Friday, January 31, 2014

Breaking Bed

January 31, 2014
   Home stretch on Signature Five of "The 66 Kid." We've got The Mapinator, Gus Walker hard at it with a four spread take on all the businesses on Route 66 going through Kingman in the classic period, 1955-1965. Lots of rare photos, including this one:

Goodwin Pool at McConnico, below Kingman, 1949.

    Notice the kids jumping in the pool, just over wall, at right. Also, one kid is sun bathing on the wall, at left end of wall. The sign across the highway says, "Protect Your Car" and appears to be a gas station advertisement. Just beyond those jagged buttes in the background is Perfume Pass.

   Meanwhile, whipped out this little True West Moment this morning before coming into work:

Daily Whipout: "Men From Music Mountain"

   I'm also working on a piece, "Five Babysitters Who Changed My Life." This is one of them:

My babysitter in Kingman, 1949: "Mrs. Holmes"

   Buns just called me and corrected several omissions on our Route 66 street map of Kingman. I left out the City Cafe (not sure how that happened), plus the Antler Garage, which his father ran. Oh, and the Platter, owned by Mr. Moline's family (Mr. Moline being a popular fifth grade teacher).

Breaking Bed
   Buns also told me a story I had forgotten. When we went to the State Little League Tournament in Phoenix (1959) we stayed at the Palomine Inn on west Van Buren and one of the coaches, Mr. Baxter, sat us down and told us we could have fun but "absolutely no jumping on the beds." He wasn't gone five minutes and we broke every bed in the place.

"I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals."
—Winston Churchill

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Familiar Tangent

January 29, 2014
  Going through my mother's scrapbooks I am amazed at the coverage she has. In the first four signatures of "The 66 Kid" I wrote about memories of my baby sitter Mrs. Holmes in Kingman and Lippo Asmus in Iowa. I wrote about almost drowning in the stock tank on my grandfather's farm. I talked about learning to ride a bike on Andy Upsall's lawn in Swea City and I talked about the gang I formed and the guys in my gang. My mother has photos of every single thing I just mentioned! Just to give you a taste, here I am with my grandfather standing next to the deadly stock tank:

Bottom photo shows me and my grandpa in livestock pen and the stock tank I went into head first, is at right. The top photo is of Carl, Minnie and their youngest son Glenn, who was the first Bell to make it to California, believe it or not. He and his new wife, Claudia, landed in Long Beach and he taught and was in the school system for many years there.

   Another cool photo is of our first house in Kingman, which is somewhere downtown and according to my mother's note it's May of 1947.

The note at bottom says, "The car Daddie drove Robert in from Iowa to Arizona, May, 1947." Can't place the house but it an old rock house somewhere downtown and I think northwest of the courthouse. Wish I knew where it was.

   And here's more snow photos on the farm and a very rare photo of my dad pumping gas in Swea City at his Phillips 66:

That's my babysitter Mrs. Holmes at top and the piece de resistance is me dressed in a Mickey Mouse outfit for a Halloween contest in Swea City.

I had no idea she had saved this. Love the girl's name dressed as Minnie—Karma Johnson. I wonder where she is today. Shouldn't be that hard to find with that name.

   And moving a little closer to now, here is the crew at the Tangent Recording Studios in 1977. We were recording The Doperoper Radio Show with this crew and with William Edward Compton (not pictured).

In front Darlene Harshberger, Terry Townsend and Jan Prefontaine. Back row, L-R: BBB, Dan Harshberger, Roy Brown, Tom Scott and I can't remember the cat's name. A musician, of course.

"Time is my greatest enemy."
—Eva Peron

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Case of The Pee Pee Crazed Ring Bearer

January 28, 2014
   Uncovered a couple treasures this morning in the garage. I found several scrapbooks my mother kept, stored in plastic containers with snap lids, and believe it or not, those damn pack rats ate right through the plastic, but they didn't get to the actual photos. Crazy. Crazy lucky.

