Thursday, June 30, 2016

Build Up To The Walk Down

June 30, 2016
   Working with a top Wyatt Earp author to try and make sense of the buildup to the Walk Down, which will be our cover story for September. Here are a few select quotes to help set the scene:

"The day the shooting commenced, I was standing there with Ike Clanton and Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury, and Johnny Behan. We were standing between the photograph gallery and the little house next to it."
—William Claiborne

"To all appearances, Tom McLaury was not armed at the time he was at the shop—there was nothing in sight to show he was armed. He had on a dark blue blouse of light material and dark pants and vest. The blouse came down about the length of his arms. It was outside of his pants."
—James Kehoe, a butcher at Bauer's meat market

So Much for Holsters
"[Wesley Fuller] relates of seeing Holliday put a six-shooter in his coat pocket at Fourth and Allen. Saw one in Morgan Earp's pocket, on the right side. Wyatt had one pushed down in his pants on the right side a little."
—Wesley Fuller, being paraphrased in cross examination, Spicer hearing

"I saw the Earps and Doc Holliday when they went down Fremont Street. I was right behind them. I went down behind them as far as the Post Office. I then crossed the street in front of what I believe is the courthouse."
—H.F. Sills

Daily Whip Outs: "Two New Views of The Walk Down"

   This bit of testimony has changed our understanding as to exactly where the Tombstone Post Office was at the time of the shooting. As Casey Tefertiller puts it: "Gary McClellan and Gaumer found various items that locate the PO in the building next to the Nugget. The Nugget was one lot East of the Papago Cash Store, which was separated by the Alley from the Union Meat Market (Bauer's). So, from West to East it goes: Union Market, alley, Papago Cash Store (located at end of alley), Nugget building, Post Office. There were then three more businesses before reaching Fourth Street."

   So, that would change the location of the Post Office to something like this:

Daily Whip Out: "New Location of The Tombstone Post Office"

   1. This is Hafford's Corner where the Earps and Holliday began their famous stroll. 2. is Brown's Hotel. 3. is the location where we thought the post office was originally. 4. Is The Capital Saloon. 5. Is the Post Office. 6. is The Nugget Newspaper. 7. Is the Papago Cash Store. 8. Is the rear entrance to the O.K. Corral. 9. Is Schieffelin Hall. 10 is The Mining Exchange Building, also known as the courthouse. 11. is the Tombstone Epitaph office. Interesting that the Epitaph and their competition, the Nugget, are directly opposite each other. This is also metaphorically true, as the Nugget took the cowboy's side in all the conflicts to follow.

Daily Whip Out: "Wyatt In His Prime"

"Wyatt Earp had on a short coat; did not have an overcoat on; it [his pistol] seemed to me an old pistol, pretty large, 14 or 16 inches long, it seemed to me."
—A. Bauer, butcher

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Roper With The Open-toed Sandals

June 29, 2016
   Charlie Russell and his wife Nancy, took an extended trip to Mexico in March and April of 1906. The pre-eminent Cowboy Artist traveled almost the entire country, or, as he put it in one of his letters to a friend, "I traversed from the northe to with in a 100 miles of the ismus and never saw wire, it's all open range." He meant barbed wire which by that time had conquered the U.S. rangelands, in spite of violent resistance in Texas and elsewhere.

   Russell did one sketch of a vaquero that is kind of mind blowing. It shows a vaquero in full gear, including Spanish spurs, but on closer inspection, you can clearly see he has on sandals!

Daily Whip Out: "The Roper With The Open-toed Sandals"

   Working on a couple line drawings inspired by Sergio Toppi, an Italian cartoonist and illustrator who has recently caught my eye. His design is superb and his draftsmanship is not too shabby either.

Daily Whip Out: "Bandido Blank Balloon"

   What the hell is he saying? My son thinks he's saying "Hijole!" (pronounced EE-ho-lay!) which is Spanglish for "Son of a. . ."

