Saturday, February 28, 2015

Dramatic Clouds & Red Lake Rider

February 28, 2015
   Rainy and cloudy all day. Got some dramatic formations about 4 p.m.

Dramatic Clouds over the Seven Sisters

  Worked some of the day on Van Gogh color schemes.

Daily Whipout: "Red Lake Rider"

   Having fun trying to match the mad Dutchman's pallet.

"You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on them. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space."
—Johnny Cash

Friday, February 27, 2015

Bisti Badman In The Bisti Badlands

February 27, 2015
   Went home for lunch and finished a painting that has been in my Has Potential pile for a long time. The poor kid was caught between three worlds. Schooled at Carlisle, his father was Hopi and his mother a Navajo, so naturally nobody wanted him. The schooling helped, though.

Daily Whip Out: "Bisti Badman."

   He ran away from the White Man's school, evaded trackers and dogs and even the Pinkerton's. He gravitated to the badlands of the Navajo res, thus the Bisti Badlands (Bisti means bad). So, literally Bisti Badman in The Bisti Badlands is Bad Badman in The Bad Badlands, but I kind of like the repetition.

   And, since the Hopis didn't want him and the Navajos either, and the authorities at Winslow wanted him captured, he raided them all with impunity.

Daily Whipout: "The Bisti Badman Raids Across The Bisti Badlands"

"The way out of trouble is never as simple as the way in."
—Edgar Watson Howe

Talkin' 'Bout My Generation!

February 27, 2015
    This summer, my class—1965—is getting set for our fiftieth high school reunion. Wow! Doesn't even seem possible. All those former hipsters (myself included) would do well to heed Bob Dylan's words (from AARP magazine!): "Don't try to act like you're young. You could really hurt yourself."

Talkin' 'Bout My Generation!

   Meanwhile, Mark Fairall posted a photograph of The Exits on Facebook, performing on New Year's Eve, 1964:

The Exits on New Year's Eve, Girl's Gym: L to R: Terry Mitchell, Wendell Havatone, Charlie Waters, BBB and Wayne Rutschman. The song? "Surfbeat" by Dick Dale and The Deltones

   I mentioned that I bought the three-piece Beatle suit I am wearing in the photo from Central Commercial for $17 because nobody in Kingman would buy it, but me. As I was posting this, I realized the jacket is hanging in my office!

My 51-year-old Beatle jacket

   I can't remember why I brought this in to the office, but there it is, in all its sagging glory. Thomas Charles, my son, found it in my closet when he was in high school and wore it proudly to his prom It has seen some mileage but it still rocks.

   One final note: when I was in my rocker years I loved The Stones, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC but I also had a country streak and loved Johnny Cash, The Hag and Waylon Jennings. I never dreamed these disparate styles would ever meld into one song, much less from a Country mainstream performer, but that is exactly the musical blend that Eric Church strip mines with full force.

"I like my Country rockin', how 'bout you?"
—Eric Church, in the rockin' tune "How 'Bout You?" which segues into the triple-time AC/DC guitar lick on "Thunderstruck"


Billy the Kid And The Meaning of Life

February 27, 2015
   It would be foolish to say that Billy the Kid didn't change my life. It would be even more foolish to say that I found all the answers to life from studying him. That said, I got up this morning and whipped this out:

Daily Whip Out: "Billy the Kid And The Meaning of Life"

   Yes, I have learned some big lessons from the boy outlaw. In fact, I guess you could say everything I know about being on this planet can be traced back to El Chivato. Including humility, focus, self-depreciation when dealing with the press. Especially dealing with the press.

"I was never the leader of any gang—I was for Billy all the time."
—Billy the Kid, to a reporter

Thursday, February 26, 2015

My Kingman Cowgirl Cousins and John Wesley Hardin

February 26, 2015
   Got up this morning and bailed into another Stud Stance Study. If you have my book "The 66 Kid" you know my mother's side of the family claims relations to Blackjack Ketchum, Big Foot Wallace and John Wesley Hardin. So here is another Stud Stance Study of my shirt tail cousin:

Daily Whipout: "Stud Stance Study, John Wesley Hardin"

   And speaking of cousins, two of my prettiest Kingman Cowgirl Cousins are in town for a conference in Carefree.

