April 4, 2012Just got a sneak peek at the cover of John Boessenecker's next book, which will be published by Oklahoma Press in October. We will be doing an excerpt in October in True West magazine. If you followed the many incarnations of this cover painting, perhaps you are as surprised as I am, at how nice it turned out.
Meanwhile, last Friday I drove up to Prescott Valley, which is an hour and a half run from Cave Creek. Met with the town manager and the sculptor, Deb Gessner who is actually doing the sculpting on the project, which is turning my painting "Not-So-Gentle Tamer" into a statue for the front of city hall. Here is Deb putting the finishing touches on one of the clay work-ups.
With absolutely no help from me, Deb totally nailed the hat (which is always a priority with me) and she really captured the resolve in the face, which is flat out even better than my painting.
Anyway, I called my Aunt Jean in Fort Sumner right after taking this picture (and it's still so amazing and ridiculous to me that I did both on the same machine!) and I told my aunt to get ready to attend the unveiling of the statue sometime later this year. I will be dedicating it to my two grandmothers, Grandma Guess and Minnie Hauan Bell, who were the inspiration for the piece. Both were women who seemed gentle on the surface, but both had a steely resolve that was breathtaking to behold. As a 9-year-old boy I watched my Grandma Minnie dispatch five chickens by putting their necks on the back porch steps, stepping on their bodies and twisting the heads off with swift and confident flick. As I watched the chickens flailing around the back yard—headless—I was stunned and, needless to say, I never looked at my kindly grandmother the same ever again.
"The older I get, the greater I was."
—Van Dyke Parks