"Historians have now definitely established that Juan Cabrillo, discoverer of California, was not looking for Kansas, thus setting a precedent that continues to this day."
—Wayne Shannon

The Old Building

June 29, 2016
   When I first attended Mohave County Union High School in 1961 the county was growing so fast they built a string of modern structures, including a new gym, to the west of the "Old Building," and the just built structure was immediately dubbed the "New Building." Of course, once upon a time the "Old Building" was known far and wide as the "New Building" and the pride of Kingman and all of Mohave County. Kids were bused in from Wickiup, 55 miles to the south; Valentine and Peach Springs to the East; Dolan Springs to the north; and Bullhead City to the west. In some cases, the kids got on the bus in the dark to go to school and then, after school, rode the bus home and got off the bus in the dark. Mohave County Union High School was the only high school in the fifth largest county in the country and in the beginning everyone in all four grades fit inside this "New Building."

The "Old Building" When It Was New

   The "Old Building" burned down in a suspicious fire about 25 years ago. For one thing it's all concrete, so it would be hard to burn unless you really, really wanted to see it go, and allegedly some local politicians wanted exactly that. Whatever the truth of these pernicious rumors, I used to walk down the hallway of the main floor (the row of windows above the lower horizontal dividing line) and stop at my mother's class picture (Bobbie Guess, class of 1939) and marvel at being in the same school building she graduated from way back in those ancient days of yore. Never mind that the distance back to my graduation spans 51 years while the distance from my gazing back to her day was only 21 years). I imagine she and her thirty-some classmates always referred to the school house as the "New Building."

   Now all of the "kids" who attended classes with me in the "New Building" are old, but I would bet you almost everyone of them would refer to the photo, above, as the "Old Building."

"The beauty of a face is a frail ornament, a passing flower, a moment's brightness belonging only to the skin."

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Three Riders Four Clouds And One Moon

June 28, 2016
   Went home for lunch and finished a Mickey Free on the hunt for the Apache Kid with Tom Horn and Jim Young piece.

Daily Whip Out: "Three Riders Four Clouds And One Moon"

   Mickey always looked to the sky for sign as much as he looked at the ground. Back and forth he looked. Drove Tom Horn crazy. But in the end, it was a set of zig zag clouds that pointed the way to the Apache Kid's hiding place.

Zig Zag cloud reference I captured this morning on my morning walk.

Artwork to follow.

"I am going to rattle down through the ages. . .I am damn near eternal."
—Frederic Remington


Duel In The Sun (Or In A Quiet Place)

June 28, 2016
   I was recently interviewed for a documentary on the popularity of the lone gunman, which, in light of recent events, made me wince. It's true I have made it my life work to illustrate the gunslingers of the Old West, but when I am asked a question that begins, "Why do you think the idea of a lone man with a gun is so popular?" the core concept seems a bit tainted in this day and age.

Hugh O'Brian as Wyatt Earp with his extra long appendage pointed in the right direction

   Of course, the real Wyatt Earp knew a thing or two about gunfighting:

Daily Whip Out: "This Fight Has Commenced"

   One guy basically invented the idea of the frontier gunslinger, and he was notorious for having two pistols:

Daily Whip Out: "Wild Bill Hickok Draws Iron"

   And, street fights elicited random gunfire which almost always produced a victim, or two:

Daily Whip Out: "Shot Down"

   As time went on, in the age of atom bombs, the idea of the gunfighter became somehow antiquated and "safe," to audiences of the 1950s:

Daily Whip Out: "Big Iron On His Hip"

   So, in today's world the idea of a guy walking around looking for solutions with a hog leg, can be perceived as somewhat primitive.

"Nobody ever forgets where he buried the hatchet."
—Kin Hubbard

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."
—Mark Twain

Prickly Pear And Mickey Free Redux

June 28, 2016
   File this one in the Can't Leave Well Enough Alone Department: 

Daily Whip Out: "Mickey Rides Through Cactus Field Redux" 

Hint: added additional, negative space, pricks to the prickly pears. Plus, redid Mickey to give a hint of his flag-draped poncho.

Couldn't resist "improving" another finished whip out:

Daily Whip Out: "Trigger Jim Young Redux"

Of course, both scenes are for the Mickey Free graphic novel, and that train has left the station (or, at least the excerpt "treatment" of a graphic novel).

History Repeats Itself
   The next issue of True West (August) will start dropping in subscriber's mailboxes this week. To long time readers it may look familiar:

Mickey Free Redux: Nov-Dec 2008 and August 2016 covers

This is the second cover we have dedicated to a Mickey Free graphic novel by the Top Secret Writer and myself. And, actually it's our third pass at the story (I did a two-page graphic cinema version as well), so we are hoping this is a third time is the charm deal. We'll soon see. Now, the question is, should I keep hammering on it, or should I let it go? I wonder what the Old Vaqueros have to say about that? 

"Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Monday, June 27, 2016

First Monsoon of the season

June 27, 2016
   The first monsoon blew in tonight over Ratcliff Rdige at about 7:30. Sprinkling out at 8:23 p.m. Air is cooler. Going to be muggy tomorrow, but a nice relief tonight.

Monsoon storm over Ratcliff Ridge

And here's a closer look at the same storm system:

Ratcliff Ridge In Twilight

      Went to Harold's for dinner. Met Amy's mom and fiance there and had a grand time.

"Art is certainly not a pursuit for anyone who wants to make money There are ever so many other better ways."
—Robert Henri

On the other hand:

"The reason so many artists have lived to great age is they have lived living, whereas most people live dying."
—Robert Henri (pronounced On-rye)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Baby Gangster's Paradise

June 26, 2016
   We've got a house full of kids so I haven't had a whole lot of time to work on painting, but I did noodle four skies in between Racliff Ridge trips, eating homemade Thai food and swimming sessions. 

Daily Whip Out: "Skies In Progress"

   We broke out some of the old photo albums today and noticed a couple parallels to the past. Here's a photo of Kathy with Thomas Charles, at left, circa 1986 and at right is Thomas Charles with his daughter Harper taken yesterday:

A Baby Gangster's Paradise

   The Bortschellers are en route to their cold home (Deena texted me the highs all week in Seattle and it was nothing but 70s all the way to Sunday). Before they left we took a selfie of the entire brood:

The whole fam-damily: Pattarapan, Mike, Weston, Deena, BBB, Kathy, Harper and Thomas.

"I have nothing to say, I am saying it, and that is poetry."
—John Cage, in his 1961 "Lecture On Nothing"

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Solving Life With My Kids And Their Kids

June 25, 2016
 Fathers can only relax when their kids are home. I got this from Sandra Day O'Connor's father who said he couldn't totally relax unless his kids were in his house. Here are both my kids with their kids at our kitchen table.

Thomas, Harper, Deena and Weston in our kitchen this afternoon,
solving life and laughing. Doesn't get any better than this.

Friday, June 24, 2016

High On Ratcliff Ridge

June 24, 2016
   "Look how big they are grandpa." Weston said, high on Ratcliff Ridge. He turned three today.

Weston admires the mighty saguaros that spike Ratcliff Ridge

Weston In Awe of a giant saguaro on Ratcliff Ridge

"How'd they get so big, grandpa?"

"They drank a lot of water.."

"Why'd they drink so much water, grandpa?"

"They're very thirsty."

"Why are they so thirsty, grandpa?"

"It's the desert."

"Why is it the desert, grandpa?"

"Oh, look a bunny!"

Working on hand gestures. 

Daily Whip Out: "Finger Pointing Study"

"Nobody ever forgets where he buried the hatchet."
—Kin Hubbard

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Weston Watering, Tall Walking Clouds & Whining Weather Wimps

June 23, 2016
   Got a full house this morning, with all the kids here, along with their spouses and their kids. One of them has a birthday tomorrow. He'll be three. Today, he and I hit the road early, before sunrise to get out and see Cactusland and all the "funny bunnies" on the road. I counted four, but when I asked Weston to tell everyone how many he saw, he counted to 20, so I feel pretty confident he has a future in media.

   When we got back from our walk he helped me water.

Weston Watering A Very Thirsty Spanish Dagger

Leave it to the Navajos to come up with the perfect name for those magnificent summer storms that roll through northern Arizona in the summer time. 

Daily Whip Out: "Tall Walking Rain"

To All You Whining Weather Wimps

   My good friend E.J. Montini has written some excellent columns over the past three decades, but today's column in the Arizona Republic is required reading for anyone who wants to call themselves a Zonie. In part he say, in regard to everyone whining about our furnace like heat: "Heat is good."

"It doesn't feel like it. but it is.

"Heat keeps us honest.

"Heat reminds us that paradise comes with a price. . ." and then he offers this advice:

"Okay, get a pencil.

"Are you ready? Here goes:

"Shut up."

E.J. goes on to say he often gets calls from out-of-state journalists researching our heat waves and who always want to know how we can "bear to live in such a place" as Arizona. Here's how he answers them:

"I say, first, that we can 'bear to live in such a place' because Arizona is beautiful.

