Saturday, February 17, 2018

Sketchbook Highlights & Lessons Learned

February 17, 2018
   Finished another sketchbook today and went back to the beginning (Nov. 28, 2017) and culled out the highlights to see if I learned anything.

Daily Whip Out: "Four Hats On The Horizon"

Tribal Furies
   We are all circled around separate campfires grumbling about all the people out in the darkness we can't see. They are doing the same thing, about us.

Daily Whip Out: "Campfire Hatreds"

"Prejudices are cliches. They are second hand hatreds."

—Martin Amis

   The Whipple Expedition (1853-54) needed guides to take them from the Mojave villages on the Colorado River to Los Angeles. Irataba and another Mojave, Cairook, volunteered. This is rough, arid country and if you've ever driven from Needles to Barstow to San Bernadino,  you know exactly what I'm talking about. When the expedition reached the settlements, many of Whipple's men literally gave the shirts off their backs to their Mojave guides. Three or four men gave their hats in a token of appreciation for a job well done. The artist on the expedition,  H.B. Mollhausen,  described the scene this way: "Every one had been eager to bestow on the guides who had served us so faithfully whatever article he could spare from his wardrobe, and they had immediately donned it with stoical composure, so that they now look like wandering bundles of old clothes." The two Mojaves then walked back to the Colorado River, which inspired the above painting. I believe this would make a great opening scene in a movie, with four hats, stacked high, rippling in the heatwaves of the Mojave Desert. Slowly, a head and shoulders appear and then we see two In-dins walking towards us, loaded down with layers of clothes. 

  And here's the page where I got the inspiration:

Hats On Horizon inspiration: November 28, 2017

First Page of Sketchbook Painted Upside Down

Random Notes Along The Way

"The burial site of Maryanne is next to a golf course in Needles."
—Jeff Cuneo

Daily Whip Out: "Olive's Sister, Maryanne"

"There is no truth, no history—there is only the way in which the story is told."
—Richard Avedon

Daily Whip Out: "Midnight On The Colorado"

"Nothing dead is buried, and what we thought was dead lives on."
—Jelani Cobb

Random Note to Self:
   I used to regret not being born into more affluence but now I realize, when you are denied the gifts of privilege, you are granted other gifts, just as powerful, if you recognize them and take advantage of them. Nobody has it better. Just different circumstances with different opportunities and obstacles.

Daily Whip Out: "The Oatmans Stranded
In The Middle of The Gila River"

"Mere archives are not enough. You must go to all the places where the subject had ever lived, or worked, traveled or dreamed."
—Richard Holmes

"Biography is a handshake across time, across cultures, across beliefs and across ways of life. . . What was this human life REALLY like, and what does it mean NOW?"
—Richard Holmes (emphasis mine)

The moon is central to all poetry, as it is to the Mojaves!

"Moon Mooned for his true love"

   Full disclosure: I went to school with a huge Mojave kid named Moon.

   It's not going to be good unless there's good dialogue. Telling phrases make the difference:

"His idealism and empty obstinance got him and his family killed."
—Note on the character of Roys Oatman

"I want you to do what's best for your families."
—Francisco shrewdly coercing the Mojaves to release Olive (not from the record, but my invention, for the graphic novel, to capture his wily ways)

"A fool and his money are soon parted, but you never call him a fool til the money is gone."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Every event has an echo from the past.

Daily Whip Out: "Twilight of The Apaches"

  The Mojaves hate the Cocopahs and the Quechans hate the Yavapais, and the Yavapais hate the Maricopas, but they all have one thing in common—they all hate the Apaches. The Apaches return the favor, by hating everyone except fellow Apaches and a couple Navajos.

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

The shock of the cold was gone. She felt a warmth spread throughout her body. She relaxed and frolicked, she splashed and she dove deep and touched the bottom. Time passed. She didn't want to get out.

Daily Whip Out: "Olive Treads Water"

"The next white person I see, I'm going to kill."
—In-din who is about to meet Olive Oatman on the trail

Observation: If you were beaten for not understanding a language you had never spoken, what kind of defenses would you create?

"His cornbread ain't done in the middle."
—Old Pioneer Putdown

Observation: The thing that makes it strong, will bring it down.

"Where doubt is, there truth is—it is her shadow."
—Gamaliel Bailey

Dueling Jackasses
"American democracy is the worship of jackals by jackasses."
—H.L. Mencken

"Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one."
—Sam Rayburn


  1. This is your very best post yet Bob.....Thank You!

  2. Need to keep this around. Handy. At all times.

  3. Thanks Triple B!! Words to live by!


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