Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tea for Two Soiled Doves

July 31, 2013
  We are now working on our Soiled Doves issue. Going to be a fun one. We'll answer questions like these: How much did they make? How many times could they make it? And what did they do with what they made? And after they made it, how did they turn into respectable ladies? The answer to some of these will surprise you.

   Also, we are going to be running some of the best photos on the subject. Some are quite humorous, like this top shelf babe:

Got Milk? Or, Deep In Her Cups

   Mark Boardman just sent me a link to a story about Michael Jordan and how much he loves Westerns. It's on the ESPN site and here is the ending of the piece:

"The house is dark. It's almost 1 a.m., and he opens the iPad app that controls the loft's audio-visual system. Every night he does the same thing, and he does it now: Turn the bedroom television to the Western channel. The cowboy movies will break the darkness, break the silence, allow him to rest. It's just like the old days, him and Pops. Jordan climbs into bed. The film on the screen is 'Unforgiven.' He knows every scene, and sometime before the shootout in the saloon, he falls asleep."

   I'm going out on a limb here but I have a hunch Air Jordan has heard this line: "I'm Bob Boze Bell and this has been a True West Moment."

"Got up at 6 a.m. Did yoga. Ran six miles. Started lying about everything."
—Jim Gaffigan

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Navajo Hip Hop Oracle

July 30, 2013
   Woke up to a brilliant editorial in today's Arizona Republic:

A Brilliant Editorial

   Needless to say I was inspired by "the brilliant sketch artist" line and in fact followed Kathy throughout our home reading and rereading the line to her. She went into work early today. Hmmmmm.

   Went into the office and admired our October issue up on the wall in all its completeness. We had fun, it's done and you'll get yours in the mail around August 6th.

I was inspired by the Arizona Republic editorial and the Navajo Hip Hop dude I witnessed painting last Saturday night at the Orpheum Theatre in Flagstaff. This was the kid who kept painting, blowing by four different, wonderful versions of a portrait until he ruined it. I've been haunted by this oracle all weekend. Went home for lunch today and whipped out a painting of a young dude walking away from a faro table in Alaska.

Daily Whipout, "The Loser"

I myself tried to walk away and not work this puppy to death. Don't know if I succeeded, but personally, I don't think anybody is a loser unless they don't have a sense of humor.

"There should be special schools for people born without a sense of humor."

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cozad Final And The Girl In The Flatbed Toyota

July 29, 2013
   Got home from Flag yesterday at about two. Big traffic jam south of Camp Verde, so Kathy and I snuck the back way through Cherry. Got up this morning and took a good, hard look at my Cozad painting:

I debated whether to start another scene, having found a photo of the actual Bee Hive in about 1888 that shows a false front and a unique window placement on second floor, but ultimately decided I didn't have time and determined to add several more eye-witnesses, some color and called it a day:

Daily Whipout, "Tragic Fist Fight In Cozad"

Scrambling to finish the layout of this very ambitious Classic Gunfight. Goes to the printer this afternoon. Working on tweaks this morning, adding numerous tidbits of historical information from Jan at the Cozad museum. Really too much to cover in four pages, but we're giving it a go.

It's an incredible story about a family that reacted to the tragic circumstances in Cozad, Nebraska, then created aliases for themselves and spent the rest of their lives hiding from their past. Crazy Cozads, indeed.

I bought an Arizona Route 66 book by Roger Naylor in Clarkdale last Saturday. In it I discovered a funny, but sadly true tale: According to Jackson Browne, the song writer of the mythic song "Take It Easy", the girl who slowed down to take a look at him, wasn't in Winslow, but in Flagstaff at a Der Wienerschnitzel and she wasn't driving a flatbed Ford, she was in a Toyota.

"When the legend becomes fact, try singing THOSE lyrics!"
—Every songwriter who ever lived

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Not-So-Gentle Tamer Is Up And Flagstaff Is Wet And Cold!

July 28, 2013
  Kathy and I drove up to Prescott Valley on Saturday morning for the official unveiling of "Not-So-Gentle Tamer." They had a band, the Arizona Rangers were there along with several mayors. We all got a chance to talk and then they unveiled that beautiful 10-foot-tall woman:

That's me, looking up her skirt, in the back. We then posed for a ton of photos:

With each of us taking a lap around the base. She's in a great location and she'll be there for a long, long time.

Not-So-Gentle Tamer at Prescott Valley Civic Center

From Prescott Valley we drove over Mingus Mountain, stopping at the Methodist Church Camp which I attended in 1957 and wanted to see again (mess hall still there). Then down to Jerome for wine and coffee at the Flat Iron Cafe, then off to Clarkdale where I bought a book on Route 66, and over to Sedona and up Oak Creek Canyon (huge traffic jam coming down from Slide Rock into town but we were going the other way). Temperature dropped dramatically as we headed up the canyon and by the time we hit the top it was in the seventies. Landed at the historic Weatherford Hotel in downtown Flagstaff.