My Kingman Cowgirl Cousins, Sharon and Brenda Stockbridge

   Sharon (Brenda's daughter) is caressing the big lizard head coming out of the wall, outside our front door (created by Chuck Weaver, of Weaver's Stance fame). When Brenda is here we invariably trade Kingman stories and laugh about how provincial we are, for better or worse. I confess that if I wasn't married to Kathy I would probably have never gone to Europe, South America or Thailand. I might have gone to Rocky Point, Mexico and that would probably be the extent of my travels. What can I say—small town boy, small town vision.

"He who never leaves his country is full of prejudices."
—Carlo Goldon, (1793) Italian playwright

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Doc Holliday With Glasses

February 25, 2015
   Did five whip outs this morning before I went into work. Chalk it up to my lunatic role model and his insane influence.

Van Gogh Gunfighters and the two massive bios that spawned them

   One of my goals this year is to produce a series of gunfighters, in what I have come to call The Stud Stance.

Daily Whip Out: "Stud Stance Study, No. 1"

   I have long experimented with narrative boxes with varied degrees of success. Most are belabored and overwrought, but somehow, some way I want to capture the un-regimented, organic version of this study:

Daily Whip Out, "Organic Comic Strip Narrative, No. 1"

   One of the few authenticated photographs of Doc Holliday in Arizona was taken in Prescott in 1879.

Doc Holliday in Prescott, 1879

   Some people see glasses on his nose. I am one of them.

Daily Whip Out: "Doc In Glasses"

   No matter what he wore, he had a one-way ticket to the worm condo.

Daily Whip Out: "Doc In Decline"

   Grabbed another "unfinished" painting out of the Daily Whip Out pile and gave it another go:

Daily Whip Out: "The Lonely Sheepherder"

   And last but not least, a purple study, also on its way to the Daily Whip Out file, and I just had to give it a quick wash:

Daily Whip Out: "Riders of The Purple Sage"

   I realize this is pretty manic behavior, but to my mind, I am in good company. Vincent van Gogh was considered a raving mad man (see quote below), but, to me, he was crazy like a fox and besides, he is from my tribe: Beethoven, Goya, Nietzsche, Rimbaud, Jonathon Winters and many other artists were lunatics—like me. So, I aspire to a certain level of commitment which is often perceived by the larger culture as "crazy." As Rainer Metzger points out, "Society, for its part, cannot conceive that life beyond its orderly regimen might be worth living."

   Amen, brother.

". . .society dictated that he would play the part which, in a sense, he was made for. Van Gogh was now a lunatic."
—Rainer Metzger, in "Van Gogh The Complete Paintings" writing about the events after Vincent cut off his ear lobe (and not his entire ear, by the way)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Doc Holliday, "Read 'Em And Weep"

February 24, 2015
   Pulled a half-finished painting out of my Potential Pile this morning and gave it a go for about a half hour before I came into work:

Unfinished Daily Whip Out: "Doc and Wyatt—Brothers In Arms"

    It's so fascinating to me that Doc Holliday allegedly only used a shotgun once, at the so-called O.K. Corral fight, and threw it down in disgust, but he is forever linked to that weapon as the oodles of shotguns in private collections with his name on them attest.

  We had some pretty dramatic clouds this morning. Big storm blew in yesterday and the clouds were still hanging around today:

Ratcliff Ridge, this morining

   Went home for lunch and whipped out a little study of a certain dentist showing his cards:

Daily Whip Out: "Doc Holliday, Read 'Em And Weep."

   A belated Christmas present from Linda Stewart, a Facebook fan and fellow artist, from Anthem.

 Weston's New Pony from Linda Stewart

   Thought about exercising this afternoon, but sat down until the urge passed.

"Don't try to act like you're young. You could really hurt yourself."
—Bob Dylan, in AARP magazine

Monday, February 23, 2015

How Do You Insult A Hualapai Woman?

