Thursday, March 31, 2016

Trigger Jim On A White-faced Horse

March 31, 2016
   Working this morning on an image of an overlooked and unsung Arizona pioneer, Jim Young, who worked for a time as Texas John Slaughter's bodyguard. He also was a renowned boxer, freighter and aid to General George Thomas at the battle of Stone Mountain in the Civil War. Oh, and he backed down Buckskin Frank Leslie, twice. 

Daily Whip Out: "'Nigger' Jim On A White-faced Horse"

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

An A-1 Morning And A Coyote Eyes Night

March 30, 2016
   Got an A-1 morning shaping up:

My backyard A-1 Pilsner Beer sign from the old Nogales Cafe in downtown Phoenix

   We have a riot of color out here on the great Sonoran Desert. This is our front yard view:

Desert? What desert? That is a flippin' color wheel squeal!

   He is the trickster god of the Apaches and the Navajos. 

Daily Whip Out: "Coyote Eyes Night "

"If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree."
—Michael Crichton

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Those Bad Boy Duncans

March 29, 2016
   Here's a great photo of the legendary Mohave County cowman Tap Duncan and his cow crew at the Hackberry railhead in the early 1920s. Tap is sitting on the fence, third from right, in the big brim and glasses. Check out the tapaderos on the saddle horse, at center. 

Photo courtesy of Jerry Marshall and his grandmother Myrtle Stowe Duncan.

   The Duncans are my outlaw kin, or, as my good friend Mark Boardman put it: "Ol' Tap. Friend of Butch Cassidy and Elzy Lay. And an alias used by Kid Curry. Boze has got some real outlaw in his genes."

"To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest."
—Pema Chodron

Monday, March 28, 2016

Apache War Dance In Full Swing

March 28, 2016
   According to oldtimers, nobody held dances quite like the White Mountain folk. 

Daily Whip Out: "Apache War Dance In Full Swing"

   Meanwhile, I've got an idea to have Mickey Free escape while in captivity:

Daily Whip Out: "Haboob Sans Riders"

   A friend of mine lost a painting of mine to a fire, so I'm planning on a replacement. Trying to capture the original idea but I also want to expand the theme a bit. Did this study this morning:

Daily Whip Out:
"Wild Bill Up In Smoke"

"I'm tired of being the funniest guy in the room."
—Del Close, improv teacher, who died in 1999: these are his alleged last words

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Mickey Takes It As A Sign

March 27, 2016
   For three days they rode across a barren hellscape of blackened desert. Late on the fourth, they encountered two century plants in full bloom. 

Daily Whip Out: "Free, Horn And Young, Ride Between The Green."

   Below them, the fires still burned along the lowlands, destroying all the crops of the Taharamaras, who fled south along the Bavispe River, hoping to escape the doomsday conditions.. Mick and crew kept to the ridges as they made their way into the teeth of the calamity.

Daily Whip Out; "Hellscape Horizon"

   They knew if they kept on this trail they would eventually meet up with something even more brutal and demonic, and there was even something demonic about their quest. Still, they rode on.

"I wanted to write a story that combined the demonic and the human."
—Edna O'Brien

Friday, March 25, 2016

Mick In The Moonlight

March 25, 2016
   Went home for lunch and finished two pieces. This is the first. 

Daily Whip Out: "Mick In The Moonlight"

   Switched gears and did the following little study for a possible cover image to illustrate an excerpt from John Boessenecker's new book:

Daily Whip Out: "Frank Hamer As Played by Ben Affleck"

Not sure why he looks like Ben Affleck and not Frank Hamer. Had good photo reference and everything, but sometimes it just happens.

"At some point you realize Robin Hood is actually Jesse James."
—Paul Andrew Hutton

Mickey's Sidewinder Gaze

March 25, 2016
   This is what you get when you listen to ZZ Top while painting, at night. 

Daily Whip Out: "Mickey Heads Up A Slot Canyon In The Moonlight On His Trusty Mule Tu, Just Before The Mammoth Jack Refused to Go Another Inch Up The Trail"

   Mick calls his mule "Tu" which is Spanish for "You." Meanwhile, while listening to "Gotsta Get Paid," also by ZZ Top, I found this little smirk expressing itself:

Daily Whip Out: "Mickey's Sidewinder Gaze"

"That damn mule saved your bacon that day."
—Fiero Martinez, of the Doroteo Arrango gang, admitting to Mickey that they were intent on ambushing Free, but his stubborn mule wouldn't go all the way into the canyon. Mickey finally realized Tu actually sensed the bad intentions emanating from the pass and saved his life.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Hamer On The Hunt

March 24, 2016
   Got up this morning and finished a little study for a splash page opening on one of the greatest lawman of the Old West and the 20th century. 

Daily Whip Out: "Texas Ranger Frank Hamer On The Hunt."

