Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Cloud World

February 28, 2018
   Woke up to a stunning cloud world. Went out about 6:30 and it just looked wonderful in every direction.

Low clouds over Sugarloaf

Clouds sliding down canyons

Clouds Below Ratcliff Ridge

Literal snow cap on Black Mountain

A dusting of snow on the peak

"Men born in hot countries love the night because it refreshes them and have a horror of light because it burns them; that is black. And in cold countries it is just the contrary."
—Leonardo da Vinci

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Billy the Kid Edition of the BBB Digital Yard Sale

February 27, 2018
   Got a request to show some Billy the Kid images. Found this in the garage refuse bins this morning:

"Buckshot Roberts Sights Brewer"
Original: $150

I have taken a few runs at Billy being fun:

"Billy As I Want Him to Be"
Print: $50

"Billy at Sunset"
Print: $50

It's hard to remember how many times I've tried to capture the Kid's visage but it surely must be the high hundreds:

"Billy Boy"
Chine Collet: $175

I was intrigued by the fact that one of the guys who rode with Billy the Kid lived long enough to witness the light from the first atomic blast at the Trinity Site, just over the mountains to the west of Lincoln, New Mexico:

"Billy Da Bomb"
Print: "$50

"Billy Keeps On Riding"
Original $150

I have also tried hard to capture the real kid in the Kid:

"Billy & His Pards In Silver City"
Print: $125

On this next one, I was apparently channeling Pernell Roberts:

"Billy In Dust"
Print: "$125

And this one I just could not resist:

"Billy's Sticky Wicket"
Print: $100

"Just what the world needs: another book on Billy the Kid."
—Reader for the University of Arizona Press on my returned proposal, 1991

Monday, February 26, 2018

The BBB Digital Yard Sale Begins

February 26, 2018
   The garage has been liberated and we are all set to repack the space tonight when I get off work.

   While this has been going on, I have been culling artwork from thirty years of daily whip outs and I need to get rid of a ton of it.

Who Wants One of These?

Daily Whip Out: "Doc Spins Cup"
Art Print: $50

Daily Whip Out: "The Hunters"
Art Print: $50
Original: $500


"The Eagle Has Almost Landed"
Art Prints (four copies): $50 each

Daily Whip Out: "The Deer Head Boy"
Original: $1,500

Daily Whip Out: "Lawton's Scouts"
Original $500

Daily Whip Out: "Curly Bill's No. 2 Man"
Original $500

Daily Whip Out: "The Legend of Red Ghost"
Original $350

Daily Whip Out: "The Signal Fire"
Original $500

Daily Whip Out: "Tenth Cav Courier"
Original $500

Daily Whip Out: "Beak" (Charles Gatewood)
Original $500

"Don't be humble. You're not that great."
—Golda Meir

Sunday, February 25, 2018

All Things Must Go & Ultimately All Things Must Pass Go

February 25, 2018
   I've heard this one all of my life: one man's treasure is another man's trash. Well, what happens when the former gravitates to the latter? I'm beginning to realize, if we live long enough we see virtually every treasure we own, turn to trash. 

   Case in point: we steam cleaned the garage on Friday, after moving all of our—okay, mostly my—accumulated "treasures" (30 years worth!) out onto the driveway.

The Steam Punks Blast Out All The Pack Rat Deposits

   There are many treasures in this humble garage:

The Coffee Pot Cafe on East McDowell in Phoenix

   And old newspapers, featuring my editorial cartoonist hero:

Reg Manning's "The Big Parade" Babe
Arizona Republic, 1947

   And, I have collected numerous old newspaper, comic strip pages:

A Page of Comic Strips, 1947

   And a few hilarious, little treasures showed up, stuck between something else:

Parking Postcard Art by Carol Bouman, 1975

   I love maps, so lots of old maps, like this one:

County Map of Utah and Nevada

   So, why did I buy and save this particular map? Look closely, at middle bottom:

Virgin City, Utah! Yes!

   Most shocking, to me, is all the photographic equipment that I meticulously saved, and for which, I have zero use for today:

Here's at least $2,500 worth of outdated
camera equipment, including video!

   Not to mention a ton of my art work, including this decent, framed painting of the young Wyatt Earp who was tasked by his father, "Captain" Earp, with providing game on their westward journey from Iowa to California in 1864.