February 23, 2015
   The latest issue of Phoenix Magazine hit the streets this week. Nice write-up on my show at the Tempe Historical Society:

Phoenix Mag BBB

   Raining pretty hard here at the True West World Headquarters. Went home for lunch and worked with Curator Cal a bit on filing my massive amounts of Daily Whip Outs. Ate a Christmas tamale from Carole Glenn (last one!). Dang that was good. Then back out to the studio and to whip out a scratchboard version of the Hualapai Historian:

Daily Whip Out: "Scratchboard of The Historian"

   Thanks to Gay Mathis, I decided this would make a good True West Moment on Hualapai modesty:

A Serious Hualapai Insult
   110 years ago, female members of the Hualapai tribe wore their hair heavily banged, with hair covering their cheeks and even their chins. There was a reason for this, and one anglo photographer found out the hard way: "I wished to make a photograph of a woman I had long known and been friendly with. As her eyes and face were scarcely distinguishable, I took the liberty of putting back the hair from her cheeks. She arose in anger, and for three years refused to speak or meet with me. I had given her the most serious insult a man could offer to a Wallapai woman."
—George Wharton James

"As a painter I shall never amount to anything important. I am absolutely sure of it."
—Vincent van Gogh

Hualapai Historian, Part II

February 23, 2015
   Finished the Van Gogh book last night (got bored with the Oscars and went in the bedroom to read). Lots to say about the mad Dutchman, but suffice to say, it wasn't just Vincent—that is one crazy family!

   An update on my painting of the Hualapai historian. I took a photo of the painting with my phone and posted it yesterday, but this morning I came into the office and scanned it, and I think you'll notice a little stronger hues and color:

Daily Whipout: "The Historian"

   And here is the source material, an article by author George Wharton James, July 1903--The Four Track News, was founded in July 1901 by George H. Daniels. Illustrated magazine of travel and education. Published by the Passenger Department of the New York Central and Hudson River railroad in NY.

A Wallapai Story Teller

   Thanks to Gay Mathis for sending me the info on this publication, and also for including this anecdote:

"The [Wallapai] women generally wear their hair banged over the forehead, so that the eyebrows are almost covered, and the rest of the hair is cut off level with the shoulders, so that a well-combed head of hair falls heavily around the whole head, covering the major part of the cheeks and sides of the chin. I once made an interesting discovery in regard to this almost complete covering up of the face with the hair. I wished to make a photograph of a woman I had long known and been friendly with. As her eyes and face were scarcely distinguishable, I took the liberty of putting back the hair from her cheeks. She arose in anger, and for three years refused to speak or meet with me. I had given her the most serious insult a man could offer to a Wallapai woman."
—George Wharton James

"I like fruit baskets because a fruit basket enables you to mail somebody fruit without appearing insane."
—Demetri Martin

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Historian

February 22, 2015
   Dan Harshberger forwarded me a link to "The Wallapais" from something called The Four-Track News. Appears to be from about 1910. I was struck by a photograph in the article of a "Wallapai Story Teller," who, in the article is praised as "The best repository of the traditionary [yes, "traditionary"] lore of these people." In the photo, her face is hidden by thick bangs of hair, and, incredibly she is not named, but I am confident she is related to some of the Hualapai kids I went to school with. Because her face is shrouded in massive bangs, she intrigues me even more.

   I did a sketch of her last week:

Daily Whip Out: "The Hualapai Historian"

   No, wait a minute. Don't like the clarifier. On the next study I softened her undergarments and went with a more moody setting.

Daily Whip Out: "The Historian"

"You owe it to us all to get on with what you're good at."
—W.H. Auden

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sketchbook Observations from Doc Holliday to Big Nudes

February 21, 2015
   I am on the last page of my current sketchbook and it always makes me reflect on the success and failures of the past 100 pages (going back to October 15, 2014).