I stayed at this hotel in August of 1959 when the Kingman Little League All Stars came to Flag for the Northern Arizona Little League Championship. Unfortunately, the first day we were there, my roommate Chuck P. threw a water balloon off the balcony of our room and hit a business couple wearing suits walking below. They raised hell (the woman was drenched) and they got us kicked out. We ended up on Route 66 at the Commercial Hotel.

So I hadn't been back since then, but I figured enough time had passed that I might get away with it. Checked in and went to our room and discovered this on the night stand.

So needless to say, I think the Statue of Limitations has applied in my case.

The best part about our stay (besides revisiting the scene of the crime) was the rain that dropped in about 5:30 and it was COLD! Went to the bar for margaritas, but had to go to our room and retrieve a SWEATER! I could barely pack the damn thing in Cave Creek because it was 95 at eight A.M. but I thought, what the hell. I was glad to have it.

Walked over the Orpheum Theatre where they were featuring a free show with Navajo Hip Hop.

That was wild. Watched a Navajo kid painting an old Dine character and the kid was quite good, and he did about five different versions of the portrait, adding and changing shapes and forms very quickly by painting over the face. I wanted to shake him, hit him over the head and tell him to stop, but Kathy wouldn't let me. She told me to be positive so I approached him and said, "You have just completed five different paintings and they are all good." Like most Navajos he was shy but appreciative, but I felt like I wimped out and didn't give him the truth he needed to hear, but on some level I suppose the message was really meant for me.

"When you see something in someone else that you yourself do, it can be very intolerable. This is called projection."
—Sigmund Freud

Friday, July 26, 2013

Those Crazy Cozads

July 26, 2013

Very muggy this morning. Went for a walk at 6:30 and it started sprinkling. Lots of thunder and lightning, all of which was getting closer. Got back to the house about 6:51 and just as I cleared the studio door, down it came. Really a gully washer. So I dodged that bath.

Bailed right into a spot illustration for my next Classic Gunfight: "The Unlikely Son of A Gunfighter."

Daily Whipout, "Alfred Pearson Gets A Mouthful of Lead"

   The fight took place on October 14, 1882 and was over John J. Cozad's hay fields north of town and him accusing Pearson of letting his cattle in among the hay. Cozad threatened to sue and Pearson confronted him at the Bee Hive General Store and someone said the word 'liar" and the fight was on. One of the eye-witnesses (the guy in the overalls in back) said Pearson punched Cozad, knocking him into an empty dry goods box and then pounced on him with both fists (and he even tried kicking him). I found a photograph of a dry goods box from the Alaskan Gold Rush and poached the lettering. It actually said this: Store in a cool, dry place," which I think is a Tom Petty song as well. Ha.

   So I'm doing research on the Cozad family and they are a crazy bunch (one of them is allegedly a pyro maniac). Robert kept a diary and I found his 1880 entries, including this little gem, written when the budding artist was 15:

Trouble With the Cattle Men
   “I have been in Nebraska long enough to know that these cattle men will promise to move off premices (sic) immediately, in a most polite manner and then never make a move to do it.

   “When I had got to the press they had shone no signs of leaving, so pa, who had just arrived struck off to the herd. When I saw him going I struck off after him. Prince [his dog], seeing the cattle, and seeing that pa was going toward them, struck off ahead, and stopped when he had come within a few steps of the cattle and the cow-boy I had first seen—there was about a dozen cow-boys in all—When Pa rode up he told the man that these cattle must be drove off. The man acted impudent and then the Boss Herder rode up and pa told him that he must move off immediately. The Boss said that he was going to do so but showed no signs of doing it.

A Little Excitement
   "Pa then commenced driving the cattle himself, and Prince, thinking it time to commence darted at the cattle and drove them about a quarter of a mile, meanwhile the hearders (sic) yelled, swore and darted after the herd.

   “Kill the dog!” cried the Boss.

   “Don’t dare to kill that dog—he is my dog—he is on my lands!” yelled pa several times.

   "The herders dashed after the herd and the 1st herder—or the one I had first seen drew (sic) his revolver and fired—not at Prince but to make a show of bravo. As we afterwards came to the conclusion—it was a breathless moment to us till we saw Prince unhurt running to us. Pa and I had remained where we were while all  this was going on."

The Herder, and the Boss
   "After the herders had prevented the cattle from making a stampede the 1st herder came toward us as we thought to make a fuss.

