Saturday, July 30, 2016

Monsoon Madness #6

July 30, 2016
   Big storm last night. Actually dropped some rain.

Daily Whip Out: "Monsoon Madness #6"

Ah, to be sensitive to the weather.

"It is all very well to call him a white-livered cur, a bully, a coward, a liar and a psychotic murderer but to name him as a queer is going too far."
—Keth Dunstan, Australian journalist reacting to a claim the outlaw Ned Kelly and his gang were homosexuals

Friday, July 29, 2016

Monsoon Madness, Part IV and V

July 29, 2016
   Got up and got out on the road at 5:30 this morning, but it was already 84 degrees out. Big clouds to the west. Came home and tried to capture the nuances of it, but pretty much failed.

Daily Whip Out: "Monsoon Madness #4"

   Grabbed some other boards and finished them in the heat of the moment, playing with the theme of Monsoon Madness.

Daily Whip Out: "Monsoon Madness #5"

   Of course, it will blow and blow and then out of the blue (out of the brown?) will come a gully washer and we will have too much water.

Daily Whip Out: "Monsoon Onslaught"

In terms of misery, I think I am hard pressed to beat a cartoon I did on Monsoons for New Times Weekly back in the eighties.

Daily Whip Out: "Monsoon Mama"

"The weather eventually changes, beer and wine remain."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Monsoon Madness, Part III

July 28, 2016
   How do you stay married for 37 years? Don't ask me, I just lucked into it. To celebrate, I did join Kathy at a "Flow" class down at the Y this morning at 7:15 a.m. Ridiculous stretching in all the wrong directions, but, hey, sometimes you've got to give a little pay back for all the times I have made her sit through a history conference.
   Speaking of taking the heat, I took another crack at Monsoon Madness this morning.

Daily Whip Out: "Rain, Rain, Come This Way."

   And here's a Throwback Thursday look at my longtime girlfriend:

Sold American!

   This was a PR shot of Kathy I took back in the mid-eighties when she was a real estate agent in Cave Creek with Lew and Tara Jones. Not a bad design with the adobe roof line angles, although technically she appears to be selling our own home.

"Rain, rain, come our way, and come back again some other day."
—parody of old nursery rhyme

The Buffalo Soldiers 150th Birthday Is Today

July 28, 2016
   Author John Langellier is speaking at 1 p.m. today at Fort Concho, Texas on the 150th birthday of the Buffalo Soldiers. He moves on to Houston to the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum to celebrate the annual 9th and 10th Horse Cavalry Association reunion. Here he is on July 26 speaking at Fort Davis, Texas:

  John Langellier holds up the August issue of True West magazine for the folks in Fort Davis.

   John has been a busy boy.

John had a special batch of Buffalo Brew beer bottled for the occasion. 

   Speaking of strange brew, I have made some boneheaded mistakes in my time on this planet but this was not one of them:

Today marks our 37th wedding anniversary

"You don't believe in rheumatism and true love until they first attack you."
—Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, 1881

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Monsoon Madness, Day 2

July 26, 2016
Took another shot at Monsoon Madness this morning.

Daily Whip Out: "Caprock Deluge." 

  Lots of storm clouds in our area but, so far, no rain to speak of. One of these days.

  Like many people on Facebook, I get nervous when ads start following me around. But, my inrterest in good illustration obviously landed the Facebook fan page of Franklin Booth on my clipboard and, intrigued by the pen and ink drawing  there, I clicked on it. Whoa! Dang this guy was good. The drama, the design, the murky, specially chosen values. Just brilliant work and I had never heard of him before today. In my defense, I've only been seeking out good illustration for the past 50 years.

Franklin Booth pen and ink from "The Victor Book of The Opera," 1929

"Mephistopheles," Franklin Booth pen and ink from "The Victor Book of The Opera," 1929

Here's the fan page for Franklin Booth if you want to see more.