   Although we were encouraged to do sketchbooks when I attended the University of Arizona Art College, I rarely did. I did do fits and starts of sketchbooks, like these two pages from my Honkytonk Sue clip file/sketchbook:

March 8, 1978

   From time to time I would go to life drawing classes and sketch at the bars where I played drums:

January, 1980: Big Hair and Big Nudes

   I went to work for New Times Weekly in Phoenix in 1978 and did some actual sketches in court. This is from an infamous case of a notorious bigamist:

Courtroom sketchs, January 20, 1983

   He was a greasy kind of guy and it was hard to believe he bilked so many women:

Courtroom sketches, January 20, 1983

   I also managed to capture a family scene, or two, like this one, drawn three days after the above court sketches. This one is of Kathy's grandmother, Jennie, sketched just before the birth of Thomas Charles Bell:

January 23, 1983, sketched at our house at 707 W. MacKenzie in Phoenix

   In 1989, The Jones Boze & Jeanne Radio Show adopted the new Phoenix Cardinals (they had just decamped from Saint Louis to Phoenix) and we created a group of crazy fans called The End Zonies (David K. came up with the name). I drew a series of sketches, and one of them ended up as the logo:

End Zonies sketches, Sept. 5, 1989: we chose the one of the cow skull with the goalpost horns

  It wasn't until I took up cartoonist Dave Sim's inspired challenge (every artist has 10,000 bad drawings in him) of commiting to doing 10,000 bad drawings that I got into the habit of drawing every day. Since that time (2006) I have compiled a significant pile of sketchbooks, which Curator Cal had to find in my messy studio and put in a safe place:

The BBB Sketch Morgue, February 21, 2015

   But back to my notes from the most current sketchbook: Here's a note from October 18:

"There is a valid reason for my success and my failures. My limitations seem to be endless, but my possibilities stretch even farther. To keep trying is my MO—to get past the stops, the lethargy, the procrastination, and ultimately, the fear. It's always about the fear."

   Random observations: New Mexico Existentialism—I saw a road sign on I-25 that says, "Dust storms may exist."

   Poached jokes: "There are many reasons we broke up. There was a religious difference. I'm a Catholic and she's the devil."
—Adam Ferrara

   Harsh Verdicts: "my book signing at Changing Hands was a total bust. Paid $300 for the privlege of selling maybe five books. Some assholes came in the room during my talk and started laughing and playing some board game!"

   Flat Out Self Flagellation: "You are a mediocre artist and nobody reads your blog!"

   Overheard Criticism: "He's too cartoony." The reaction to a member of the Cowboy Artists of America who recommened me as a member.

   Inspired Leaps: "Did A Buffalo Bill Wannabe Kill Vincent van Gogh?" Scheduled for October art issue and I'm doing the Van Gogh death as a Classic Gunfight.

Daily Whip Out: "Did A Buffalo Bill Wannabe Kill Vincent van Gogh?"

   Amazing Insights: "Our history is an aggregate of last moments."
—Thomas Pynchon

My Top Ten Fears
1. Failure
2. Dying alone
3. Blowing it (fear of redundancy, see number one)
4. Foreign train schedules (strange situations like the one we had in Paris in a tunnel)
5. Freeway phobia
6. Media rejection (see number one)
7. Alcoholism (my father was an alcoholic and my mother warned me every day that I was next)
8. Cancer (after the age of 62 your chances of getting cancer are 50%)
9. Crazy drivers
10 Deer death (a deer jumped into my windshield coming back from a speech in Payson)
11. Being stupid (see previous ten fears)

Oddest Answer: I'm in Thailand talking to a guy named Surge. We are alone at breakfast in a B&B by the river at six in the morning and not even the kitchen staff is up yet, so I ask him about the king, a no-no we were told to avoid at all costs. He tells me about his love for the king and the entire family. I say, to be polite, "You like history," and he replies, "Yes, but not in the past."

Worst Name for a Roadside Snack (in Thailand): Grilled Field Mice

I Wish I Had Thought of That: the nickname for the selfie stick is "the wand of narcissism."

   Just to show I never seem to grow up, or give up, after all my recent attempts to capture the Frank Stilwell killing by Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, to be featured in the next issue of True West, here is a page from almost exactly ten years ago:

Daily Whip Out, February 28, 2005: "The Killing of Frank Stilwell"

   Lessons Learned: Those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it. Those of us who do study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it."