   "He rode up by us and said something—in a serly (sic) manner—about his bosses being a gentleman, and then commenced in a bullying talk. Pa told him that he wanted nothing to say to him, but if his boss had anything to say let him come on ad say it. The man grumbled and muttered, and acted very bad. He got a coat from the ground near us and putting it on started away muttering. Pa told him that his words had no bearing on him and the Texan rode off after the herd. They went up along the road but not off the hay field so pa sent me to tell them to go along the road. The Boss was as oily and polite as ever, and did as I told him.

   "Later pa saw him in town and he was the same way. Pa told him that if he gave him any trouble he would prosecute him for shooting at the dog. The man gave us no further trouble.”

End of diary entry: this was written almost two years before the tragic incident with Pearson and shows the senior Cozad was quite willing to protect his hay field with threats of force AND a lawsuit. I don't have room to run all of this in the article so this is a treat just for you.

"Roger's been doing a lot of painting. Well, he does a lot of looking at his canvas and swearing."
—Julie Corman, on her husband, Roger Corman (yes, the King of Camp Movies) and his recent attempts at painting

Thursday, July 25, 2013

King of the Covers Joe Grandee

July 25, 2013
   Kathy is in Pasadena babysitting our grandson and I am scrambling to finish our big art issue. Going to be a barn burner. Got some great imagery, like this cool shot of the legendary Joe Grandee (The Cover King: he has done 24 True West covers, and counting):

Joe Grande black powder shooting on his Circle JG Ranch in Colorado back in the day.

   I've been interviewing the Master painter almost every day, over the phone, for the past week. Great guy, full of wonderful stories and cool painting techniques. I've actually learned a few things just by osmosis. Ha.

   Went home for lunch and whipped out a little study of John Jackson Cozad geting cold-cocked by Alfred Pearson in front of the Bee Hive General Store on October 14, 1882.

Daily Whipout, "Cozad Gunfight Study"

   Came back to work and received a better photo from the expert on the gunfight, Jan Patterson at the Cozad museum, which alters how I will illustrate the building. There were also several more eye-witnesses to the deadly affray and I'll include them in the final as well.

So, how did I discover this little gem called Cozad? Short answer: road trip.

"We're all the descendants of travelers."
—William Least Heat-Moon, on why the road book is an American phenom

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Not-So-Gentle Unveiling This Weekend

July 24, 2013
   Lots of last minute jamming on our big Art Issue. Spent all day fighting fires on cutlines and sidebars, headlines and bylines. Crazy and complicated but my kind of fun, actually. Robert Ray just walked in and showed me the final layout on a Lone Ranger Autopsy where we asked you the readers what you thought of the film (66% of you loved it) and then asked our cranky contributors what they thought. I think you'll be amused by the difference in numbers.

   This Saturday morning is the big unveiling of the Not-So-Gentle Tamer statue honoring our grandmothers. Here's an article on the event:

Not-So-Gentle Tamer Unveiling

"When in doubt, mumble; when in trouble, delegate; when in charge, ponder."
—James H. Boren

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Whipping Post

July 23, 2013
  Went home for lunch and finished the Daily Whipout I started this morning:

Had some good things going here, not perfect, but some areas are very bold:

Daily Whipout: "Rain Rider With Blood On His Hands"

   Got some decent stuff going on the horse's butt, but ruined the damn hat. I had it, messed with it to make it better and turned it into a moss covered brim.

   Oh, and thanks to Mad Coyote Joe for giving me the title "Whipping Post" which I plan on using on Thanks Joe!

"The sketch hunter moves through life as he finds it, not passing negligently the things he loves, but stopping to know them, and to note them down in the shorthand of his sketchbook.”
—Robert Henri

A Daily Whipout In Progress

July 23, 2013
    Recently, I had a neighbor of mine say to me, "You don't really do those 'whipouts' in one day, do you?" I thought it was an odd thing to say, especially since he had been a visitor to my studio and actually witnessed how I work (he could clearly see the stacks and stacks of unfinished whipouts that I draw from every day).

   Most of the time I do, in fact, whip them out in one day. Often it takes two sittings: I will start a painting when I get up, go to work, then come home and finish it at lunch, so yes, I still whipped it out in one day. But, that said, there are paintings I start that just won't fall in one day. For example, this morning I attacked this little study in progress:

Daily Whipout In Progress: "Storm Rider Rides Around Storm"

   I did the sky in one sitting last weekend. Added the ground the next day, then this morning decided to add a storm rider and found an old photo of a cowboy in a corral facing away. Started with the rear hock, or leg (emulating Dali who insists we start the human figure at the toe and work up, and never start at the head which is the place your left brain tells you to go). But, of course, even with this method I had to stop at the hat and give it a good once over. Ha. It's the most advanced part of the painting. Ha.

   I'm laying in the lights on top of the sky and will work from light to dark at lunch today. Still, I believe it qualifies as a whipout, don't you think?