"One brave deed makes no hero."
—John Greenleaf Whittier

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Name Game With Will C. Barnes

July 26, 2016

He Names Names And In The Process, Makes Quite A Name for Himself
   Private Will Croft Barnes received the Medal of Honor for his "bravery in action" when he made a daring ride from Fort Apache (which was under siege by Apache warriors) to Fort Thomas in 1881 to seek help. After he left the service in 1883 be became a rancher in northern Arizona, then served in the state legislature and wrote several books, including his classic "Arizona Place Names" which compiles information from "old timers, Indians, Mexicans, cowboys, sheep-herders, historians" and anybody who had a story as to the origin and meaning of Arizona names. The U.S. Army Reserve Center in Phoenix and the Fort Huachuca Field House are named in his honor. You might say Will made quite a name for himself.

Daily Whip Out: "Will C. Barnes"

Love the guy and all he stands for: trying to find the truth. Dig it.

"Half of the world's misery comes from ignorance.
The other half comes from intelligence."

—Bonar Thompson

Monsoon Madness: Day 1

July 26, 2016
   This is the time of year when Zonies with the means flee to higher country. Some go to Prescott (Ed Mell, you lucky dog, I'm looking right at you) or Flag (too many lucky dogs to mention), others go to Colorado to escape the scorching summer heat that squats on us this time of year.

   But for those of us who are too poor to go anywhere, or have jobs that require us to endure the Monsoon Madness on a daily basis (or, in my case, both), the daily torture does have its small  perks. For one thing, we have the most incredible clouds that stack up almost every day.

Daily Whip Out: "Upper Canyon de Chelly Thunderheads Roll In."

    I guess you could call this Monsoon Madness. We certainly get some crazy clouds.

Shelf Cloud #1

Shelf Cloud #2

   If I saw this in a painting I would probably accuse the artist of contrivance, but there that sucker is, piling up like a Tyrannosaurus Rex lunging over Ratcliff Ridge. I have made a vow to do a different Monsoon Madness painting every day until this stifling heat goes away, or I do. Full disclosure: we've got a getaway planned for August 10.

"I've looked at clouds from both sides now."
—Joni Mitchell

Monday, July 25, 2016

Tom Horn Cuts for Sign and Evenezer Gilpin Admits, "Nobody Can Soldier Without Coffee"

July 25, 2016
   I get up at 5:30 and head out on the road for my daily walk. When I get back I start noodling ideas in my sketchbook. Pictures I want to do, ideas for future stories (Huck threatened to "light out for the territories" and I wonder what that story would look like?) Found a new pen and ink master I greatly admire: Franklin Booth. Joined the group and want to oder a book by him. Got a decent likeness of Tom Horn sifting sand and thought it might make a good study.

Daily Whip Outs: "Tom Horn Studies"

   Went home for lunch and took a shot at the study I did in the morning of Tom Horn checking for sign.

Daily Whip Out: "Tom Horn Tracker."

   Had a good hat going, but ruined it. Went too far with the black. I could just kick myself, but, hey, you don't know how far you can go until you go too far.

   Gay Mathis did a Civil War post this morning on coffee and I just have to share one of the lines:

   In April 1865, at the bloody, bitter end of the Civil War, Ebenezer Nelson Gilpin, a Union cavalryman, wrote in his diary, "Everything is chaos here. The suspense is almost unbearable."
"We are reduced to quarter rations and no coffee," he continued. "And nobody can soldier without coffee."

Buffalo Brew Hits New Mexico And The Gringoderos Hit Old Mexico!

July 25, 2016
   Over the weekend I was looking at old sketchbooks and found a rough that had potential, so I took a swing at it this morning before I came into work.
Daily Whip Out: "The Gringoderos!" 

      Yes, that's Jim Young, Mickey Free and Tom Horn, covering each other in Mexico.

   John Langellier continues on his Border to Border Buffalo Soldiers Tour. Here he is last night at Fort Stanton, New Mexico. He appears to have brought along some specially brewed Buffalo Brew. The logo was designed by Dan The Man Harshberger.

Nice. Wish I was there.

