Sunday, December 31, 2017

Cowboys Horrified By New York Times Hat Blasphemy

December 31, 2017
   Cowboys everywhere are horrified by today's New York Times hat scandal. 

"Utter blasphemy!" cried cowboy hat wearers
from around the world.

Here's The Deal

  You never, ever place a cowboy hat with the brim down on a flat surface as these east coast yahoos have brutally done. They have sullied the late Sam Shepard's hat on the cover of New York Times Magazine. Mr. Shepard was a true lover of the West and all of its traditions, and I have no doubt Sam himself would be upset as well. An apology is in order.

What Would Sam Say?
   Thanks to my friend Red Shuttleworth here is Sam in the hat featured on the cover, above. It's from Don't Come Knocking. The caption is my own, but I think it's pretty close to what Sam would want to say here: 

"Whatever you do, son, do NOT place my hat on a table
with the brim down."

"It appears someone at the Times is in serious need of sensitivity training."

—Squibe Nish, spokesperson for Hat Manners Matter

Saturday, December 30, 2017

An Honest Mess

December 30, 2017
   Wrapping up the year, cleaning and sorting. Making plans to start anew. It's always hopeful, but somewhat discouraging at the same time.

  Decided to get to the bottom of my art desk. When I cleared off all the paint tubes and brushes and art reference, I could see the actual surface of my desk, which has been filled with layers and layers of random paint from hundreds of Daily Whip Outs.

This is perhaps the most honest thing I have ever painted.

   Why? Because there is no pretense. When I started to clean off the stray paint, I got the idea to stop and give it a frame effect.

This is what pretense looks like.

   The goal, for me, is to stay open and not try and bend the process towards a preconceived idea of what any painting should look like.

 Seeking Open Awareness
"Presence is a quality of welcoming, open awareness, which is dedicated simply to 'what is'. There can still be someone who is aware and there is that of which they are conscious —the sound of running water, the taste of tea, the feelings of fear, or the weight and texture of sitting on a seat. And then there can be a letting go of the one who is aware, and all that remains is presence. All of this is totally without judgment, analysis, the wish to reach a conclusion, or to become anything. There is no mentation and no expectation. There is simply 'what is'."
—Tony Victor Parsons

My art desk and splash wall on a typical day.

"Where there is an open mind there will always be a frontier."
—Charles Franklin Kettering

Friday, December 29, 2017

A Dozen Dusty Whip Outs From The Duke of Dust

December 29, 2017
   I love dust. Let's take a look back at a dozen dusty doozies from the dusty archives of the Duke of Dust:

Daily Whip Out: "Dry Lake Peons"

Daily Whip Out: "Billy Goes Down at
O. K. Corral Fight"

Daily Whip Out: "The Number 2 Man"

Daily Whip Out: "Bring Me The Head of Mi Amigo"

Daily Whip Out: "Mickey Free Rides Out of A Haboob"

Daily Whip Out: "Road Kill In The Trail"

Daily Whip Out: "Jill On Big, Bad Jack"

Daily Whip Out: "Blackjack Rides Out of the Dust"

Daily Whip Out: "Dalton Firepower"

Daily Whip Out: "Deer Head Yaqui Boy"

Daily Whip Out: "Dry Lake Riders"

Daily Whip Out: "Quemado Haze"

   Like California, we had several big fires a couple years ago and when I was driving back from New Mexico, I drove into this hazy smoke from one of these conflagrations, which blurred out the landscape, while the sun appeared as a rusted, quivering hole. This is my take on these conditions as I motored beyond Quemado, New Mexico which ironically translates as "Burned."

"Dust storm effects are dodgy but if done right, subtle tonal shifts can convey huge swatches of detail."
—The Duke of Dust

Daily Whip Outs: Favorite Western Weather

December 29, 2017
   We are having some really nice weather here on the great Sonoran desert. And speaking of weather, I have spent a good part of this year, trying to capture Western weather on paper. Here are some of my faves:

Favorite Western Weather

Daily Whip Out: "Diltche Crossing The Colorado"

Daily Whip Out: "Apache Midnight"

Daily Whip Out: "Freight Train Clouds"

Daily Whip Out: "The Kitchen Light"

Daily Whip Out: "Last Light On Morningstar"

Daily Whip Out: "Lone Light On The Mesa"

Daily Whip Out: "White Sands Rider"

"It is better to be quotable than to be honest."
—Tom Stoppard

The Mad Fiddler Syndrome

December 29, 2017
   As my old bandmates will be the first to tell you, I'm not a musician, I'm a drummer. But in our defense, we percussionists see things so-called musicians sometimes miss. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that we drummers are put in the back on the bandstand and those pompous asses with the guitars stand in front of us and shake their butts in our face.

   Not that I'm angry or anything. 