"Frankly, there isn't anyone you couldn't learn to love once you've heard their story."
—Mr. Rogers, who allegedly carried this quote from a social worker, in his pocket at all times

Monday, July 22, 2013

Excuse Me While I Whip This Out

July 22, 2013
   Got up this morning and whipped out a little study illustrating John J. Cozad confronting Al Pearson in a hay field outside of Cozad, Nebraska:

Threats were exchanged (Cozad owed Pearson wages for the building of a sod damn over a year-and-a-half before). This confrontation would escalate until one of them, below, got a bullet in the mouth, that exited his ear:

Daily Whipout: "Al Pearson, from a photograph, c. 1881"

Big monsoon blew in on Saturday night. Pictures and video to follow.

"Drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty."
—William Archer

Friday, July 19, 2013

Bad Decisions In Halter Tops

July 19, 2013
   Usually, on Friday mornings, Kathy and I look in the newspaper at the movies coming out this week and see if there's anything we want to see. Like most couples, I assume, we trade choices: one week she chooses the movie and I choose the restaurant afterwards. This morning Kathy was trying to sell me on a new horror film (not my fave genre) that got four stars and she was reading me the review. The reviewer was talking about the cliches in haunted house movies where there are invariably characters who make "bad decisions in halter tops." This cracked me up and so I wrote that at the top of my sketch pad:

Daily Whipouts: "Bad Decisions In Halter Tops"

   I was also perusing a big, Noir book I own which is full of juicy, classic Noir movie posters and so, the juices started flowing and up pops Rita Hayworth (top left) and a few other halter topped femme fatales from my clip file.

   Just prior to this, I had been noodling 1940s gats and caps worn by Noir cops and came up with these two sketches:

Daily Whipouts: "Gats, Gams & Pleated Pants"

   Looks like we decided to go see a movie I had to sign a release for when they were filming it.

The producers wanted to use a True West magazine in one of the character's apartment, and I assume it is the Jeff Bridges character who has a Buffalo Bill vibe. Details tomorrow.

"Common sense is not so common."

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wait For Me, Wild Bill!

July 18, 2013
   Went home for lunch and whipped out a little matt painting for a Kingman postcard we are producing for The 66 Kid project.

Daily Whipout: "Wait for me, Wild Bill!"

This painting will go behind this lettering:

In order to emulate this kind of composite postcard:

"Ah, too clever by half."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Jingles vs. Tonto

July 18, 2013
  Almost two months ago (May 20) I made a vow to do six drawings every morning before I check email. As we all know, checking email is very addictive and so this is a strong motivator to get going on sketching. Sometimes this leads to an odd assortment of ideas and sketches, like this page from yesterday:

Daily Whipouts: "Big Daddy Roth and The Tale of the Tail Fins"

   But this morning I hit on something with the random sketching. At the top of the page I wrote down the first phrase that came into my head at 5:30 a.m. Then I started a sketch of Kingman's favorite son galloping across the Mohave County landscape saying his signature line from the old TV Western Wild Bill Hickok. Grabbed a mining book and honed in on a grainy shot of a mining main street in Nevada around the turn of the Twentieth Century.

   As I was noodling the sketch of Black Horse (great town name!) I got to thinking about how when I was a kid, these old, wooden towns still existed. They were leaning wrecks and probably from the 1940s, not the 1900s, but they looked like this. Temporary buildings, barely scratching the surface of the tough land. And then, with a dozen years of rain and wind and enough dry holes, the buildings started to disappear, until nothing was left except a few foundations (White Hills and Charleston come to mind).

   When I had that sketched in, I returned to the old Wild Bill Hickok TV show and Jingles and how far we've come from there, but in a way, not very far. I thought of the new Lone Ranger and the twist on Tonto being the brains of the outfit (Johnny Depp's take on the character) and I thought to myself, the more things change, the more they remain the same.

   What was disappearing in my youth (TV Westerns and Old West Ghost Towns) is now disappearing in another guise (Hey, print is a leaning wreck!). The Black Horse townsite is not that much different than the Kingman I grew up in. Every time I go home another building is gone, or is leaning towards oblivion. And in another dimension, the oldtime, fat sidekick follows the hero and in another, the sidekick leads. Hi Yo Silver, indeed.

"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
—Mark Twain


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Face to Face Gunfights

July 16, 2013
   Cooler, but muggy, high nineties (which qualifies as a cold spell in these parts). Actually got a six inch rain last night (one drop every six inches).

   Working on a big piece for True West magazine on the myth vs. reality of face to face gunfights. It started with a question from a friend of mine, Kevin Mulkins:

"Over lunch today Roy brought up the possible/probable myth of the stand in the street, fast draw shoot-out in the Old West and if there really were any shoot-outs like that that are documented."
—Kevin Mulkins

   First of all, I must say it has become quite popular in recent years to dismiss the stand-up shootout as a total Hollywood invention. Sometimes, experts will admit that the Wild Bill Hickok vs. Dave Tutt shootout is the prototype for the classic face off, but then they'll go on to say that other than this exception it never happened. Well, it's true there were no "fast draw shoot-outs" where one gunfighter let the other go first, BUT the face off in the street gunfight was much more prevalent than is given credit for. I think we can name and illustrate at least 25 stand up, face to face gunfights. And we're working on the list even as you read this.