   Lots of coverage from the early days in Kingman and Iowa. Here's an example page:

   My grandfather's obit, plus plenty of Kingman Cowboys and a rare photo of my Aunt Patsy (upper right), who's full name was Ruby Irene "Patsy" Guess. She died after a brave fight with cancer on March 3, 1963. She was only 34-years-old. My mother kept very good notes and I realized some of my zeal for recording events on my blog, and in the magazine and in my books comes directly from her. So that was a sweet realization.

   I also found a couple oddities, like these Polaroids from a "divorce party" held at Kathy Radina's and Carole Glenn's house in 1978. Wonderful Russ divorced Terry Townsend and myself and, I must say, the former Mrs. Robert Bell, to this day, is my favorite ex-wife.

Divorce Zonie Style

   Here's a wedding photo from long ago that comes with a story:

The Pee Pee Crazed Ring Bearer

   This is the Field-Heldstedt Wedding at the Linden Lutheran Church outside Thompson, Iowa in 1949 or 1950. The ring bearer mortified the entire wedding party when, during rehearsal, he blurted out, "I gottah go PEE PEE!" and bolted down the aisle to his mother's side. Everyone was worried about the actual performance but evidently the little pisser held his own.

   I'm happy to say I don't blurt it out like that any more. Well, not in those exact words anyway.

"I gottah go see a man about a horse."

Monday, January 27, 2014

Uptight Boyfriends at The Snow Cap Drive-in

January 27, 2014
  I met Hans Olson at Janie's after work on Friday to jam on the soundtrack for "The 66 Kid." Hans and I go way back and he has the perfect, bluesy-rock touch for the sound I'm looking for. He asked me about certain lyrics I had sent him and what the significance was.

Mo-ped Mamas at the Snow-Cap Drive-in
Uptight boyfriends, 'Where the hell you been?'

  And, so, I told him. I predict it's all going to be Bitchin' with a capital B.

  Worked all weekend on Signature Five, lining out copy, illustrations and photos. Found early photos of the Radinas in Saginaw, Michigan and called Grandma Betty to interview her on when exactly they came to Arizona (August, 1958) and how she felt about the move: "Very traumatic."

  Here is the view this morning at Command Central.

Command Central for Sig #5, 6 a.m. at the breakfast table

   Check out those finished pages in yellow. Feels good. Only eight more to go. The photos at left, center are the Michigan photos of the Radinas, the sketchbook details notes on going to The Rainbow Ball in sixth grade, when the high school girls towered over me. The clipped True West Moment at upper right will appear in the book in Sig 12, the bio on Andy Devine, clipped from the Arizona Republic and written by John Stanley, will help me write my version of Jingles as a Legend of the Road, and an in progress roadscape twisting the horizon into a crazy vanishing point.

"The pay in Arizona in those days was terrible. We started running out of money so I got a job at Saint Joe's Hospital. I got my first paycheck for two weeks and it was for about $200, less than half of what I would have made in Michigan."
—Betty Radina

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Pat Garrett Selfie?

January 26, 2014
   We turned in the fourth signature on "The 66 Kid" last Friday. On schedule for completion on March 15. Still a ways to go, but so far so good. This weekend I'm working on Service With A Smile, Jugs Iced Free and, perhaps, my favorite segment Related to Outlaws, which I plan to excerpt in True West. Speaking of which, got this critique of my Pat Garrett Assassination painting in the current issue:

"BBB your painting of Garrett on page 23 looks like an unshaven selfie."
—Allen Fossenkemper

    Oh, crap. My worst fear. I spent a long time trying to get Garrett right, and this is the second person who has commented on this. Robert Ray being the first.

   Studied the film "Y Tu Mama Tambien" last night. The director Carlos Quaron uses excellent storytelling techniques for going sideways and backwards with narration. It's the second or third time I've watched the film and it gets better every time. It was also interesting to watch the making of doc because the film community in Mexico is quite small and quite rich. Carlos Quaron, the writer and director is also the dude who did "Gravity." One of the guys in his little Mexico community is Guillermo del Toro, who did Hellboy II, etc. and he is a genius as well. I'm reading his book, "Cabinet of Curiosities" which is full of excellent insights as well: "Always try to think about the opposite of your instinct. In between, you'll find the direction for everything. Color, light, monsters, acting. The first instinct, and then the complete opposite instinct, and then you decide, "I'll go with this."