"When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy, it ceases to be a subject of interest."
—William Hazlett

Friday, July 22, 2016

Old Puncher New Process Same Ol' Obstacles

July 22, 2016
   Still tearing through sketches as fast as I can every morning from about 7 to 8. I am inspired by Nora Ephram's sister, who Kathy heard on NPR, who said you have to sit at the desk and not do anything else but the task at hand. No emails, no posting on Facebook (ahem). She was referring to writing, but I applied it to sketching. As Chuck Close puts it, "All ideas come out of the work itself." Did a dozen sketches yesterday, culminating with this one. 

Daily Whip Out: "Old Puncher."

   Lots of loosey goosey sketches led me there. Here's a taste:

Daily Whip Outs: "Gesture Drawings @ 7:06"

Daily Whip Outs: "Gesture Drawing @ 7:12"

Daily Whip Outs: "Gesture Drawings @ 7:20"

Daily Whip Out: "Over Fed Red-Eyed Wolf Study"

Hard work. Mixed results, many dead ends and a few inspired leaps of imagination which came out of just staying in the chair and doing it. Gee, I wonder what a legendary writer has to say about this?

"Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself."
—William Faulkner

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Minimize Face Time And Seeking Answers Where There Are None

July 21, 2016
   So much of art and life is counter-intuitive. If you want to truly grasp something, sometimes you have to let go. Often, things get too complicated and you need to strip it down. Sometimes it's about what you leave out. 

Daily Whip Out: "Minimize Face Time."

   Sometimes it's about being loosey goosey, which is just another way of saying, "let go" and see where it wants to go:

Daily Whip Out: "Wild Bill Hickok Study"

   And sometimes it's about being planning, good photo reference, adhering to tight, concise work:

Daily Whip Out: "Prince of The Pistoleers"

And other times it's about drawing the first thing that comes into  your mind:

   More often than not, the answer is, there sometimes is no answer, just conundrums and puzzles with hundreds of unseen solutions. And sometimes the only way to find those answers is to keep on working, even when it seems like everything is futile. If this sounds a little angst ridden it's because two artist friends of mine are going through a rough patch and have lost their muse, as they say in Marfa. I want to give them some words of encouragement and, so here you go, amigos.

"All ideas come out of the work itself."
—Chuck Close

Thunderheads Galore

July 21, 2016
   It's still very hot out on the great Sonoran Desert, but this is the time of year when we start to get the late afternoon cloud buildups.

Daily Whip Out: "Tall Walking Clouds"

   I have three art prints of this scene and they are each available for $45 plus $5 S&H. Send me an email if you are want one:

Cloud buildup over Ratcliff Ridge

      Like I said, it's still scorching hot out, but the daily thunderheads make some of us so very happy.

"My armpits are sweated out, but I'm so happy!"

"Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was."
—Dag Hammarskjold

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ranger Gary Cozzens to The Rescue on McSween Ruins Photo

July 20, 2016
   Okay, regarding the alleged photo of the McSween house ruins which I posted yesterday on the anniversary of the Big Killing, I was able to get the real skinny on the photograph from the park ranger at Lincoln. Here is his reply to the veracity of the photo:

The photograph of the McSween house ruins

"This is the house Susan McSween lived in after the McSween House burned down during the Big Killing.  This house is where Arrowsmith's Store is now.  That is the Gallegos House immediately behind it and across the street is the house where Annie Marie's Coffee shop  is now.  The Gallegos House was built circa 1900."
—Gary Cozzens Park Ranger at Lincoln

The Gallegos House, which is Gary Cozzens' headquarters.

   So this photo is post 1900 and the ruins are from Susan McSween's second house. This is so typical of well meaning, but wrong information that ends up being about half right. My guess is someone came to Lincoln, asked where Mrs. McSween lived and when they were shown her second home in ruins they assumed it was the house that Billy the Kid escaped from. Honest mistake, or outright fakery, either way it's misinformation, but it is critical to have the right people on site to vet these claims, as in this case with Mr. Cozzens. That said, I am sad to report that Gary is retiring, effective July 29. This is a loss to the state of New Mexico and to anyone who loves the true history of Billy the Kid country.

