Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Van Gogh's Putrid Dogs

March 3, 2015
   Found a half-finished painting intended for a True West cover, way back in 2009 (Border Riders). Tweaked it good, for a change:

Daily Whip Out: "A Glowing Monument to Mexico"

   When I visited the border in Guadalupe Canyon, doing research on the killing of Old Man Clanton, I saw one of the large, cement border markers in the canyon. They are so large they are referred to as monuments, thus thus the title.

   I've gotten some very good feedback on this site about one of my studies:

Daily Whip Out: "The Gullywasher"

   The positive reviews caught me off guard. I thought it had potential, but in the end I felt like it kind of failed and was overworked, which goes to show, the artist is the last to know sometimes, or, most of the time.

   I love rain and weather in movies (the rain scene in "Two Lane Blacktop" and the snow in "McCabe & Mrs. Miller") and movie crews hate weather (in the Billy Bob Thorton "Alamo" it rained for a week, and they had to put up high canvas over the outdoor scenes and then shine big lights underneath to simulate a sunny day). As I mentioned Remington was experimenting with this weather phenom—a scene being witnessed from inside the rain storm—when he did "The Night Herder" in 1908, I believe one of the last paintings he did. In fact, some believe it's unfinished! That's how hard rendering rain is as an atmospheric image. Movie crews also hate to film rain scenes because it rarely shows up as rain, unless you completely stylize it as Miller did in "Sin City."

   Here's an interesting culling from "Van Gogh, The Life," the massive bio I just finished.

   On January 18, 1886, Vincent begin art classes at the Royal Academy of Art in Antwerp. It was something he swore he would never do, and he was ten years older than most of the other students ("You started too late," Tersteeg warned him). The other students—60 painters behind their easels and canvases— noticed him immediately. He was "dressed in a sort of blue smock," one of them remembered several decades later when van Gogh's star was rising,  Vincent began painting furiously, which freaked out the other students and they noted he slathered his paint on so thick it dripped from the canvas onto the floor.  When the teacher, Verlot, finally saw his work, he bellowed, "I cannot correct such putrid dogs. My boy, go quickly to the drawing class." Van Gogh contained his rage and fled, never to return.

Daily Whip Out: "BBB's Copy of one of Van Gogh's 'Putrid Dogs'"

   In 1970, I was fresh out of art school after five years at the University of Arizona and I took my portfolio to the Arizona Republic and managed to get a meeting with Bud DeWald, the editor of Arizona Magazine. He bought my proposed cartoon article on growing up in Kingman and agreed to pay me $75 for five cartoons. Feeling successful, I walked down the hall and saw a cartoonist at work in an office and poked my head in. Bert Phillips (an editorial cartoonist for the Phoenix Gazette) saw my portfolio and gruffly told me to come in so he could have a look. He quckly looked through my drawings and told me, "Better find a good art school." I fled, but returned many times, however, I always hated that bastard.

"It takes self-control to set yourself free."
—Old Vaquero Saying