorite display was the one for local boy Duane Eddy. I had forgotten that in addition to "Rebel Rouser" the bad boy git-picker played a very mean run on a classic:

A Duane Eddy Classic Run

Meanwhile, we had our Christmas staff party at The Smokehouse in Frontier Town today. Here is the crew lined up to chow:

Yes, I'm wearing my Michael Guli custom Range Rider fringe shirt for the luncheon. I only wear it on special occasions, because, well, nobody says it to my face, but it kind of makes me look like a member of The Social Security Division of The Village People.

Speaking of Christmas, love this 1949 photo of Front Street in Kingman during a snow storm.

This is when Front Street (later renamed Andy Devine) was the heart and soul of Mohave County. Sadly, to me, not a single business in this photo survived the Interstate 40 bypass.

Also tweaked a page of Wham Payroll Roberry suspects I found in my files. Although they ran in my Classic Gunfight regarding the robbery, I didn't really flesh them out very well. Here is the updated version:

"Wham, bam, thank you Uncle Sam."

—The too-clever-by-half title I gave the gunfight

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Great News for Not-So-Gentle Tamer Monument

December 19, 2012

   Got some great news from the folks at Bronzesmith on my birthday:

I want to share some great news with you about the Arizona Centennial monument, “Not-So-Gentle Tamer” by artists Bob Boze Bell and Debbie Gessner. Rosie Romero, host of the “Rosie on the House Show” has generously offered to match any donations that come through his website for the monument.  Be a part of this historic tribute to the women who helped tame the West and help honor our state’s centennial. Donations of any size are greatly appreciated.

Rosie Romero Offer

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and blessings for the New Year.

—Kathy Reilly at Bronzesmith

Mick in Mexico and Wyatt Whips It Out!

December 19, 2012

   Woke up this morning and realized I really am the "66 Kid". I've flirted with using that title on a big story about a kid who comes west on Route 66 and now here I am at 66 years old. Crazy.

   Meanwhile, Been busy painting on Mick again. By that I mean good-old Mickey Free, the character I refuse to give up on. Here is a little scene I tweaked this morning before I came into work. I call this "Mick and The Mammoth Jack On The March In Mexico":

Daily Whipout Painting #102, "Mickey's Mule"

Meanwhile, working on a couple new Doc Holliday paintings for the next Classic Gunfight which will be on Doc's last gunfight.

And here are the final five DWO paintings

Daily Whipout Painting #96, "Fort Apache Courier"

This next painting illustrated a Classic Gunfight on the Salt War east of El Paso where one guy, Chico Barela, thwarted a troop of cavalry by essentially telling them to halt and forcefully telling them to go back, which they did!

Daily Whipout Painting #97, "Chico Barela"

This next one was an early take on the Mickey Free character for our proposed graphic novel, featuring his errant eye perhaps a little too much. Ha.

Daily Whipout Painting #98, "Eye of A Legend"

And here's another Mickey Free scene of him riding up to the headquarters at San Carlos.

Daily Whipout Painting #99, "In A Cloud of Dust"

Daily Whipout #100, "Wyatt Whips It Out"

"The bunch was well heeled and went armed. Earp was a fine looking man, tall with a drooping mustache that curled at the ends. . .Doc Holliday was the only one of the gang that seemed to drink much, and the minute he got hilarious, the others promptly took him in charge and he just disappeared"

—Judd Riley, Gunnison policeman

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Duke of Dust Appears In A Cloud

December 18, 2012

   Went home for lunch and whipped out a little study on the Wham Payroll Robbery suspects. I'll post that one later. Meanwhile, here are more DWO paintings on the way to 100:

Daily Whipout #89, "Rockabilly Billy"

Daily Whipout #91, "The Signal Fire"

This next study captures the phenom of driving through the down wind smoke of the Wallow Fire last year. Even though it was in the middle of the day, everything went muted and the sun became a red ball of flame cutting through the haze. Quite memorable. Of all the studies I attempted, this one is the most accurate to the sensation of being inside the cloud bank.

Daily Whipout #92, "Fire Haze"

Daily Whipout #93, "Fire Rider 2"

The late Pastor Guenther of Whiteriver, Arizona told me Mickey Free carried a big knife. I imagined if that knife could talk it would have a tale or two to tell.

Daily Whipout #94, "Head In Hand"

I've spent a good part of the last two years studying the effects of dust and this image of the refugees of a Mexican village in Sonora following a rampaging herd of red-eyed Mexican cattle across a dry lake, probably did more to cement my title as The Duke of Dust.

Daily Whipout #95, "Out of the Dust"

"From dust to dust. . ."

—Old Bible Saying

"Bascom!" And Other Whipouts

December 18, 2012

  Got up this morning and finished a little study on a certain dentist out West before I came into work. I'll post that later today.