   Cool Titles: I'm always looking for cool titles to books, articles and blog posts. Here are a few from this sketchbook: Coot, The Codger (when you pass 30, you take your first steps towards weary wisdom), Kid Krazy (me and my insane friends who dig Billy the Kid), Bisti Bad Man, Down & Dirty, Red Ghost, Wyatt Earp In Hollywood: The Untold Story, A Special Place In Hell, The Heatwave, The Luck of Billy the Kid, Muy Mexicano, Loveless (a lonely cowboy in Burro Creek Canyon named Johnny Loveless, actually the subject of a book, great name), The Gunfights of Billy the Kid, Eternal Anger at The O.K. Corral, Hi Jolly, Dude, The Dude, The Ball (Matisse's wfie's nickname), Six Skirts of Modesty (Navajo women sometimes wear "six skirts" as a show of modesty and no doubt six layers to get past for drunk and horny accosters), Shine Smith, Red Lake, Fifty Shades of Spray (a blog post header about the use of "bum guns" in Thai bathrooms), Sticky Falls, Honest Injun (so un-PC it may work), Cowgirl Supreme (Sandra Day), Rattlesnake Kate, The Legend of Apache Grove, The Lecturer From Hell.

   My fave quote from the sketchbook:

"You can't really make fun of something unless you truly, deeply madly love it."
—Mel Brooks

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Remember The Hopi Hula Hoop Craze?

February 19, 2015
   Went home for lunch and whipped out a little Crown Dancer. Not just any Crown Dancer. No, this was one of my favorite fads growing up in Kingman—The Hopi Hula Hoop craze. Remember?

Daily Whip Out: "The Hopi Hula Hoop Craze"

   But my parents would never buy me the full Crown Dancer costume. I know, I know, Crown Dancers are Apache, but, perhaps that is why they wouldn't buy it for me?

"Is he an idiot, or is he messing with us?"
—Old BBB Blog Reader

Van Gogh Gives Us His Earp And Doc Holliday Spends 16 Days In Jail

February 19, 2015
   I'm up to the part of the massive bio on Vincent van Gogh (apparently the Dutch do not capitalize the "v" in van, but in the title of the book, and in the movies about him the v is capped as in Van Gogh), where Guagin (who was 5' 4" by the way) is leaving Arles, where the two had tried to be studio mates, and the "mad Dutchman" is about to cut off his ear. I have been studying the artwork of both men, as we go along and I can't help seeing their influence everywhere:

Daily Whip Out: "Doc Behind Bars"

      Few are aware that after the gunfight behind the O.K. Corral, both Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday were arrested and they both spent 16 days in Tombstone's tiny, makeshift jail. Here's this morning's Daily Whipout: "Doc Behind Bars," and, as you might notice, there is more than a passing influence from Mr. van Gogh.

   Did another little whip out:

Daily Whip Out: "Joe Ely Looks Back"

   Didn't set out to do Joe Ely, but when it was done, he flashed in my mind. I've always admired the west Texas honkytonker, and I saw him open for the Stones at Sun Devil Stadium way back in 1982, I think it was, but other than that I don't have any of his music. I seem to remember he did a decent tune about Billy the Kid. Not sure why he popped into my mind for this, but then, I think it's safe to say, artists get the spirit in odd ways.

"As painters we must always remember that the spirit is more important than the fact."
—Harold Von Schmidt

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Doc Detrains

February 18, 2015
   Got up this morning and whipped out the last image for the "Blood On The Tracks" Classic Gunfight in the next issue of True West (April). This board came out of my Promising Patina Pile (I liked the random edges, like in an old photo). The scene portrays Doc Holliday at the Tucson train station on the night of March 20, 1882. An eye-witness testified Doc got off the train carrying two shotguns and had an ulster coat over his shoulder. He placed the shotguns in the freight house for safe keeping, sort of like a locker at a bus station. Given the results of the evening, I wonder if he had to run back and do paper work to get it out of hock? Probably not, but considering they expected trouble, it does seem odd he would "check" the weapons.

Daily Whip Out: "Doc Detrains"

   Another eye-witness noted that Sherm McMasters had on two cartridge belts. They must have cut an imposing clot of figures, and why Frank Stilwell, upon seeing these nasty dudes armed to the teeth, decided to hang around, doesn't say much for his intelligence.

   Had good reference: went over to Ken Amorosano's house last night and he broke out his shotguns from his gun safe and threw a duster over his shoulder. Of course, the pump shotgun is totally wrong, but I was more interested in the position of his hands and where the barrels lined up (basically hat level)

Ken Amorosano assumes the stance

   Issue goes to press tomorrow. Glad I had the time to do this last scene.