"I say, our city, our state is unrelentingly interesting, filled with curious, furious, passionate people of all ages and ethnicities and political persuasions.

"I say that people who live in Arizona don't back down after that first really hot day in June. When Arizona's big, nasty summer is waiting for us jut ourside our front door, thrusting his chest at us and breathing his terrible hot breath in our faces.

"I say the reason we can 'bear to live' in the desert is because we love it here. And because we are not wimps."

Pretty cool, eh? Like I said, required reading if you want to live here and call yourself a Zonie.

"In America there are two classes of travel—first and with children."
—Robert Benchley

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Save A Prayer for Lefty Too, He Only Did What He Had to Do

June 22, 2016
   Did a scratchboard this morning before I came into work for my good friends down at Santo Press. This is inspired by the Willie Nelson-Merle Haggard song. 

Daily Whip Out: "Save A Prayer for Lefty Too."

   Working on a big feature on the most famous stroll in the history of the West. That would be the walk these guys took:

Daily Whip Out: "The Walk Down"

   We're going to track everyone's movements on the morning of October 26, 2016. You know, stuff like this: "I slept late the day of the shooting. Got up about one or half-past one o'clock. I went to the barber shop to get shaved." Or, so said Sheriff John Behan.

"I was coming from my house to Bauer's meat market to get some meat for dinner. I saw quite a number of men standing in a group together on the sidewalk by the door of the market, and I passed on into the shop to get what I went for, and the parties in the shop were excited and did not seem to want to wait upon me."
—Martha J. King

"I was standing at the Post Office with Mr. Dillen of the firm of Dillen and Kenealy. . .I walked down as far as Fly's [rooming house], and there I saw Sheriff Behan and four farmers. As I approached, one of them, Mr. William Clanton, put his hand on his pistol, as if in fear of somebody. When he recognized me he removed his hand."
—William Cuddy

   Of course, we all know where this story ends:

DailyWhip Out: "Wyatt In Hollywood"

"And long may his story be told."
—Wyatt Earp theme song

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Raiders On The Mesa And Horses Hate Horseradish

June 21, 2016
   Went home for lunch and finished two paintings. Not sure if it's the excessive heat, or what, but I'm, ahem, on fire. First up, I finished a cover assignment for Chuck Parsons:

Daily Whip Out: "Jack Helm Rides On" (final)

   I also whipped out another summer cloud painting I've had lying around in my discard pile for a couple months:

Daily Whip Out: "Raiders On The Mesa"

Yesterday I also finished a couple of paintings for an upcoming True West Moment:

Daily Whip Out: "Horseradish"

   Have you ever sat around wondering why it's called horseradish? Well, I have. Turns out horseradish is deadly to horses. Is that weird?

Daily Whip Out: "Horses Hate Horseradish And The Feeling Is Evidently Mutual"

Look for these two paintings to be paired together in an upcoming True West Moment. Although all these heat paintings are somewhat successful I always remember what the old vaqueros say:

"The two hardest things to handle in life are failure and success."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Memories of Home

June 21, 2016
   Cooler out this morning. Only 90 degrees at 6:45. I know this is ridiculous, but given the record heat of the last two days, it actually feels cool.

   Someone sent me a photo of a dramatic sunset near Kingman (was it you Ray Short?) and I found it this morning and it inspired this study.

Daily Whip Out: "Memories of Home"

I also worked on a rough for a friend of mine who is doing a book on a bad boy named Jack Helm:

Daily Whip Out: "Jack Helm Rides On"

Well, full disclosure, he didn't ride far. He was shot down by one of my "kin"—John Wesley Hardin.

More Blowback On Thoreau vs. Threw
Come on Bob, do you really expect English speaking and spelling people to interpret San Jacinto to replace a "J" with and "H" when reading a name? Or replace an  "I" with and "E" or an "OIS" with "WAH"? If you want English people to pronounce it the Spanish way when reading a name, spell it the English way and we will pronounce it as the Spanish do. Maybe we should pronounce Illinois as "Illinwah" or Jackson as "Hackson". Use some common sense, we are taught to speak words as they are spelled in English. You can not expect everyone to know just how a word is pronounced in other languages. Sometimes we know, but most of the time it is merely a guess. Do you really expect everyone to know how to pronounce every word in every language?
Other than that, I enjoy your articles.
—Bob Beian

   I hear you but I'm not sure it has anything to do with common sense. We all pronounce cafe as Ka-fay, even though it looks like Kafe to an English speaker. We all say Canyon de Shay even though it looks like Chelly and we even say Ah-ho, even though Ajo looks like A-Joe. And we all say Muggy-own Rim even though it looks like Mongollian (Mogollon). It is just very weird how some names get bent and others do not. That's my point.