"Any community that you get to know well, it's a small town. . .every little community is like Peyton Place once you get into it."
—Ethan Coen, describing the folk scene

Friday, January 24, 2014

Bad Boy BBB

January 24, 2014
   Finding old photos in the garage takes me back to a time when, well, I didn't quite know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Part of me wanted to be this guy:

BBB and Biker Babe Annie, 1968, Tucson, Arizona

   And then in 1975 I turned into this guy:

BBB with a woman he had relations with at that time. The only thing he regrets is the buscadero rig.

   And a couple years later, I grew the Mustache deal.

BBB in 1977 striking a Samuel Clemmons portrait pose.

   So, after all is said and done, what have I learned?

"Never film people outside at noon."
—Steven Bognar

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Moon's Flattop

January 23, 2014
   Went home for lunch and whipped out a little study I call "Moon's Flattop (Near Flattop Mesa)". If you are from Kingman, the reference is obvious, but if you are not, suffice to say Moon Nish is a legend and this is a tribute to him.

Daily Whipout, "Moon's Flattop (Near Flattop Mesa)"

"Waux-ha Ni-ni-ha."
—The only Hualapai I know which was taught to me by Moon (be careful, I think it's dirty)

Hair Raising Hair Pins On The Damn Boulder Dam Highway

January 23, 2014
   Thomas Charles has a birthday today. He is 31. Here he is with his grandfather, Allen P., on one of the Route 66 Fun Runs back in the early nineties. Picture was taken at Three Points (you can see three states, California, Nevada and Arizona) above Gold Road.

Allen P., Thomas Charles and the family '49 Ford

   Meanwhile, back to the 1955 train trip from Iowa to Kingman:

Hair Raising Hair Pins On The Boulder Damn Highway
   My grandmother Guess and her new husband Ernie Swafford met us at the Las Vegas Train Station in September of 1955. My mother had come for a two-week getaway from the snow and the sadness in Swea City. Ernie was a mysterious guy and claimed to have worked in "pictures." He smoked cigarettes in an FDR holder which made him look like a villain in a bad melodrama. He was always good to me but my mother didn't like him much. In her mind no one could replace her father.

The narrow cuts and steep grades on the approach to Boulder Dam (later styled as Hoover Dam).

   Anyway, Ernie was the designated driver on this trip. Unfortunately, he drove a stick shift in his GMC pickup, but he needed to borrow Bill Stockbridge's '55 Oldsmobile to come pick us up and drive us back to Kingman. Because of the foreign three-on-the-tree shifter on the Olds, Ernie struggled to shift and keep the car on the road and his cigarette in his mouth all at the same time. The upshot being we careened around all the narrow curves on the approach to Boulder Dam on the wrong side of the road. It was hair raising to say the least. He kept driving all over the road all the way across the dam and into Arizona. People were honking and screaming at us and pulling off to avoid a head on. It was one of the scariest road trips I have ever been on in my entire life. But, somehow, we made it to Kingman alive.

"I don't get ideas. I have them. The trick is to remember where I've put them."
—Brad Holland

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

More Cornfield Than Cowboy

January 22, 2014
   When we moved back to Arizona in 1956, I had completed the first three grades in Swea City, Iowa and although we made a couple of trips out to visit relatives in Kingman during that period (1950-55) I was pretty much raised, up to that point, on Iowa Farmer Time. Which is to say, The Land of Nice and Polite.

   So when we landed in Arizona I discovered my mother's cowboy relatives were a little wilder and rougher than anything I ever saw in the Midwest (or on TV Westerns for that matter). First of all, my mother had four sisters and they all attracted big, strapping cowboy types. And when they would come blasting in to my grandmother's house at Christmas there was a lot of cussing, smoking and loud talking. There wasn't a traditional Christmas tree. Oh, hell no—they had tumbleweeds piled up.

Wildcatter and heavy construction man, Bill Stockbridge, and, his then girlfriend, Patsy Guess, K-I-S-S-I-N-G at White Tanks, a makeout spot I later frequented myself.