"A quiet conscience sleeps in thunder."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wyatt Earp Lights Up Frank Stilwell Like A Christmas Tree

February 17, 2015
   I got a third chance to do the killing of Frank Stilwell at the Tucson train station. I have done probably ten versions of the killing, but felt like a scene from behind Stilwell, looking back at the station, the train steaming in the distance, and Wyatt's crew running to join in the plugfest, would be a cool scene. Ruined the first go on Sunday:

Daily Whip Out: "Frank Lit Up Without Wyatt"

   Took another swing at it this morning:

Daily Whip Out: "Wyatt Earp Lights Up Frank Stilwell Like A Christmas Tree"

—Frank's alleged last word, according to Wyatt Earp

Monday, February 16, 2015

Frank Stilwell's Incredible Rid, Part II

February 16, 2015
   We have had a very spirited debate, both here and on Facebook about the probability of Frank Stilwell making his alleged 75-mile horseback ride—in six hours, at night.

Daily Whip Out: "Did Frank Stilwell Make A 75-Mile Midnite Horseback Ride From Tombstone to Tucson? (Or, did he take a more cushioned ride?)

   Most of the Horseback riders who weighed in here, basically agree it was a long ride, but could be done (it's 12.5 miles an hour, not an impossible feat for someone who knows how to pace a horse by trotting, loping and galloping). It has also been suggested Stilwell may have had a change of horses. In fact, Frank owned a livery stable at Charleston and could have easily stashed at least one extra horse upstream at Contention, which would have given his midnite ride a little more plausibility.

   It was even surmised that perhaps Stilwell cut across towards Sonoita, a more direct route to Tucson and thus shaved off some time.

   Other seasoned horseback riders told us it was only possible if there was a full moon that night. Well, that is a problem: our very own Gold Lady shot that theory down, with a link to moon cycles

   There was no moon to speak of on the night of March 18-19, 1882, so that theory, did not, ahem, survive the light of day.

   My good friend Kevin Mulkins, who lives in Tucson, has Frank Stilwell's signature and I thought perhaps we could compare it to the signature in the Palace Hotel guest register (where Frank's check-in time was allegedly 5 a.m.), but we hit the wall with that because the Arizona Historical Society has the Palace register for 1877-79 but the year we want—1882—is missing. But while I was trying to track down the whereabouts of the register and questioning my historian friends and collectors about the register, I got this from John Boessenecker:

"Frank Stilwell came from Tombstone to Tucson, arriving on the westbound train from Benson on the morning of March 19, the day before he was killed."
Tucson Weekly Star, March 23, 1882.

   Well, needless to say, this changes everything. Stilwell could easily leave Tombstone at midnite on horseback, ride to Contention and take the train to Benson, change trains and arrive in Tucson in plenty of time to check into the Palace Hotel at 5 a.m. it is a little funky because train service in the middle of the night seems a bit of a reach for those times, but then Wyatt Earp and crew flagged down a freight train late at night, on their return to Tombstone after the killing of Stilwell, so it certainly is possible. And the newspaper reported it three days after his death.

   As for the train schedules, I just got this from John Boessenecker: "In  July 1882 the Southern Pacific advertised a new schedule in which the train arrived in the afternoon, one train a day."

   Now, we are back to the horseback ride. If Frank Stilwell was one of the shooters of Morgan Earp on the evening of March 18, 1882, he could ride a horse to Contention, but catching any train at midnite is problematic.

   So, all of this begs a bigger question: where did the story of Frank Stilwell riding horseback to Tucson originate?

". . .there is positive evidence that Stilwell was in Tombstone Saturday night at the time Morgan Earp was murdered, and that he rode into Tucson on horseback on Sunday."
—The Tombstone Epitaph, March 27, 1882

   In conclusion, we are left with nagging inconsistencies and no absolute proof, either way. Riding cross country, without roads, on a moonless night seems ridiculous and out of the question. Stilwell simply may have ridden a horse to Benson, caught the daily passenger train to Tucson and backdated his arrival on the register to 5 a.m. We will never know. It would be great to locate that guest register for the Palace Hotel. Maybe someday it will turn up.