   I sent this out to all my gun fighting experts and got quite a list from the usual suspects. And, I got one I had never heard about:

"Also don't forget that big shootout in Hot Springs, Arkansas, March 16, 1899, between city police and deputy sheriffs.  3 lawmen were slain.   You can see a Wikipedia entry here:"
Hot Springs Shootout

—John Boessenecker

  Now THAT is a gunfight! Lawmen vs. lawmen, Crazy amazing.

"The facts are always less than what really happened."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Monday, July 15, 2013

Honkytonk Noir And 30 Framed Daily Whipouts

July 15, 2013
   I mentioned finding a page layout from an unpublished Honkytonk Sue episode (The Man Canyon) where I tried to evoke a Western Noir vibe. This is on Old School layout board (the yellow is rubber cement gone amber glow).

I actually called the Cave Creek Sheriff's Department and made an appointment with a deputy to pose for me. The woman outside the chicken house is Cave Creek artist Judy Darbyshire's mother.

   Last week I had Michael Feldman of The Frame And Art Center in Phoenix matte and frame 30 of my Daily Whipouts. Here's just a tiny corner of them in Carole Glenn's office:

Really some sweet little gems in here. Two in particular were mightily enhanced by Michael's matting choices:

At left is a study for "An In-din On An Indian In In-din Country" and on right is a so-so study of an Apache warrior that really pops with the yellow matte.

"Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Western Noir, Dusk Drivers, Pamela Anderson and Heroic Stances

July 14, 2013
   Worked a bit over the weekend on heroic stances:

Yes, that's Pamela Anderson, lower right. From here I noodled a sequence born of some old Western Noir pages (actually scenes from an unpublished Honkytonk Sue episode) I found while cleaning in the garage last week:

And extrapolating from these sketches I decided to try a color version of the the top scene:

Daily Whipout: "Desert Dusk Driver"

Got a couple more skies in the works and I'll share those tomorrow.

"I just don't trust car dealerships without a gigantic inflated gorilla in front."

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Slobs And Dolls

July 13, 2013
  Last Thursday evening, I met Kathy at The Talking Stick Resort which is an Indian casino on the res, just east of Scottsdale. She had spent the afternoon with her girlfriends in nearby Mesa and one of them, Lori, was dropping Kathy off at the valet entrance where I was meeting her for the Jim Gaffigan concert.

  I got there first and sat on a bench outside the main entrance. It was quite warm, but there was a breeze and It was shaded and I kind of enjoyed the dry air for a change. I watched the parade of casino goers pull up and hand off their rides to the valet guys (a job I did myself one summer at Turf Paradise, where I actually parked Jimmy Durante's Caddie!).

  I soon began to notice all the couples coming to see Jim Gaffigan and I was immediately struck by a weird mash-up that at first I thought was an exception, but after the 12th couple, I realized is probably the new norm (full disclosure: I don't get out much). What I witnessed is young women in very high heels, dolled up (as my dad would say), while the guy she was with was wearing a rumpled, ratty t-shirt, shorts and FLIP-FLOPS! Okay, a few had on grubby running shoes, but man did it look goofy!

 Now, granted, when it's 110 out we Zonies have long ago given up trying to dress stylishly in the heat, although I myself was wearing Wranglers, a short-sleeved shirt and my felt dress hat. After all, this was an evening out, a date if you will, and at a fancy casino ballroom.

Slobs And Dolls
When Kathy arrived we walked inside and encountered the long line to get into the ballroom and now that I was aware I started looking at all the couples. There were 1,600 people, almost entirely dates and not one of the guys with the dolls made any attempt at looking like he cared. I would venture a guess that it was about half flip flops and half running shoes, and 75% ratty t-shirts. It was shocking to see the woman with her hair styled, a mini-skirt on and extreme high heels (Kathy tells me this is all the go now) and then to be walking next to a guy who looked like he came from a homeless shelter, is just crazy wrong in my book. But then I have issues with other well dressed Americans as well (see quote, below).

"Attention Walmart Shoppers: dress for the body you have, not the body you want."

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Unlikely Son of A Gun And Sunset at Coyote Pass

July 12, 2013
   I'm working on a crazy little gunfight that happened in Cozad, Nebraska in October of 1882 and the outcome of the fight spawned an art career that is kind of mind boggling. The short version is John Cozad was a gambler and land promoter who shot and killed a cattleman. The dad fled the state, then he and the entire family changed their names and virtually all of them went on to be pretty amazing successes. The son is one of my art heroes and I never dreamed he was "The Unlikely Son of A Gun."