Bob Guess on Shamrock, circa 1944

  I had two grandfathers, and both were quite influential in my life. One by his presence and one by his absence. My mother's father, Bob Guess, died unexpectedly, during an ulcer operation at Kingman Regional Hospital in 1945, the year before I was born. He was 55. I was named for him as was Patsy's son, Robert Jerl. I was referred to in the family as Robert Allen to avoid confusion. In spite of my Midwestern tendencies at that time, no matter where I went in Mohave County, cowboys and oldtimers would give me a pass for the simple reason I was Bob Guess's grandson. This was heavy stuff to a ten-year-old.

   Besides my grandfather, the hero of my mother's family was Billy Hamilton, Mary's only son. He was at that time on his way to becoming a World Champion Steer Roper. Here I am posing with him in the side yard of my grandmother's house. Oh, and he is tucking his boots in because, as he later put it, "I wanted to look like Toots Mansfield," a rodeo star of that era. This drove his father, Choc Hamilton, to distraction, because in those days to tuck in your boots was considered the height of Dudeness (it was actually bordering on Gayness, but that would just be wrong to say today).

Billy "Toots" Hamilton and BBB, 1956.

   I may be wearing cowboy clothes but, as you can clearly see, I'm looking more cornfield than cowboy.

“He who has daughters is always a shepherd.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

True Detective Meets True West

January 22, 2014
   Thanks to Carole Glenn, Kathy and I are watching the new HBO show "True Detective" and it's a really creative and edgy show. Kathy admits the skinny Mathew McConaghey (fresh off "Dallas Buyer's Club") resembles a certain, skinny Western nut she used to know:

One Skinny Kingman Buyer's Club Cartoonist

   Yes, found this in the pack rat condo over the weekend. I believe Ralph Rippe took this, or, perhaps it was Gary Boulanger, the New Times photographer back in the day.

  And speaking of New Times, I also found this photo of the staff in 1978, which was definitely taken by Gary Boulanger:

New Times Crew, Christmas 1978

   Considering how much we fought, we sure look happy. That's Jana Bommersbach on the right, and Mike Lacey, next to her, followed by Jim Larkin and two more I'm trying to track down in my dusty memory banks. It's funny, we fought in the trenches every day and here it is 34 years later and their names escape me. Eventually they all will fade into oblivion, which is part of the reason I'm doing the book. I know it's a fool's errand, but I still hope it comes off as a love letter of hope. It won't be perfect by any means, but that is always a false goal.

"In the end, perfection is just a concept—an impossibility we use to torture ourselve and that contradicts nature. We pursue it—God knows we have to, as artists—but ultimately, like [Friedensreigh] Hundertwasser says: 'A straight line is pure tyranny. In art, as in life, the love of imperfection is the perfect love.'"
—Guillermo del Toro, "Cabinet of Curiosities"

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Another Day Another $10,000 Painting

January 21, 2014
   When I was just a kid growing up in Kingman I knew I wanted to be an artist but I didn't know how you became one. I had this fantasy of how I would live my life and what I would do every day:

Daily Whipout: "Another Day, Another $10,000 Painting"

I've got the painting a day deal down, but, so far, I'm a little shy on the back end.

"The only people left in America who seem not to be artists are illustrators."
—Brad Holland

Monday, January 20, 2014

Tiny Caskets In The Snow

January 20, 2014
   Coming to a point in the story of The 66 Kid that I've been avoiding for some time. How do you write about something that happened in your family that no one wants to talk about? Never easy, but in my case I decided to take a little different route. Went home for lunch and finished a little painting I call "Tiny Caskets In The Snow."

"Tiny Caskets In The Snow"

   My mother lost two girls in Iowa and they are buried at Linden Cemetery southwest of Thompson, Iowa. The two events happened about a year apart but in my memory they are one.

"Tiny caskets in the snow. Who were those little girls we'll never know?"

Pack Rat Condo

January 20, 2014
  If it's not the Biebers (javalenas) it's pack rats. I had to sell the family '49 Ford because pack rats were eating the car to pieces, starting with the wiring in the engine and moving into the upholstery. I moved the heirloom from the outside garage to the inside garage (adjacent to the house) and it barely slowed them down. Now, I find they were launching their attacks on the '49 from a nearby condo with a view. Like an idiot, I stored my most precious family photos in a dresser drawers along the wall, never thinking pack rats could, or would, get in there. Boy, was I mistaken. When I got set to do The 66 Kid a couple months ago I went out to check on the photos and all three drawers were packed with cholla and debris.