   This is from John Boessenecker's new book on Hamer which is getting some great buzz. The dude survived 52 gunfigthts. What did Wild Bill have? Perhaps four or five? How many did Wyatt Earp have? Maybe six? Billy the Kid? Seven? John Wesley Hardin? 25 (if you count flat out homicides, or cold-blooded killings)? Amazing. Can't wait to read it.

   Also working on the visage for this guy:

Daily Whip Outs: "Texas John Slaughter's Best Cowboy: Jim Young"

   One of the things I'm wrestling with is how to deal with Jim's sobriquet: "Nigger Jim." My editor, Meghan Saar, doesn't want to run it period, but to me, that is fiction by omission. I don't think we can duck it. The N-word is in the headline of his obit!

Jim Young's obit in Tucson newspaper. He was 102 years old when he died!

An amazing guy. This obit is courtesy of Dr. John Langellier who is also tracking down Young's grave. There were reports he was buried at Boothill in Tombstone, but John has some solid evidence he was buried in Tucson (see last line, above: "Holy Hope cemetery"). His gravestone, if he had one, is missing. We may have to do something about this.

"A character should always have a secret."
—Ben Affleck

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Truth About The Kid In Black And White

March 23, 2016
   Robert Ray thinks I should do my Apache Kid story entirely in black and white. So I asked him to round up all my black and white work off of the server and a half day later, he showed me the 135 images. For example, here is the final master shot of the Apache Kid on a ridge in the Sierra Madres, standing defiant among the surrounding peaks. 

Daily Whip Out: "The Apache Kid Stands Defiant"

   You have to look close. He's just to the right of the bottom, left peak on that narrow ledge. Got it? Okay. Moving on. Of course, we get the Mickster riding in through the soot and ash of the surrounding devastating fires:

Daily Whip Out: "The Gray Ghost Rides In"

But not everyone is happy to see the Coyote:

Daily Whip Out: "El Jefe Puts The Hurt On Mickey"

   And what would a four star Western be without a four star beauty:

Daily Whip Out: "Four Star Beauty"

All of this intrigue and adventure takes place in the byzantine mountain ranges of Old Mexico:

Daily Whip Out: "Across The Sonoran Badlands"

   Many assume, incorrectly, that Mickey is slow on the draw with his clumsy "Big Fifty" rifle. But, what they overlook is what he produces in his left hand thru a slit in his patriotic poncho:

Daily Whip Out: "Mickey's Pistol In The Poncho Trick"

   After all, at the end of the day, Mickey Free is the coyote trickster.

"Well, maybe I will tell the entire story in black and white."

Talking Boy Talks & The Greatest Lawman of The 20th Century

March 23, 2016
   Every year I try to remember yesterday's date, because it was in Kingman, in 2008, at the Exits' Exit practice that I was playing "Wipeout" and proceeded to do just that. Forgot again this year. Oh, well, it's a luxury I have.

   Working on campfire facial glow. 

Daily Whip Out: "As The Embers Glow, Talking Boy Spins A Tall Tale"

Here's a slightly different version, although it appears to be another trooper, perhaps listening to Talking Boy (Tom Horn) lay it on thick.

Daily Whip Out: "Campfire Disbelief"

We're doing an excerpt from John Boessenecker's new book on a baby-faced lawman who survived 52 gunfights with desperadoes. Yes, fifty two! John makes a strong case that "he was the greatest American lawman of the 20th century."

Daily Whip Out: "Frank Hamer"

"The difficulty of not knowing are always greater than the effort of learning."
—Andrew Loomis

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Cover Wars

March 22, 2016
   We fight over our covers until the cows come home. Can you spot the May issue winner? (hint: upper, right) Hope you agree. Just went to press, so it's too late to change it!

Here's a better view:

The Winning Cover

Which is a blend of the alleged photo of the Kid with the binoculars and my painting, below:

Daily Whip Out: "The Apache Kid's Neck Mojo"

"Be so good they can't ignore you."
—Steve Martin

The Long Mesa, The Cloud Reader And The Path Untraveled

March 22, 2016
   Got up this morning and did an homage to one of the most stunning landscapes I have ever witnessed. In 1977 we were motoring between Kayenta and Canyon de Chelly in northern Arizona when I spied a mesa that went all the way across the horizon in a razor sharp straight line, with a just a blip at the very end.

Daily Whip Out: "The Long Mesa"

   Mickey Free was always reading clouds. He saw animals in them, he saw the future, he saw sign. Was he serious? Who knows? He was a coyote, after all. 

Daily Whip Out: "The Jackalope Cloud"

   I actually spent the better part of two days working on this ambitious little puppy.

Daily Whip Out: "The Path Untraveled And Unfinished"

   This is actually a redux of an earlier painting:

Daily Whip Out: "Mickey Free Skirts The Slagheap of History"

   I wanted to run this painting (above) as a doubletruck in the August issue of True West, but the main figure falls right in the fold, so, of course, I couldn't do it exactly the same way as before (one of my many ADD faults). Verdict still out. Need to let it rest for a while.

