Saturday, June 30, 2018

El Serape & Trio Rio Tequila Sunsets

June 30, 2018 
   Worked today on a bunch of different paintings and scratchboards. I just finished this last one:

Daily Whip Out: "El Serape"

   If he looks slightly familiar it's because the head and hat is based on a photograph of the guy who owns The Gunfighter Museum in Tombstone.

   Yes, that would be Richard Ignarski. I have been utilizing the guy since October 26, 1981 when I first met him at the O.K. Corral centennial in Tombstone. He was from Albuquerque at that time and he came over, like I did from Phoenix, just to be there at 2:30 P.M. on the 100 year anniversary. There were no ads for the event that I saw, I just knew it was a place I had to be. That was a fateful day, because I also met Robert McCubbin and Phil Spangenberger, among others, who later figured so prominently in the future of True West magazine. I asked Richard if I could take his photograph for art reference, and he agreed. Richard has always been very gracious and has always had a great look. Here's an example:

The Original Renegades
at Coffeyville, Kansas, August 30, 1998
In front of the Condon Bank, (L to R): John Northrop, BBB, Marcus Huff, Paul Northrop, Marshall Trimble, Richard Ignarski, John Boessenecker and Bob McCubbin. Photo by some guy on a motorcycle who we flagged down.

   On Friday, I received a complimentary CD of Ronnie Glover's newest project, which I did both the cover and the back painting for:


   Came out very nice and the music is very good, as well.

"The easiest thing is the hardest. It is harder to be simple than it is to be complex. Education drowns us in detail."
—Old Artist Saying

Friday, June 29, 2018

The 25th Anniversary of the film "Tombstone" Commemorative Poster

July 29, 2018
   My friend Steve Todd printed up a commemorative poster for the 25th Anniversary of the film "Tombstone" which he will be selling this weekend in the city park next to the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, the town. Yesterday, he brought by several for me to give to my friends. Here we are posing with one of his big posters:

Steve Todd and I holding one of his large commemorative posters featuring my artwork.

  He has two sizes, and this is the big one (I bought a big one for $40). A steal. I'll have details later on how to get the smaller version from me.

   For more information on the event go here:

25th Anniversary of "Tombstone"

"You may be a huckleberry, but that's me in the poster."
—Doc Holliday (above, left, in poster)

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Never Before Published Photo of Billy the Kid

June 28, 2018
   My friend Mundo Con Queso, had a question for me: "Hey, Boze, where exactly was the shooting of Windy Cahill at Bonito, Arizona?"

   Evidently, Mundo talked to some guy down at the old McDowell Store who claimed it was in the building.

   Well, no it did not happen in the store, but at the Hog Ranch where the Soiled Doves were stationed to service the troops at nearby Camp Grant (later Fort Grant).

   I promised Mundo I would go home for lunch and find my Bonito research photos and bring them back to the office and post them for him. So, rather than do a whip out piece of art over lunch I was pouring through the BBB archives and lo and behold I discovered this never-before-published photo of the Kid:

Billy in Bonito

   I visited the historic site of the Kid's first killing in 1991 and—sorry about the shorts—here are three photos that tell the tale:

The site of the Kid's first killing at Bonito.

   In the top photo is the McDowell store. We are looking south, and the store front faces north towards Fort Grant, which is about a mile away. In the middle photo we are standing where the hog ranch was, looking back west towards the McDowell store, and in the bottom photo we see one of the remaining hog ranch dwellings. The set up looks like this:

Bonita on August 18, 1877

Here is a page from my Billy book showing the Hotel de Luna where the Kid worked as a busboy and was arrested there. 

The hotel was actually on the military reservation and in violation of the rules for private business near U.S. Military forts.

   Back to the never-before-published-photo of Billy. This is actually a young re-enactor out at Pioneer Living History Museum when I was out there in 1991 shooting reference photos. I was struck with how his front teeth were perfect to portray the Kid and it was pure serendipity that he was standing next to a blacksmith sign. For some reason I never got around to utilizing this photo (so it is true it's never been published), but dang it, he looks like the Kid to me!

"I had some trouble with Henry Antrim, otherwise known as Kid, during which he shot me. I had called him a pimp, and he called me a son of a bitch; we then took hold of each other; I did not hit him. i think I saw him go for his pistol, and tried to get hold of it, but could not, and he shot me in the belly. I have a sister named Margaret Flanigan living in East Cambridge, Mass., and another named Kate Conden, living in San Francisco."
—Frank "Windy" P. Cahill's dying statement

When California Was An Island

June 28, 2018
   Had lunch yesterday with the Cattletrack boys, Mark McDowell, Brent Bond and Andy Chuka and we talked quite a bit about Baja and my Mexicali Stud project. I told them I want to do some pretty ambitious maps depicting the evolution of Baja and California over the past 400 years. I have some very nice maps to illustrate this aspect of the story. Here are two of them.

Parts Unknown, Indeed!
   There was a time when the Pacific side of North America was a little sketchy to European mapmakers. 

As late as 1710, mapmakers were still depicting California as an island.