  I cleaned out two of them over the weekend and found some gems that survived the onslaught, but just to give you an idea at how gross these little bastards are, here's the third drawer:

Pack Rat Decor

"The problem with the rat race is that even when you win, you're still a rat."
—Lilly Tomlin

First Hat

January 20, 2014
   Spent the weekend working on artwork for The 66 Kid, and also searching for my hidden stashes of photographs. The packrats got into a dresser drawer in the garage and when I went to look inside it was filled with cholla and debris the little bastards had tucked into their "condo" nest. Really disgusting and at first glance it appeared they had eaten all of the photos! I'm not kidding. I found a couple photos on the surface that had actual teeth bites taken out of them. Had to get a facemask to ward off the hantavirus, which actually killed a couple friends of mine. One was cleaning out a barn at Pagosa Springs and breathed in rat droppings and was dead in no time. In the other incident a friend of mine's mother passed away in El Paso. She and her husband went to take care of her estate and stayed in her house. Like a good son-in-law, her husband tried to clean up some of her mess and he came down with hantavirus and nearly died. Crazy stuff. Here's the online skinny on the air-borne illness:

Early symptoms include fatigue, fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle groups—thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders. These symptoms are universal.

There may also be headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. About half of all HPS patients experience these symptoms.

Late Symptoms

Late symptoms: lungs fill with fluid, shortness of breath
Four to 10 days after the initial phase of illness, the late symptoms of HPS appear. These include coughing and shortness of breath, with the sensation of, as one survivor put it, a "...tight band around my chest and a pillow over my face" as the lungs fill with fluid.

Is the Disease Fatal?
Yes. HPS can be fatal. It has a mortality rate of 38%.

   End of disease info. So, needless to say, I was wary AND worried that I had lost some of my most prized possessions. Virtually all of the cloth in the drawers (old T-shirts, etc.) were chewed up and destroyed, but in the debris were some gems that somehow survived, like this old photo of myself and my grandfather taken in about 1949 on the family farm:

 BBB and Grandpa Bell on The Bell Family Farm, 1949

I believe this is the first photo to show me with stylin' with a hat. It certainly won't be the last. In the old days, Iowa license plates had the number of the county as the first numbers, and this is a Winnebago County license number (the 99 counties were listed alphabetically). When we lived in Swea City, Kossuth County was 55. It was fun to see the different numbers on the highway and try and guess where they were from. Not sure why Iowa got rid of this because it was quite logical and fun too.

   Well, it's been 24-hours and I haven't had any symptoms, but I do have another drawer to clean at lunch today and I will photograph just how gross it is.

"The light from the oncoming train focuses the mind."
—Bruce Springsteen explaining his late life drive to release more work

Saturday, January 18, 2014

How Do Artists Actually Get Paid In This Outlaw Age?

January 18, 2014
  Have you ever wondered how artists actually get paid for their work in this new pirate driven Digital Age? Me too. That's why I am going to be at this event in a couple of weeks:

   I'm hoping Buddy and Joshua can enlighten us with their knowledge. Anyway, going to be fun. It will be worth the trip just to see the Historic Cattletrack Compound in Scottsdale. A great art space and a small cocoon of the old Scottsdale and old Arizona. Hope to see you there.

"Artists and writers get paid too much."
—My first reaction when we bought True West and examined the debt-riddled books

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Davy Crockett Ditty

January 16, 2014
   I remember back in 1955 when the Davy Crockett theme song was on everyone's lips, someone in Iowa came up with a parody and it started like this: "Born on a table top in Albert Lea. . ." I remember it was quite funny in a Norwegian way, but I can't remember the rest. Anyone know the ditty?