Daily Whipout, "The Son of A Gun"

   Whipped out a little study of Coyote Pass before I came into work today. This is Coyote Pass in the day of Captain Hardy (1860s) when he made it a toll road. Hardyville on the Colorado River was named for him.

Daily Whipout, "Sunset at Coyote Pass"

Kathy treated me to a Jim Gaffigan concert at Talking Stick Resort last night. We paid $65 for our tickets and it was sold out in a 1,600 venue. You do the math. He also did a book signing afterward, which seems to be a trend by comedians with books. Gaffigan was hilarious of course. Love his observations and he opened with the spelling of Phoenix and Tucson (the latter where he played the night before) and he did five minutes on an old cowboy saying, "Nope, I want it spelled like that. Don't care if it makes no sense." Just crazy amazing that he could do that just with his voice, that is, make it so damn funny. He then riffed on fry bread (he claims he saw a cafe with that sign on it on the way up to Phoenix) and he made that hilarious as well. "Okay, we know that bread is not good for you, so let's FRY IT!"

"Before we set our hearts too much upon anything, let us examine how happy those are who already possess it."
—Francois Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Gas Crack of Low Pants Vance

July 11, 2013
   My daily regimen is to get up at 6:30 and whip out six sketches before I check email. This morning I noodled a couple old memories of growing up on Route 66.

Daily Whipout: The Butt Crack of Low Pants Vance Filling His Y Block Ford With Ethyl.

I am a big fan of Rembrandt's cross hatching techniques and have always leaned in that direction in my black and whites. Got up this morning and whipped out this little study of The 66 Kid deep in a canyon (near the Diamond Bar):

I wanted to say this is Clacks Canyon, but it's too damn big, so, perhaps it's near the Diamond Bar?

"Part of the magic of shadowing the Old Trails along Route 66 is the spine-tingling sensation of following along parallel to the phantoms of the past."
—Old Armchair Highway Historian

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Legends of The Road, Part II

July 10, 2013
  Working on Legends of the Road when romance surrounded The Great American Road Trip. But even at that time there was a holdover from the 1940s, old miners and forties cars still banging across old trails by which the pioneers carved out the roads which augered the future of car travel in the United States.

And I sketched Floyd Cisney again, but still don't quite have his likeness.

Mouth isn't quite right, but this led me to seek out Maynard Dixon and his sparse design, which helped me approach the concept from a different direction:

"It was the West, the real great, free, open West we had come to see. . .ranches, cowboys, Indians, not little cities like sample New Yorks."
—Emily Post, 1916, "By Motor to The Golden Gate"

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Legends of the Road: Floyd Cisney of the Arizona Highway Patrol

July 9, 2013

   Worked this weekend on a few studies to illustrate Legends of the Road: larger than life characters who made their mark on Route 66.

Daily Whipout: Sgt. Floyd Cisney of the Arizona Highway Patrol at Coyote Pass

Nailed the pass but missed the Sgt. completely (see below for Mister Completely). Worked on more sketches this morning.

The image of Floyd at bottom, left is of him when he was older and the sheriff of Mohave County, but thanks to a Facebook friend, I located a younger photo of the patrolman and will attack that tomorrow. Yes, Floyd was responsible for more collars in terms of stolen cars than any other patrolman in the state. Meanwhile, also working on the rods of the time, like the famous "Uncertain-T" and the dudes who drove them, like the legendary Low Pants Vance:

Daily Sketches: Low Pants Vance and the Uncertain-T model T.

Ha. Pun-inflicted car names were the order of the day. Ed Mell always reminds me of a Phoenix rod named "Mister Completely", as in "Well, that's one doll I'll never nail." The '32 Roadster is from The Rodder's Journal, a high end glossy magazine Dan "The Man" Harshberger subscribes to and loaned me. Amazing how much money is in these cars. It's a dying art, though. I read in the New York Times kids today not only do not have a love of cars, but less and less even have driver's licenses, or even want one.

On my drive back from Cal two weeks ago I came the back way through Victorville, Apple Valley and a highway called Old Woman Springs Road. Really captivated me and I sketched an old pickup going across there when I got home:

Daily Sketches: Old Woman Springs Road and old guys shootin' the breeze at a Chevron Station in Scottsdale, circa 1948. It's from a photo. Love their stance and posture as they take turns telling lies. I've seen this many times growing up. Long gone now, but the memories remain. Hey, dig the '57 Ford Crown Victoria at bottom, left. Whipped out with a minimum of strokes and yet, there it is.