"The Young Hunter Wyatt Earp, 1864"

   The sobering upshot of all this is I need to have a digital yard sale and get rid of most of this. Let me know if you see anything you want in the next several days (it may take me a month to clear this out).

"Across the street from the Texaco is a neon sign, saying 'We Buy Gold," it don't matter if the goods are hot, if their yours or not. . .buy a cheap gold necklace with a stranger's name. . .at the Pawn Shop. . ." 
—Brothers Osborne, "Pawn Shop"

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Virgil Earp Stands His Ground

February 24, 2018
   I've had a couple requests to do Virgil Earp with a badge. Okay, here you go:

Daily Whip Out: "Virgil Earp Stands His Ground"

Three Peas In A Pod

   Someone mentioned to me that Virgil was heavier than Wyatt but that is based on the images of the oldest Earp brother after his Tombstone years when he put on extra pounds. According to Wyatt, who told Stuart Lake in 1928, comparing Virgil, Morgan and Wyatt, "Boots off, there wasn't three pounds difference in our weights, and not one of us scaled above a hundred and fifty-eight."

"Together they looked alike as three peas in a pod—the same height, size and mustaches. In Tombstone later men were always mistakin' one for another."
—Allie Earp, Virgil's wife

"Whoever contends with the great sheds his own blood."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Sordid "Parking" History of Crusher Hill

February 23, 2018
   Like many people my age, I look back at my "parking" days with a bit of a cringe and a warm feeling in my gut (it used to be lower, but, well you know). The art of "parking"—finding an isolated spot to park your ride and make out with your "date"—seemed so groovy at the time. 

  My favorite parking spot, growing up in Kingman, was on Crusher Hill, wayyyy out in the sticks, on Hall Street (today Stockton Hill Road). Yesterday, I was cleaning in the garage and found this: back in the eighties, I did this artwork as an homage to that era and to those hot summer nights:

A Green Light On Crusher Hill:
"If you're a loyal KOMA listener, kiss your sweetheart!"

   There were other parking spots around Kingman: Black Bridge, White Tanks, Perfume Pass, White Cliffs and Court House Hill. For a brief time I frequented Court House Hill until some nightshift sheriff's deputies watched me go up there, from the court house, and waited fifteen minutes before pouncing with their lights flashing and sirens blaring. I seem to remember I was with the Mormon Bishop's daughter, but I can't completely confirm that (nor would she!)

   Of course "parking" today sounds as hokey and corny as "sparking" did to us when we were young and horny.

   Ain't it funny how the night moves?

"Out past the cornfields where the woods got heavy,
Out in the back of my '60 Chevy. . ."
—Bob Seger, "Night Moves"

Parking Postcard Art by Carol Bouman, 1975

Poco Loco Parking History

"You gringos sure know how to make sex embarrassing."

—Old Vaquero Saying

Thursday, February 22, 2018

He Who Yawns Is Running

February 22, 2018
   Went home for lunch yesterday and finished a set piece for the opening of my next book.

Daily Whip Out: "He Who Yawns Is Running"

   Sometimes I see old magazine covers and they inspire me.

Author Jack DeMattos weighs in on the cover:

   In this October 7, 1940 issue of Life, is a story about Cooper's latest film The Westerner which had been released on September 20, 1940. In that movie, Walter Brennan played Judge Roy Bean - while Cooper played a fictional character called "Cole Harden." (That wasn't a typo - they spelled it "Harden," as opposed to "Hardin." )

The Plainsman, in which Cooper played Wild Bill Hickok, was released nearly four years earlier on November 16, 1936.

Speaking of The Plainsman ... it might interest you to know ( as the author of the most recent Hickok book ) that Joseph G. Rosa dedicated his biography They Called Him Wild Bill (1964, 1974 ) to Gary Cooper. Joe Rosa's dedication read as follows:

"To the late Gary Cooper ( 1901-61  ), whose portrayal of Wild Bill Hickok in The Plainsman inspired the research that led to this book."