   And while they are looking out at the audience, we are forced to look at them. To be honest, here is what we see. Most bass players are frustrated guitar players and lead guitar players are the divas of the stringed, instrument set. From there, steel guitar players, are invariably borderline neurotics, but the most, ahem—high strung—and the craziest-of-the-crazy, are the fiddlers.

   The crazy fiddler phenom has some history: Nero fiddled while Rome burned, all that.

Daily Whip Out: "The Mad Fiddler"

     Slightly unhinged, a spaz with a bow. And where did I get the model for this crazy fiddler? Oh, I don't know:

Rex Rideout: The Movie Master Fiddler

   He's been in a ton of movies, as a fiddler. Did you see Wyatt Earp? He was a fiddler in that. Oh, and he's a damn good fiddler. He and Mark Lee Gardner came by the True West World Headquarters several years ago and put on a concert right in our reception area. For free!

   I know. Crazy, huh.

"He who looketh upon a woman loseth a Fender."

—Old Musician Saying

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Another Pass at The Brewster Wagon Train

December 28, 2017
   Got wagon train art reference up to my armpits. Tweaked a set piece because I forgot to include saguaros at Picacho! Yikes! Major faux pas. 

Daily Whip Out: "Picacho Final"

   A little sketchy (I pride myself in doing much better saguaros) but I have to live with it. I've got ten other scenes I want to do.

Daily Whip Out: "Brewster Wagon Train Final"

   Needed to flesh out those wagons a little better and I think I got them a little stronger.

Daily Whip Out: "Wagon Train Nocturne"

   A little too strong on the campfire light, but I'll take it. Got a couple other scenes in this sequence in the works

Daily Whip Outs: "Campfire Light Studies"

"In pitching horseshoes, the first rule is to remove the horse."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Olive Vs. Billy: Help Us Choose A Cover

December 27, 2017
   We had a Design Review meeting this morning and went over cover ideas for the next issue. We are deadlocked on these final two subjects and we need your help. If you were walking by the newsstand which cover would you be more likely to buy?

#1: Olive Oatman cover

#2: Fake Billys cover

Wagon Train Fiddlers

December 27, 2017
   Got a house full of grandkids , but I still have time to work on a pet project. I'm currently working on a wagon train fiddler. Got several sketches going.

Wagon Train Fiddler, sketch #1

Wagon Grain Fiddler, sketch #2

   "I get paid to worry, and I intend to earn my keep."
—Major Seth Adams, Wagon Train, 1957

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Picacho Peak is Redundant

December 23, 2017
   Creating a compelling graphic novel is something I've aspired to since I first read about the concept in 1974. I have envisioned it as a movie on paper and in that regard my vision has invariably outstripped my talents. I can see the scenes, but distilling it down to a compelling and consistent narrative has eluded me.

   Last Monday when we drove down to the Old Pueblo to see the Cats play I saw an old landmark with new eyes. Both coming and going to Tucson I was struck with the looming volcanic neck that many pioneers, including the Oatmans, saw on their fateful journey.

Picacho Peak Is Redundant In More Ways Than One:

Daily Whip Out #1: "The Approach To Picacho"

Daily Whip Out #2: "Dust Storm Over Pichacho"

Daily Whip Out #3: "Rest Stop Near Picacho"

Daily Whip Out #4: "Dust Storm at Picacho"

   I have been driving by this historic landmark since 1964 and it never occurred to me that Picacho Peak is redundant. This redundancy was pointed out to me by Shawn Swart, who informed me that Picacho is Spanish for Big Peak, so, like Table Mesa, The Rio Grande River and the Sierra Estrella Mountains, we get some redundant and humorous mash-ups when Anglos and Spanish speakers meet.

"How about New River Road? It's not new, there is no river and it's not much of a road either."
—Larry Berger

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Cold Canyon Cuties & Mason's Hot Toddy

December 21, 2017
   We motored up north yesterday so our daughter-in-law could finally see The Grand Canyon (she lived here four years before they moved back to Thailand and, like many other Zonies, never went). We decided to fix that! We spent the night in Flag at Little America and we got up this morning to snow and a freezing wind.

The Tom Bell fam dam in the parking lot of Martann's this morning where it was 22 degrees!

   We are long time fans of Martann's and for Tom Bell this was sort of old home week.

Pattarapan and Harper in Martann's this morning.

One happy boy with Martann's huevos rancheros.

   After huevos rancheros and plenty of hot coffee, we motored the back way past the Snow Bowl and saw more than one car in the ditch from treacherous black ice. The temperature dropped to 14 degrees with snow flurries all the way to Valle where we slid out into oncoming traffic when we tried to stop. Fortunately we ran into nobody and cruised on semi-oblivious to our perilous close call.

   At the South Rim it was even colder, windy and icy, with the wind chill factor making it close to zero. Went inside Bright Angel Lodge to get warm, where I found the solution in the bar.