"I long to be gone like never before."
—Gustav Klimt, hot and tired and dying to get out of Vienna

Monday, July 08, 2013

Train Wrecks & Moist Road Apples

July 8, 2013
     As the dust clears from the July 4th weekend we find out The Lone Ranger made a weak $48.9 mil compared with the no. 1 movie Despicable Me 2 @ $142.1 mil. The Lone Ranger is also doing poorly overseas as well and it appears to insiders (The Hollywood Reporter) the Lone Ranger will perhaps make it to $100 mil (it cost north of $250 mil), which, if true, would make it an even bigger bomb than Cowboys & Aliens ($250 mil).

   Meanwhile, several reviews point out some of the faults of the film:

"When the film first brings together Tonto, Silver and the newly deputized Texas Ranger who will become our nominal hero, there’s a sequence with Tonto leading the horse and the unconscious Ranger unceremoniously dragging behind. Then the horse stops to pass excrement — before dragging the future Lone Ranger’s head right through the pile of poop.

There, in a nutshell, is the movie’s attitude toward its source material. I’m reminded of the penguin pooping on Jim Carrey’s face in the also deplorable Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Here is a dismal rule of thumb: When a Hollywood adaptation of a family story involves the hero’s beloved animal pooping on his head, it’s a sign that the filmmakers are not lovers of their material."

Here's a review from NPR that also rings true:

"The director's been saying his Lone Ranger is a sort of Don Quixote as seen through the eyes of a demented Sancho Panza, and as with that tale of a knight tilting at windmills, there's social commentary everywhere you look in this adventure. The script fancies itself a critique of capitalism, a manifesto on manifest destiny, and a saga about silver mines and the slaughter of Native Americans.

All very admirable, if not a great fit for scenes that involve Depp communing with snaggle-toothed cannibal bunny rabbits and taking a runaway train ride or six."

"When I drag your favorite character's head through moist road apples, I am betting you will love it!"
—The Disney Suits Who May Not Have Suits Much Longer

Down With Indians

July 8, 2013
 Woke up this morning thinking about the Top Secret Writer's take on The Lone Ranger going down in flames this past weekend:

"The western film, by its very nature, is weighed down with historicity. It is inescapable even in fantasy westerns. However, you dont have to front load your film with it by adding Custer clones and gatling gun massacres of innocent Indians."
—The Top Secret Writer

  It dawned on me the reason Hollywood writers go there—Custer related cavalry atrocities—is because they want to show they are down with Native Americans. Down, as in, solid with the brothers. From their point of view, to not acknowledge the genocide and tell a story of the West is morally wrong. Okay, we've been on that theme for about forty years now and at some point we need to get past it. Can we? Well, I have to give a shoutout to Quentin Tarrantino, who has done just that as it relates to slavery and the N-word with Django Unchained. Talk about going into the teeth of a taboo subject. And you even have a black villain: Samuel L. Jackson as the House N-person (see, I don't have the courage or the balls to go where Quentin and Louis CK go. Brave, brave guys). And isn't it ironic that they are brave but that cooking gal lost her entire career over the word. I haven't heard her transgression so I don't have the context, but if she told a joke with the N-word in it, I can play you entire routines of Louis CK where he says it over and over, until, well, until it loses its sting, which is his point, I believe.

Anyway, isn't it racist to judge whether a person can use certain words based on the color of their skin?

  I am down with Indians, but the living, breathing kind. The ones who are petty, savage, talented and hilarious. You know, real people.

"Yes, Indians were savage. They just met a tribe who was more savage than they were."
—Old Anglo Philosopher

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Custer Clones & Gatling Guns: the Lone Ranger Goes Down In Flames

July 7, 2013
  Just saw that The Lone Ranger finished a distant second behind Despicable Me at the box office this weekend. Not good and unfortunately puts it in the same time zone as Cowboys & Aliens in terms of success (good, but not nearly good enough).

  When I walked out of the sneak preview last Monday I saw a movie reviewer I know who bemoaned the broaching of the subject of genocide in the film and wondered aloud why the movie makers didn't ignore all of that and do, as he put it, "Dudley Do-Right." I commented that about half the time they did, but unfortunately, they couldn't resist the topic.

  Here is the response from a certain friend of mine who hates to be quoted, but nonetheless is ever so quotable:

"The western film, by its very nature, is weighed down with historicity. It is inescapable even in fantasy westerns. However, you dont have to front load your film with it by adding Custer clones and gatling gun massacres of innocent Indians. Well, at least they grossed more than John Carter--which also opened with a 7th Cavalry/Indian scene. Your friend was right--it should have been Dudley Do-Right with Depp along for humor. Guess the stupid outfit didnt work. Oh well."
—The Top Secret Writer

Peckasso Goes Down Fighting

July 7, 2013
  Just got the word that my muse Peckasso was killed last night defending his two hens and baby chicks (he was a new proud father of three little baby chicklets). Tom Augherton's father heard a horrendous scream last night at 11:30 and went to the door to see a raccoon in a fight with a big rooster, right outside his door (which is about 50 yards from the coop). Sensing another predator, the raccoon broke off from Peckasso and made a run at the senior Augherton (he's 90), who went back inside and locked the door (he also had a cat in his arms). Realizing he was not going to have to compete for dinner, the raccoon went back on the hunt for Peckasso.