Joe Rosa and I first got together in 1975, and he was often a guest at our Massachusetts home during his yearly trips to the U.S. from his home in England. Although we would often go down to Connecticut to check old Colt records, Joe's greatest thrill was when I drove him down to Cape Cod to check out the Heritage Museums which offered an eclectic collection of Wild West firearms and antique automobiles. During this trip ( despite being a leading authority on firearms ), Joe totally ignored the weaponry and devoted all of his attention to a  1931 Dussenberg  automobile that had once belonged to Gary Cooper. You can Google images of this car.  For years afterward, Joe said that seeing Gary Cooper's  car was one of the most memorable events during his his annual trips to the states.
—Jack DeMattos

   We're cleaning in the production room and Robert Ray found this old photo:

True West Staffers, 2002

  That is our editor at the time, at left, Mare Rosenbaum, Mike Melrose ("Minnesota Mike"), Gus Walker ("The Mapinator") and Robert Ray ("Commander-In-Chief"). Robert Ray is still with us, but Mike and Gus have passed and Mare fled to the east coast.

"A SKILL SAW is a portable cutting tool used to make boards too short."
—Old Craftsperson Saying

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

James Collins Brewster's Bold And Crazy Prophesy

February 21, 2018
   Prophesy is a tricky business. Most, if not all, predictions about the future, seem ridiculous at the time they are stated. Like this one:

A Bold And Crazy Prophesy

   In 1848, a young, Latter-Day-Saints prophet made a bold prediction that would change the life of a beautiful young girl named Olive Oatman.

James Collins Brewster, from a photograph

   James Collins Brewster, 24, had visions of a promised land—The Land of Bashan—and his passionate message gathered adherents wherever he spoke: "Fear not, for I am with you. I will bring your people from the east and gather you into the west. The wilderness and the wasteland shall fall away and the desert will rejoice and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly and the glory of Bashan shall be given to it. Behold the days are coming when the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed shall give way to the flowing of thy staff. The mountains shall drip with sweet wine and the hills shall flow with it."

   And where was this so-called Land of Bashan located? At the confluence of the Gila and Colorado Rivers, today known as Yuma, Arizona. Never mind that the area rarely gets more than 3.5 inches of rain a year, is mostly sand dunes and harsh desert with daytime temperatures reaching triple digits every day for months on end. Oh, and never mind that James Collins Brewster had never been to Yuma Crossing and spoke of the banks of the river being lined with pine trees.

Yuma's first resident, Sarah Bowman "The Great Western"

   To the followers who made it to the Land of Bashan, almost all of them had to be disappointed, if not crushed. The majority of the Oatmans did not live to see it, although Olive and Lorenzo lived to see it—and they left as soon as they could. One of the Brewsterites who made it to the Land of Bashan, wrote this letter to her father back home:

"It seems that it never rains here, to do any good or hurt. The ferrymen say they have been here ten months, and it has not rained enough to wet their shirts through. In consequence of there being no turf here,  it is very dusty, as the wind blows two days out of seven; and when the wind does not blow, about three o'clock, mi[d]gets (gnats) bite unmercifully."
—Mrs. Kelly

   Disheartened by the harsh reality of what they witnessed, and no doubt bitterly disillusioned about the prophesy of their leader, the Brewsterites pushed on towards the California coast where most of them eventually settled.

   And, so, what happened to the so-called Land of Bashan?

Ironies of Ironies

    Thanks to Teddy Roosevelt and the newly minted Bureau of Reclamation in 1902, The Yuma Project diverted Colorado River water to irrigate more than 58,000 acres along the river, all the way to the Mexican border. 

New advances in equipment helped build canals
on the Yuma Project.

   The water turned the harsh desert into a lush tableland supporting 275 farms and 90,000 residents. Farming year round, today these farms produce $196 million in crops every year. The Yuma Chamber of Commerce claims that 90% of all wintertime leafy vegetables in the United States come from this area—an area once prophesized as the Land of Bashan.

Yuma from the air.

"The wilderness and the wasteland shall fall away and the desert will rejoice and blossom as the rose."

—James Collins Brewster

When It Comes to Dust, It's The Artist's Prerogative

February 21, 2018
   The Duke of Dust is at it again.

Daily Whip Out: "The Trackers" 

I know what you're thinking. How could a gaggle of riders kick up that much dust riding through tall grass? the answer is, there is a dry lake bed they are crossing just over that knoll, and just out of sight. I know. Weak, but, hey, artist's prerogative.

"It's amazing what lame excuses artists can come up with to validate a shaky premise."
—Old Gallery Owner Saying