   And, by the way, how do you pronounce Beian? Is it Bee-Ian? Or Bean?


I got this back from Mr. Beian: "It is the town in Norway where my father came from and it's pronounced Bay on" So let's see if I got this straight: a fellow Norsky who has a weird spelling of a foreign name is taking me to task for not cutting him slack on mispronunciation of Spanish, French and proper names like Thoreau? Kind of proves my point, no?

"Every generation laughs at the old fashions but religiously follows the new."
—Henry David Thoreau

Monday, June 20, 2016

Plunging Back Into Zig Zag Canyon

June 20, 2016
   One might think I have had my fill of Zig Zag Canyon. The issue featuring it is at the printer and I should move on. Certainly the Distinguished Professor has had his fill of it, but not me.

Daily Whip Out: "As The Storm Rolled In We Plunged Into Zig Zag Canyon"

   I guess I have been inspired by a couple new books I got on Sergio Toppi, the Italian graphic genius who created wonderful layouts with deft drawings galore.

Daily Whip Out: "The Owl Perched On Coyote Rock
 at The Entrance to Zig Zag Canyon"

   Okay, so I shifted gears to work on a Mexican monte game.

Daily Whip Out: "Mexican Monte: I Call"

Daily Whip Out: "The Mexican Monte Player"

"Forgetfulness is a form of freedom."
—Khalil Gibran

Welcome to Hell, Population Two, Little Ol' Me And A Melting You

June 20, 2016
   First day of summer. Not sure I am ready for the heat. That was a joke. Yesterday it was a record 118 degrees. Four people died over the weekend from hiking! Hard to believe anyone would even attempt it. Just walking from the house to the studio was like walking through a blast furnace. Can't imagine what it was like being here in the old days. Well, actually I can. There was no AC in cars back in my day and evap coolers were few and far between. One of my fondest memories of growing up in Kingman was sitting in front of the window with the air evaporative cooler at my grandmother's house on Jefferson Street. It was only cool right there at the point of entry and the rest of the house was stifling, but, oh was that one spot heavenly. Also, the banging rhythms of that old box takes me back.

Searing Bridles On The Yuma Stage

   I was reading about a stagecoach journey from Prescott to Yuma in the 1870s and as the team descended down out of the Bradshaw mountains into the Salome—Quartzite area, the coach pulled into a stage station and the stage hands, who changed out the teams, could not touch the metal bridles without burning their hands. They had heated up that much. Imagine how that tortured those horses.

   It was 93 degrees in Flagstaff and 102 degrees in Prescott. The Yuma-Blythe corridor hit 120s.

   Of course, some of my earliest memories are of heatwaves moving across the rippling highway with rivers of undulating air crossing the road in the distance:

Daily Whip Out: "Heatwave Hitcher"

   The rippling horizon still eludes me as an effect. For one thing, it doesn't bend the near stuff, only the horizon.

I remember going by a desert house near Happy Valley Road in north Phoenix. My roommate, Charlie Christie had an aunt and uncle who were living in a homemade rock house up in the lava beds on the west side of I-17. This was in 1966 and we were on our way back from Kingman to the U of A in Tucson and he wanted to stop and say hello. It was June and very hot out. I remember the old couple (probably in their early sixties) were readers and their house was full of makeshift bookcases and the books were almost steaming it was so hot. When we pulled up they were sitting in the narrow shade on the northside of the house, panting. They looked miserable. I wondered how long they would survive out in this heat.

It was 85 degrees this morning at 5:30 and by 9:30 when I went into work it was already 108. The only positive is, it keeps the riff raff out, at least in the summer. Nice easy drive to work. No cars. Ha.

"Welcome to Hell, population two, little old me and melting you. . .local attraction the heartbreak sea. . .a dry wishing well, welcome to hell."
—Mudcrutch, Tom Petty's new/old band on my new favorite song, "Welcome to Hell"