Meanwhile, here is the beginning of the final assault on the Daily Whipout Paintings:

Daily Whipout Painting #80, "Bascom!"

Daily Whipout Painting #81, "Gatewood"

Daily Whipout Painting #82, "Cave Woman"

Daily Whipout Painting #83, "Owl Eyes"

Daily Whipout #85, "Deer Head Boy"

Daily Whipout Painting #86, "Fight In Cave"

Daily Whipout Painting #87, "Fire Rider 8"

"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection."

—Thomas Paine

Monday, December 17, 2012

26 Men Mystery Solved

December 17, 2012

   Before I go one comment further I need to personally thank Gay Mathis, prominent on this site, for getting to the bottom of the "26 Men" Mystery.

   To recap: as a young lad of 11 I remember being totally taken by the ABC TV show "26 Men" which was about the Arizona Territorial Rangers and how only 26 rangers cleaned up the entire territory ("Saddle up. . .saddle up" went the catchy theme song). The show mysteriously went off the air after only two seasons. Why? I seemed to remember there was a lawsuit, involving surviving members of the Arizona Rangers and they sued the producers of the show because they thought the portrayal was too sexual. At least that is my memory of it. I thought with my connections at the Arizona Republic (I have done a weekly feature—True West Moments—for the past three years) I would easily get to the bottom of the mystery.

  I contacted my editor, the guy with the history column (Clay Thompson), two former staffers (including Gus Walker who worked at the Republic for almost three decades) and I even contacted our own Marshal Timble (the state's official historian) and in a moment of overkill, I asked our pit bull researcher, and editor, Meghan Saar to see if she could round up the answer to the mystery.

   None of the above experts, and they are truly experts at what they do, could find anything on the subject. One of the problems is that the scanned records of the paper have a huge hole from about 1905 to 1991 (according to one of the above researchers). I was stunned. I seemed to be the only one who even remembered the episode and a few even hinted at dementia.

   As a last ditch effort I posted the mystery on this blog to see if the B team could come through. I didn't expect much. Well, low and behold, Gay Mathis of little ol' Mayfield, Kentucky was able to dig deep and accomplish what the experts in Arizona could not. To whit:

Gay was even able to garner a couple other quotes from the story:

William Oliver Parmer made these remarks in an interview in the Tucson Daily Citizen-Jan 16, 1960 after the lawsuit was filed against the "26 Men" series.

 Asked what he thought about the program, Parmer said: "My attorney told me not to discuss it with anyone."

 Western TV programs in general aren't portraying the real West, according to Parmer.

 "Mostly they are pure imagination stuff. At the rate they kill off men in those things, we'd have ended up with just women left in the territory."

This is very impressive. I asked Gay how she got the name:

regarding my name "Gay" is actually my middle name, and the name I was called growing up, etc..My first name is "Linda"..I have a identical twin sister named "Glinda Kay"..If anyone addresses me as "Linda" then, I know they do not know me very well.....:)

 Just an avid researcher of personal family genealogy projects, American Civil War, Jesse James and Gang, other Outlaws..History has always been a passion of mine. It is a never ending story and still being made, as I write this, and have not done any research for pay, etc..It's because I want to..

 Quote, below, sums it up for me, and why I love to research and try to help others..

 "We die twice; The first time when our hearts cease to beat; The second time when our stories cease to be told."

And finally, thanks to Brian Burroughs, here is the classic "26 Men" theme song:

"26 Men Who Lived to Ride Again"

Skirting The White Sands and Other Whip Outs

December17, 2012

   Spent the weekend in my studio working on a variety of paintings. Really honked on a variety of fronts. Tweaking and finishing the last 25 DWO (Daily Whip Out) paintings. I'll have posted 100 DWO paintings by Friday. Going to do five a day. Here are the first of the final 25:

Daily Whipout Painting #75, "Skirting White Sands Rider"

Daily Whipout Painting #76, "Mick Rides Through The Tundra"

Daily Whipout Paintings #77, "Beauty's Daughter Deep In The Sierra Madres"

Daily Whipout Painting #78, "Red Rock Rider"

Daily Whipout Painting #79, "Beauty #2"

Also finished a painting of our view out the kitchen window:

Daily Whipout #101, "Ratcliff Ridge at Sunset"

This painting is not for sale as an original. There is a level of skill here that I feel is beyond what I have done in the past and somewhere just a wee bit north of being competent. Not that I'm complaining or making excuses. It took me the better part of 65 years to get to this level and I'm thankful I've had the luxury of having the time (and the second chance) of getting to here. It's really been a long battle against myself. Gee, I wonder what ol' Steward has to say about this?

"Our business in life is not to get ahead of others but to get ahead of ourselves—to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterdays by our today, to do our work with more force than ever before."

—Steward B. Johnson