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Anniversary of Billy's Backyard Ballet

July 19, 2016
   It was tonight, July 19, 1878, just after dark, that Billy Bonney and the last remaining MeSween supporters made their break from the last burning room of the 12-room adobe house. Here is a very rare photograph of the McSween house ruins before it was bulldozed.

The McSween House ruins

   To my eye it looks like this photo was taken after 1900, but it could be earlier. The handwriting on the photo looks like the style I have seen on earlier photos, maybe 1890s?

"The Kid was lively and McSween was sad. McSween sat with his head down and the Kid shook him and told him to get up, that they were going to make a break."
—Susan McSween (who, by the way, wasn't there)

"When Billy the Kid jumped out of that burning house and survived the gauntlet of gunfire he became the most famous man in New Mexico. When he escaped hanging and jumped out of the courthouse just down the street he became the most famous man in the country. Walter Noble Burns did the rest."

Mickey Free And The Curse of The Coyote Clouds

July 19, 2016
   Went home for lunch and finished one of the last coyote sky paintings. I blocked in the skies several weeks ago and have been attacking the bottom of the paintings when I get a chance. I actually have one more, but thought three makes a fine trio.

Daily Whip Out: "Curse of The Coyote"

   This completes my cloud trilogy.

Daily Whip Out: "Coyote In The Clouds"

Daily Whip Out: "Sign of The Coyote at The Mouth of Zig Zag Canyon"

"Dyin' ain't much of a livin', Boy."
—Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood) in "The Outlaw Josie Wales"

A Frontier Swinger

July 19, 2016
   We're working on a cover story about a frontier guy who was a swinger. I mean that in the dancing sense and the sexual sense. My good neighbor, Tom Augherton, is writing the story and it's a dilly.

Charles Lummis executing the "cradle" in New Mexico.

Oh, and he also saved all the Spanish Missions in California. Interesting cat, to say the least.

"My name is Lummis—I'm the West
For culture I don't give a hang
I hate the puny East, although
I can't conceal my Yankee twang.

My trousers are corduroy,
Ditto my jacket and my vest,
For I'm the wild and wooly boy;
My name is Lummis—I'm the West

I am the mountains and the sea,
I am the salty plains between;
You've seen the orange crop? That's me;
I did it with my magazine.

My monthly Indian reports,
Drier than old Mojave's breast
Where the uncultured jackass sports;
My name is Lummis—I'm the West.

Who first beheld the Indian race?
Columbus, say you?—Tisn't true!
I was the first to see his face—
I've had it copyrighted, too.

I'm local color—Sitting Bull—
Tracy the Bandit—Teddy's guest—
The atmosphere is full of Me.
Charles F. Lummis, who's the West"
—Miss Emily Coey, who once dressed up like Lummis and spoofed him with this parody poem

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Kid Crease

July 18, 2016
   I'm always on the lookout for Billy the Kid's distinctive hat style from his only known photo. Almost everyone assumes it's a top hat, but it's really just a haphazardly-pinched-crease on the crown of a modest-brimmed cowboy hat. Today while proofing an article on drought in the Texas Panhandle in the 1880s I came across this cowhand:

Here's the cowboy in context:

XIT Roundup photograph

   Yes, the photo is a little late, probably turn of the century (1900) but I believe this is the style of hat crease the Kid is wearing in this photo:

The Stoved In Style

   Since he tipped his brim up, probably at the suggestion of the photographer, the stoved in crease created the exaggerated angular look to the crown. It looks a tad odd to us today but it was all the go back in the day.

"There are only two kinds of men—the dead and the deadly."
—Helen Rowland

The Black Hole of History & Kickin' Up Dust In The Cerbats

July 18, 2016
   The more I study history the more I have to agree with Chuck Klosterman: "History is defined by people who don't really understand what they are defining." Too true. And, this really relates to a certain one-eyed captivo who, I believe, has never received his proper due.

Daily Whip Out: "Mickey Free Lost In The Black Hole of History"

   Also working on a commission for a Kingman friend of mine.

Work In Progress: "Beale's Camel Corp Kicks Up Dust In The Cerbats"

   It's windy, it's spitting rain and those are the mighty Haulapais in the background. Love those mountains and my home country.