Mason's Hot Toddy

   Thus steeled, I ventured outside.

One cold Kingman boy on the South Rim.

   Dang, it was frigid! Whenever I experience this severe cold, even in small doses, I always think of my Hualapai brothers. How in the hell did they survive out here?

Canyon Cuties

"Golly what a gully."
—Teddy Roosevelt

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A Continuous Picnic Goes South

December 20, 2017
   Like so many bad trips, it started out as a fun adventure. The so-called Brewster wagon train left Independence, Missouri on August 10, 1850. Ninety-three religious pioneers seeking a life in the Land of Bashan, were headed West in 43 wagons, loaded down with eight months worth of provisions. One of the young women accompanying the train described their stock of foods and preparation: "Each wagon had a supply of jerked meat, dried apples and berries, flour corn beef, meal, preserved fruits, bacon and beans that we had prepared during the spring months. . ."

   Young Susan Thompson also said of their journey, "It was a continuous picnic and excitement was plentiful." They stopped every two or three days and "while the women baked and washed, the men hunted for antelopes and buffaloes or smaller game. Often when we were camped near a stream, we had quantities of fresh fish."

Daily Whip Out: "The Continuous Picnic Wagon Train"

     "In the evenings we gathered about the campfires and played games or told stories, or danced. . .as the young folks danced in the light of the campfire and lard burning lanterns. There was plenty of frolic and where there are young people gathered together, there is always plenty of love-making."

Daily Whip Out: "Susan Thompson,  from a photo"

   Of course, the good times didn't last. Petty infighting, alternative visions and illness took its toll. So much so that by the time the wagon train reached Socorro, New Mexico Territory, their ranks had been cut in half. And by the time the dwindling number of immigrants reached Maricopa Wells (south of present day Phoenix, Arizona) the wagons had been reduced to three.

   A month later, one wagon pushed on towards the Colorado River, where the Edenesque Land of Bashan allegedly awaited, at the confluence of the Gila and Colorado rivers. That wagon was piloted by Roys (also styled as Royce) Oatman.

"Owing to the religious peculiarities and strange prejudices of certain restless spirits in our company; friction was produced and harmony broken in upon. Some resolved to give up the enterprise and return, but a majority resolved to proceed, and after some wise counseling and delay, peace and unanimity was restored and we were on our journey again."
—Olive Oatman

"Mother, I know something dreadful is about to happen."
—Roys Oatman, on the evening before the attack

Monday, December 18, 2017

Road Trip to The Old Pueblo

December 18, 2017
   Kathy and I headed for the Old Pueblo this morning with my son Thomas Charles, his wife Pattarapan and their baby girl Harper. A little pre-birthday road trip fun. Seeing the Cats play tonight and then on to the Grand Canyon.

Richard Ignarski's "Ringo hat"

   Great look. Speaking of looks, I have had trouble locating an image of El Monte pioneer, Susan Thompson, so I decided to channel her visage through my hand.

Daily Whip Out: "Susan Thompson"

"If the 'Good Old Days' had been that good, we'd still be living that way."

—Helen Mortensen, born August 1883, Pacific Junction, Iowa

"An artist must be aware of one's own absurdity but not allow that knowledge to diminish the importance of one's witness."
—paraphrased from Adam Gopnik riffing on Montaigne in The New Yorker, Jan. 16, 2017

Friday, December 15, 2017

HOW, White Man!

December 16, 2017
   For a town that I've never really liked, I sure am finding myself painting the local scenery around there lately:

Daily Whip Out: "Dust Storm Over The Needles"

   According to Olive Oatman's map that accompanied her best-selling tell-all, "The Captivity of The Oatman Girls," the Mohave Captivity location is shown on the east side of the Colorado River, which would put her in Arizona (actually New Mexico at the time of her ordeal). This map indicates her locale as being closer to Topock, than Needles, California.

The Captivity Map in Royal B. Stratten's book

   Of course, we now know the Tonto Apache Captivity site is completely wrong. At the time of Olive's capture and subseuqent release five years later, it was thought that the raiding party who massacred the Oatman's were Apaches. Any time an arrow flew in that time period, it was invariably blamed on Apaches. Turns out the raiders were more likely Yavapais, who were sometimes called Yavapai-Apaches.

   Most historians now believe the site of Olive's second captivity was right on the spot that became Needles, the town. And speaking of the name of towns, I just discovered that Topock was originally called Mellon, after this guy:

Captain Jack Mellon Museum in Yuma

Oh, and what's with White Guys dressing up like In-dins?

And speaking of White guys playing In-dins:

HOW, White Man!

   HOW! Indeed? As in—how in the hell did we end up at this crazy place in the long history of this country?

"Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt."
—Herbert Hoover