"If you are going to do your thinking at hog level, you're bound to get hog results."
—Maynard Dixon

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Gray Ghost

March 21, 2016
   Mickey Free rode through the soot and ash of the Mexican fires until he was coated, head to toe, hoof to horn. 

Daily Whip Out: "The Gray Ghost"

   Meanwhile, to the east, two riders cross the Mexican border on Texas John Slaughter's ranch, headed for Fronteras.

Daily Whip Out: "Two Rode Across"

   One of the riders is this cat:

Daily Whip Out: "Trigger" Jim Young

Of course, all three were after this guy:

Daily Whip Out: "Apache Raider-Apache Kid"

"Instead of trying to write a best-seller, try writing a great line."
—Old Writer Advice

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Unfinished Masterpieces?

March 19, 2016
   There is a new art show back east that features unfinished paintings. Several are quite amazing, like this one:

   This is a total revelation to me, because I was taught to paint all over the canvas and bring up the figures and the background all at the same time, so that no matter when you stop, it could be considered finished. I also am impressed by the ground on this painting. That would be the underpainting of gray that establishes, well, the ground floor, so to speak.

   Here's two more unfinished paintings (above), which I find quite compelling. So much so, I emulated the one on the right, in a daily whip out sketch:

Daily Whip Out: "Mickey Not Amused"

   It has made me look at some of my "unfinished" artwork with new eyes as well. Should I let them be, or try and finish them? Frankly, I never quite know. It's the eternal artistic question. Usually I overwork everything, but this purposely unfinished artwork has kind of opened my eyes to alternative endings. Here are a couple examples:

Unfinished Daily Whip Out: "Dust Storm Over Kayenta"

Unfinished Daily Whip Out: "The Gray Ghost"

Unfinished Daily Whip Out: "Fire On The Mountain"

"I who came to scorn, now remain to praise."
—Maynard Dixon, as quoted by his son John, after seeing a Vincent van Gogh painting on display in San Francisco

Friday, March 18, 2016

Mickey Free's Men Head South

March 18, 2016
   Mickey Free, Tom Horn and Texas John Slaughter's best cowboy, Jim Young, head across the border to bag the Apache Kid.

Daily Whip Out: "Mickey's Men Head South"

"We may get him yet."
—Paul Andrew Hutton, in his True West exclusive interview for the May issue

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Big Nose Kate's Grumpy Cuss Ol' Man

March 18, 2016
   Big Nose Kate lived with ornery Jack Howard for 30 years at Dos Cabezas. He was a grumpy cuss. 

Daily Whip Out: "Big Nose's Old Man"

"To be rich in friends is to be poor in nothing."
—Lilian Whiting

Tragic Pow Wow, Part II

March 17, 2016
   On June 1, 1887, the Apache Kid and four other scouts rode into San Carlos to face their fate. The Kid had killed another Apache and came in four days later with an armed escort of sympathetic Apaches.  In a tragic miscommunication (an interpreter made a circular sign which signified to the scouts that they were being arrested and sent to Florida) the Kid and the assembled scouts tried to grab back their weapons. In the melee that followed, Chief of Scouts Al Sieber was badly wounded in the leg. The Kid escaped along with some 17 other Apaches who followed the Kid, some on foot, as he made a feint to the west, then circled back towards Aravaipa Canyon, his home turf.

Daily Whip Out: "The Apache Kid & Crew Escapes"

   I'm also working on other characters for the story, including several black participants, like Jim Young:

Daily Whip Out: "Buffalo Soldiers, Scouts And Hired Hands"

Also, in the next issue we're running a piece on the man who lived with Big Nose Kate for 30 years.

Daily Whip Out: "Big Nose Kate's Ol' Man Jack Howard"

   I sometimes do sketches of people just to get an idea of how they would act, or react. Then, when I hit the wall with that, I switch to writing to see if I can find an answer that way. Looks like I'm not alone in this strategy:

"This is how I make a book: by hiding from writing by drawing, or the other way around."
—Edward Caren, in The New York Times

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Plumb Near Crazy

March 17, 2016
   He stands alone high on a ridge in the Sierra Madres (although those rocks look suspiciously like the rocks near my father's house in So-Hi Estates, which is near Castle Rock in the Cerbats, which is near Kingman, which is plumb near crazy).

Daily Whip Out: "The Apache Kid Rocks"

Proof Positive
   Here's a photo of my son Thomas Charles taken at his grandfather's spread in So-Hi Estates northeast of Kingman, circa mid-nineties. I took several shots of him posing on the very distinctive rocks in the Cerbat Range. That is Castle Rock in the upper left corner. And yes, the rocks were my inspiration for this morning's Daily Whip Out of The Apache Kid.

   I'm going to do a four-page treatment of the story in the August issue of True West. A treatment is like a manuscript, only more brief and the author is not so heavily invested in the outcome.

"I got rejected so fast, my manuscripts would hit me in the back of the head on my way back from the post office."
—Debbie Maccomber, author of the current best seller "A Girl's Guide to Moving On"