"I used to have power, but old age snuck up on me."
—Chief Dan George, in "The Outlaw Josey Wales"

Friday, July 15, 2016

Mickey Free Gets A Rave, Or Two

July 15, 2016
   Today is the day that Mickey Free hits the newsstand. 

Back to back Mickeys: December 2008—August 2016

Subscribers have been getting the issue all this past week and a few comments have begun to trickle in at the True West World Headquarters:

MAGNIFICENT issue. Gawd, I love it — bought two copies; one to keep and one to carve up into office art. What a home run. If anybody tells you to ease up on the Mickey Free/Chiricahua Apache business, you know what to do.

Plugged it here:   and on Facebook.

I'd love to see more on the Mex Rev, too. Really appreciated the piece on Pascual Orozco.

—Jim Cornelius
Editor, The Nugget Newspaper

And I just got this from a well known author:

This is fabulous what you've done with Mickey Free and this wild and colorful novel right in the middle of your magazine!  You're sure to hear this and that about this leap to fiction, but I think it is great: a rich journal is richer.  You've designed a magazine where you can't open to a page and be transported or wish to go on a trip (or rob a train or steal a horse or at least sleep out in the backyard) and you've only enhanced that imaginative tour with this graphic novel.  I love it.
—Ron Carlson

"This is one of my most favorite issues of TRUE WEST, Bob. And I ain't foolin', neither!"
—Chris Casey, Stillwater, OK

"I really didn't say everything I said."
—Yogi Berra

Standing On A Corner In Tombstone, Arizona

July 15, 2016
   Still taking the heat—and dishing the heat—on the Tombstone fight. I almost always find new things when we delve into the famous affray.

A Telling Quote
   We have this popular image of Doc Holliday and the Earp boys strapping their holsters on, checking for cartridges and thumbing the hammers, but here is an eyewitness account on the events of October 26, 1881: "I saw Holliday put [a six-shooter] in his coat pocket. I saw one in Morgan Earp's pocket, on the right side of his coat. Wyatt had his right back here, (indicating) stuck in his pants. I think a little on the right side. . .I was about 10 or 12 feet from Holliday, Morg and Virg."
—Wesley Fuller, testifying at the Spicer Hearing

So Much For Holsters
   Meanwhile, another eye witness saw Virgil standing with two other men. "I saw the marshal in the doorway of a vacant store with a double-barreled shotgun. He had the shotgun in his left hand."

Daily Whip Out: "Standing On A Corner In Tombstone, Arizona"

   Yes, The man in gray, Dr. John Henry Holliday, stood out in the intersection of Fourth and Allen Streets and eyed Frank McLaury, who stood for a time at the corner of Fourth and Fremont Streets holding the reins to his horse and eyeing Doc and the Earps and the crowd standing in front of Brown's Hotel.

Was Doc Pickled?
   Several in the Earp field have disputed my quip in The New York Times that the lesson of the O.K. fight is "don't bring a drunk dentist to make an arrest." One prominent Earp expert said, "We have no evidence Doc was drunk at the time of the fight." Well, okay, but couldn't you also make the opposite claim: "We have no evidence Doc wasn't drunk at the time of the fight." Since my father was an alcoholic I think I know a little bit about how alcoholics function, day to day, and my response to the Earp expert was, "How long do you think an alcoholic waits to have a drink when he gets up?" Short answer, not two-and-a-half hours. Okay, to be fair, let's say Doc got up at noon (both Sheriff Behan and Wyatt Earp got up around noon since they were out gambling most of the night). By 2:30 how many drinks do you think an alcoholic like Doc would have consumed? I would be willing to bet the answer is not zero. And, I think it's safe to say, the odds are that Doc Holliday had more than one drink in the two-and-a-half hour run-up to the fight. And I don't think it's out of the question that he was lit up by the time of the fight. At least lit up enough to make a threatening move with a shotgun, even though Virgil asked him to be cool. The Earp experts don't want to admit he was in his cups, because it makes the Earp side look bad, reckless even.

"There is nothing for a case of nerves like a case of beer."
—Joan Goldstein