"History is a cruel trick, played on the dead by the living."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Friday, February 13, 2015

Tom Horn In Firelight

February 13, 2015
   We donated our vast library to Scottsdale's Museum of The West and a three-person loading crew is here this morning moving everything out. The True West Library will be housed in the Ridenour Wing of Western Spirit at the new museum.

   Found this in my Do-Or-Die pile this morning and tweaked it slightly before I came into work.

Daily Whip Out: "Tom Horn In Firelight: On Some Level He Knew What Was Coming."

   A note on my recent art output: when you almost die, it has a profound effect on your daily outlook. Then, add to that, when you hear of someone in the news dying ("60 Minutes" correspondent Bob Simon yesterday) it brings the feeling even closer because I know what it's like to be here one moment, and gone the next. Part of me is still back there, on the other side of March 22, 2008, walking around, playing drums and joking with Charlie and Steve (both have since died), oblivious to the cliff I was approaching. If you have ever wondered why I paint so fast and so furious, look no further for an answer.

"On some level I knew what was coming."
—Old Cartoonist Saying

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Mucho Canyones & Mickey Free Engulfed

February 12, 2015
   Went home for lunch and worked on several images. Full disclosure: some of these have been posted before, but I am labeling them for the archives and I keep thinking, Damn, this needs just a little tweak on that dust to solidify the whole thing. You know, like this:

Daily Whipout: "Mickey Engulfed"

   This is a scene from the Mickey Free story where the Mickster encounters a line of ricos in carriages fleeing across a dry lake (it seems like in every story I tell there's a dry lake which is really a stand-in for Red Lake in Mohave County), and behind the ricos come their cattle being herded by slit-eyed vaqueros with itchy trigger-fingers. Of course, the cattle churn up the dust and even though Free is riding his Jack Mule wide to avoid the vaqueros and the dust, it ultimately engulfs him, as seen here. The dust was too belabored and stagnant and I needed it to be a unit, a churning mass from the same source, thus the reworking.

   Meanwhile, tried to file this one as well, but it still seemed unfinished as it was, so gave it another wash, and another name:

Daily Whipout: "The Alkalai Posse"

   I also added some more color to the riders and pushed the foreground a tad more to make the white dust more vivid. Next up, a painting I pulled out my Do-Or-Die-Skies pile. Had this decent sky and nothing underneath it.

Daily Whip Out: "The Approach to Muchos Canyones"

   Slapped in the riders a bit too quickly, from memory (I have good cavalry column reference but didn't take the time to go find it), then started to flesh out the foreground and realized, eventually as the wash settled, they were approaching a canyon. Every time I drive to Kingman I look off to the right in the area of the Santa Maria River and wonder about a famous In-din fight at a place called Mucho Canyones (many canyons). I've always wanted to visit it, but it is very rough country. Some day.

"He tried. He failed. And for that we love him more than ever."
—Old Vaquero tombstone epitaph

Apache Twilight: Fast & Fearless

February 12, 2015
   Got up this morning and grabbed two failed paintings out of my Do-Or-Die files and took another stab at them. This is one of them, which I "finished" before I came into work:

Daily Whip Out: "Apache Twilight"

   It had mucho problems: the guy was too anglo looking and the bottom of his body was decent but vague. Tried to emulate Van Gogh, and this description of his painting style, "He painted the way he talked: thrust and parry, assault and retreat. Barrages of brushwork swept across the canvas again and again." This is from the massive biography, "Van Gogh, The Life," by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith.

   Vincent attacked his paintings with both paint and words, "muttering and sputtering, coaxing and cajoling, bullying and railing—giving voice to his arguments even as his hand gave them form, texture, and color." His brother criticized his work as too hasty, too "haggard," and urged him to slow down. But Vincent claimed that the faster he worked, the better the painting. And, so, I don't want to copy him (don't follow his path, but seek what he sought) but I do aspire to be fearless and fast.

"He became a fanatic as soon as he touched a paint brush. A canvas needs to be seduced; but Van Gogh, he, raped it."
—The Zouave Milliet, one of Vincent's few friends in Arles, France