  Tom had built a strong fence around the coop but he left the egg laying door unlocked to the coop and the raccoon managed to open this door (still not an easy task for an animal) and got inside. Peckasso fought for his family and got the intruder outside where the running fight ended on the hillside that slopes up to our house.

  The baby chicks and hens are fine. This morning my rooster crowed all morning, expecting an answer from down the hill, but none came.

  As some of you may know, Peckasso was a frustrated watercolorist (that's how he got his name). He spent several weeks studying with me and I still maintain he could have made a good watercolorist but he seemed to want to peck at the brushes more than concentrate on his painting skills.

"Like all artists, Peckasso was frustrated and had a bad temperament when it came to the ladies, but we still liked him even though he attacked our entire family any time we tried to go near the coop."
—Tom Augherton

Saturday, July 06, 2013

A Subdued But Good Day at The Prescott Rodeo Parade

July 6, 2013
  A bit somber today in Prescott because of the loss of our 19 firefighters, but still a great rodeo parade and the streets were lined with the best people you are ever going to meet.

Lee Anderson aboard Concho in front of the True West Stretch Taxi Cab at the staging area for the Prescott Rodeo Parade.

  Got up at 5:30 and met my neighbor Tom Augherton at six to make the hike up the hill in my Ford Flex. This is the view across the street on Ratcliff Ridge:

Got to the staging area at 7:45 and met the crew, including Lee Anderson aboard Concho, his thoroughbred trained cow horse who is always a hit in the parade.

Rained on the way back and it was delightful. Big drops, warm and heaven sent. Great smells. Had lunch at Lef-Tees Steakhouse in Dewey, then dropped back into the furnace. Big day, had fun.

After a swim to cool off, Kathy and I went through our photo albums of the kids trying to see who exactly Weston looks like. Here is the boy last week, mere minutes after his birth on June 24th:

And here is Weston's uncle at about the same age:

I think it's the mouth. Very interesting. yes, this is Thomas Charles right after he was born in January of 1983.

"Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Friday, July 05, 2013

The Lone Ranger In The Rear View Mirror

July 6, 2013
  "It's so offensive that Johnny Depp portrays a Pirate. Couldn't they have gotten a REAL pirate?"

  That's how ridiculous the criticism of "white guy" Depp playing the Native American Tonto sounds to me. Second of all, the comments and reviews of the new Lone Ranger are pouring in (most of them scathing) and I've got an icky feeling about it all. Mainly because I ripped and nitpicked the movie myself when, in fact, I actually enjoyed the dang thing. True, it's too long and it has a bit of a problem trying to figure out what it is, but overall it's a hell-of-a fun ride.

  True, I still hate the hats, but even that seems like a shallow nitpick as I look in the rear-view-mirror only to see myself and a bunch of other bone-headed rips on the movie: "The insignia is wrong on the cavalry uniforms!"  'The guns are wrong for 1867!" "A Commanche never wore headgear like that!" "Mountain Native Americans are taller than that!"

  "No pirate EVER had a parrot on his shoulder!" I don't know if that's true or not, but I imagine, on some level, it is. And, anyway, that's how we sound when we blast the details in a Western. We sound like a bunch of cranky old farts with too much time on our hands.

"The difference between night and day."
—An old Texas cowboy on the set of The Searchers when asked how authentic the movie is

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Little Casino and Tunstall Murder Site

July 3, 2013
   Filled another trash bin (no. 6) with reference materials this morning. Saved a handful of things, including a photo of Little Casino:

Little Casino (Billy the Kid): inscription says, "To Bob—Thanks for all the great novels you have written about me. Your faithful servant. Little Casino"

I also couldn't bring myself to throw away a Montgomery Ward page of 1950s bikes, my two fave waitresses at El Sarape in Quemado, New Mexico (Irene and Terri), a ref. photo of me posing as 2-Lane (a comic book character I created in the 80s) and a hand drawn map of the Tunstall murder site (drawn by Fred Nolan?).

Here is a better scan of the Tunstall murder site map:

I realized upon finding this treasure of map that we haven't done the Tunstall murder as a Classic Gunfight. So, I'm going to send this to Gus Walker and get this in the mix. Hard work throwing away all these treasures, but I just want to save my kin from having to deal with as little of my crap as i can manage.

"Set up as an ideal the facing of reality as honestly and as cheerfully as possible."
—Karl Menninger