  This is as close as I can come:

“Born on a table top in Albert Lea, rode in a car when he was only three. Davy, Davy Crockett, King of The Wild Party.”
—Old Norsky Ditty

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Neon In The Night And Slithering Traffic On Cajon Pass

January 14, 2014
   A couple nights ago we rented "About Schmidt" the Alexander Payne film, starring Jack Nicholson, about a widower in Omaha who goes to Denver for his daughter's wedding and has adventures along the way. This is a companion piece to Payne's new film, "Nebraska" which I believe was written by the same guy. Anyway, the film opens with Nicholson's character watching the clock on his final minutes and seconds at an insurance company he has worked for all his adult life. Afterwards, he and his wife drive to his retirement party at a local restaurant in the rain. I was intrigued by the lighting effects of wet streets and neon, so got up this morning and whipped this out.

Daily Whipout: "After The Rain On A Buggy Neon Night"

   Also, got inspired to do a slithering snake of headlights and tailights moving along the ridges of Cajon Pass on Old Route 66.

Daily Whipout: "A Slithering Snake of Traffic Traversing Cajon Pass"

"[John] Ford told [Stephen Spielberg] to consider the 'art of the horizon'—never dead center, but always at either the top or the bottom of the frame."
Martin Scorsese, in Tell Me Something, a book of advice for documentarians

Calling All Gearheads!

January 14, 2014
   Finishing up corrections and layout issues for the first two sections of The 66 Kid. Need clarification on two items, both car related. What is the year, make and model of these two cars?

Someone answered this last one with great detail but I can't find it. Thanks.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Creature From The Black Lagoon

January 13, 2014
   Worked all weekend on The 66 Kid, culling memories from my youth and trying to get them down on paper, both in words and in drawings. This is from a section called "Swede City Sojourn."

The Creature From The Black Lagoon Scares Local Twit
    Swea City, Iowa had a ramshackle movie theater that used to be an opera house. In 1955 the theater was on its last legs because of TV. In it's heyday, the theater would show a Swedish film once a year to cater to the Scandanavian proclivities of the old-timers who still missed the Old Country.

  One night when I was eight I went with some friends to see "The Creature From The Black Lagoon." We were the only people in the audience. About a third of the way in, my friends bailed on me and went home. I was all alone in the creepy old place and the Creature was knocking off people right and left. During one of the scariest parts, the projectionist came down and tapped me on the shoulder and said he wanted to go home and they were going to shut off the movie. I had to walk four blocks to my house. Giant trees lined the street, swaying ominously overhead, casting long, shadow tentacles at my feet. I have never been so scared in my life.

Daily Whipout: "The Creature From Swea City, Iowa"

   When we moved back to Kingman in February of 1956 my father took over a new kind of super station, a Flying A with a big arrow that lit up and came on in an animated motion, calling out to everyone on Route 66 to Come On In! I was so taken with the sign, that one night, while up at my grandmother's house on Jefferson Street, my cousin Robert Jerl Stockbridge, and I, stood out in the cold and just watched the sign do its thing:

Daily Whipout: "Flying A Sign Worship"

   And yes, I am wearing my Little League uniform. I was so proud of being on a team—The Oddfellow Yankees—I often wore it to family functions. I know, weird, but hey, I was a weird kid. Well, maybe not by Kingman standards, but you know what I mean.

"The whole secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and in a thousand things well."
—Horace Walpole

Friday, January 10, 2014

White Hats vs. Black Hats

January 10, 2014
   I've long been intrigued by the white hat vs. black hat symbols from Westerns. This led to the following scratchboards:

"White Hat"

White Hats vs. Black Hats
   As the Western movie genre developed in the early Twentieth Century audiences seemed to gravitate towards heroes who wore a white hat, and many times rode a white horse as well. This trend expanded and developed into a well worn cliche that good guys wore white hats and bad guys wore black hats. Never mind that Hopalong Cassidy among other Western screen heroes sported a black hat, but the die was cast and the cliche lingers to this day.

"Black Hat"

"Sometimes, good guys don't wear white. . ."
—Song lyric from sixties rock song I can't remember the name of

A Bad Boy On A Bad Road

January 10, 2014

   In the Zone, working like crazy. Funny how a little bit of focus and concentration, a drop dead deadline and a dollop of abstinence (stopped drinking on December 15 to concentrate on finishing book project) unlocks some major doors.

   Whipped out three paintings this morning before coming into work. Here's a study inspired by Dan The Man's comment that when he drove home to Kingman from NAU in Flagstaff he was always shocked at how rough Route 66 was around the Valentine area:

Daily Whipout: "Warning: Two-lane Patchtop"

   Also, reworked a painting of this Bad Boy On A Bad Road:

Daily Whipout: "The Real 66 Kid II"

  And reworked a previous take on my family driving into a storm:

Daily Whipout: "We Drove Straight Into The Storm"

  The previous version was too green and patchy. Wanted to give it a little more blue to complement the orange of the tail light glow.

   Also, found some old drawings that needed a tweak here and there to finish.

Daily Whipout: "Coyote With A Housecat Crosses Spur Cross Road"

   This was a scene from a Honkytonk Sue episode that never ran. There's more but I need to keep moving. Really on a roll now. Seems like the more I do, the more I can do. Only been in this place several times in my life, so I can't speak to how I got here, but I am here.

"If you want something done, give it to a busy man."
—Old Misogymist Saying

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Night Driving Redux

January 9, 2014

   Last night I drove down into the Beast to attend a lecture on Route 66 at Pueblo Grand Museum. Joined Dan and Darlene Harshberger for dinner then motored out to 4619 E. Washington to the museum. Professor John Craft, of the Walter Cronkite School of Broadcasting was the host. Had fun, learned a couple things for the book and need to check up on a couple of the claims: Craft claims the Jesuits planted the trees that gives Peach Springs its name? I've never heard that one and I have not read of any Jesuits in Mohave County in the olden days. Hmmmm. Gay?

   Got up this morning intrigued by nightime effect on the road. Whipped out these little studies before going into work:

Daily Whipout: "Night Driver"

Daily Whipout: "Night Trails"

   Worked on several projects this morning, including the second signature of "The 66 Kid." Wrote up several passages on Peach Springs and the fabulous Hualapais, then went home for lunch and whipped out a couple more:

Daily Whipout: "A Long Line of Cars Outside Truxton"

Daily Whipout: "Leaving Fort Sumner"

Daily Whipout: "Traffic On I-10 Near Tonopah"

   Not quite there, but I'm learning nightime effects. Can't quite get the glow right. Keep making the same mistake. Gee, I wonder what ol' James Marsh has to say about this?

"Learn from you mistakes—write them down and torment yourself with them."
—James Marsh

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

More Kicks On 66

January 8, 2014
   Finishing up the second 26-page section of the book today. Laid in all the images and did a conference call with Dan Harshberger to tweak layouts and add pullquotes and cutlines. Got some great images and maps (from Gus Walker, the Mapinator!). Going to be very sweet.

  Went home for lunch and colorized my Andreas Feininger sketch:

Andreas Feininger: "Eye On The Sky II"

   Actually got the lens right. He's definitely looking skyward. Also whipped out a little study of the guy who coined the phrase and lyric, "Get your kicks on Route 66."

Bobby Troup: "On The Road"

   Got some great quotes from the boys and got the truth about their journeys. Gee, I wonder what ol' Brett Morgan thinks about this?

"I often find the truth to be overrated. I'd rather have a drink with a really good storyteller, than with someone who sticks to the record."
—Brett Morgen

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Feininger Got His Clicks On Route 66

January 7, 2014
   Went home for lunch and whipped out another take on Andreas Feininger, the Life magazine photographer who took the most famous photograph of Route 66, ever.

Andreas Feininger: Eye On The Sky

   I also did a scratchboard version but the board was not Essdee and it flaked a bit too much:

Slide #6? Feininger's take with bus in photo

   Take a close look at the details, the hitchhiker, the cars, the burger stand at left. Now, here is another frame taken, probably right after. Andrea seems to have moved his tripod back, or did he zoom in?

Andreas Feininger "Route 66, Arizona, 1953"

   In the end this is the classic one. Just the right number of cars, giving it a more spread out feel. The first one is too crowded, at least for Selgiman. Ha. Amazing.

"Somehow [Feininger's Slide #7] manages to reference in a single frame, the allure of the open road, the confluence of the man-made and natural worlds and the myth of the inexhaustible American West."
—Editor Ben Cosgrove, Life magazine