   Much of what became  the northern United States is marked as "Parts Unkown," and the Great Lakes have finally found their approximate shape. A mere decade earlier they were shown as one big, round lake, like this:

N. Visscher's version of The New World
[around 1698]

   California was portrayed as an island for quite some time (Spanish ships had made it up the inside of the Baja extension and since they didn't make it to the mouth of the Colorado River they assumed California was probably an island). Before 1700, the Great Lakes were portrayed as being one, big lake (see semi-circle).

Bios for The Mexicali Stud
   Of course I love doing mini-portraits and here is one of the jefes of the Baja in 1876:

Daily Whip Out: "El Jefe In Color"

   And, keeping with my vow to do a scratchboard every day, I did the same guy in scratchboard:

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"El Jefe in B&W"

   I thrive on these little side projects and I have to agree with Graham Greene:

"Sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear which is inherent to the human condition."
—Graham Greene

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Too True to Be Good

June 27, 2018
   Here's a new department in True West waiting to happen.

The Pitch
   Okay, so the movie opens on the Mexican border in 1849 and we pan in on this Mexican priest, who is standing at the alter wearing his robes and blue, wrap-around sunglasses. . ."

   Do you seriously think anyone making this film would adhere to this ridiculous, historically inaccurate visual?

Too True to be Good Painting of a Mexican priest, 1849

"The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Fang, The Peruvian Sidekick

June 26, 2018
   Last night I dreamed about a character in "The Mexicali Stud" who rides a donkey and is from Peru, having joined a ship full of 49ers who stopped in Lima on their way around the Horn to the Gold Fields in California.

Daily Whip Out:
"Peruvian Fang"

   Or, how about this guy?

Daily Whip Out: "Fang!"

I like the character because he has been in California since 1849 and would have seen the days and scenes described in the classic "Two Years Before The Mast" by Richard Henry Dana, Jr. which was written from his "Brig Pilgrim" in 1835 on his visit to San Diego and Santa Barbara, from Boston. I am paraphrasing here:

   "We stopped at a small mud building in which they had liquors, dry and West India goods, shoes, bread and some fruit. It was kept by a one-eyed Yankee who set up this pulperia, where the drinks were a real—twelve-and-a-half cents.

   "The horses were saddled and bridled, each with a lasso coiled over the pommel. It cost a dollar to run them down the beach and we had to pay in advance. Horses at that time were the cheapest thing in California and you could buy one for three, maybe four dollars a piece. You actually paid for the use of the saddle and for the labor of catching the horses, for there were no corrals. The horses ran free all over the place with a dangling rope around their necks and the better the horse, the harder they were to catch. Those California horses had no medium gate and they had no need for a genteel trot and all the riders kept them at the top of their speed until they tired and then we'd let them rest by walking."

   Isn't that incredible? They didn't have corrals! They just let the horse roam around with a long rope around their necks and they would come out in the morning with their saddle and bridle and catch a passing horse. If you don't believe me, read the damn book. It's amazing.

   And, the bonus—real—reason I am excited about the sidekick of Ojos being Peruvian is because I visited Peru ten years ago and did quite a few sketches of head gear. And this way I get to feature those kickass hats they wear down there with the unique crown configuration. Thanks to my curator Kristi Jacobs I was able to go into the morgue and extract the month and year (August, 2008) of our trip to visit my son, who was in the Peace Corp, in Yanque, Peru and there I easily found my sketches (see below).

Sketches of Yanqui, Peru, August, 2008

Peruvian Top Knot Bowler Hats,
August, 2008

Muy Indio Headgear, August, 2008

   Went home for lunch and did my daily scratchboard duty.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"In The Land of The Mighty Sugarloafs"

"Ladies love the sombrero. It's a key that opens a lot of doors."
—Jose Ramon Diaz, a Mexican soccer fan in Russia for the World Cup

Monday, June 25, 2018

Scratchboard City

June 25, 2018
   Made a vow to try and do at least one scratchboard a day, and, so far, so good.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"Ojos de Gringo Series #13"

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"Three Dead In Cantina Dust Up"

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"White Woman In White"

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"The Rapture"

"Give a man a free hand and he'll run it all over you."
—Mae West

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Muchos Ojos de Gringo

June 23, 2018
  Got an image in my head I'm trying to get out on paper. I often obsess on a portrait or visual idea and I end up doing multiple runs at it—perhaps a couple dozen attempts is my record—but, putting it all in perspective, Abe Hays once told me that Maynard Dixon sometimes did 85 different takes on a piece. Dang! That is humbling. And then, yesterday, I read that Cezanne once made a portrait model do 115 sittings beginning at 8 a.m. each day and painting until 11:30 at night. Ambroise Vollard (also an art dealer) claimed he was "verbally slapped" if he so much as twitched. 

   Thanks to an alert from Richard Coyer I taped and watched the John Ford film, "The Fugitive" last night. This is a 1947 film starring Henry Fonda as the whiskey priest and it's based on Graham Greene's "The Power and the Glory," although in the credits it says it's based on an earlier draft of the same story. Anyway, one of the stars is Pedro Armendariz ("The Three Godfathers"), who is always good and I think I channeled Pedro this morning when I took my first crack at Ojos:  

"Ojos de Gringo #1"

      I've taken a couple other runs at the character and here's a couple from my last sketchbook:

Daily Whip Out: "Ojos de Will Ferrell"

"Daily Whip Out: "Ojos de Poquito"

   Of course, I often whip out a gaggle of facial studies just to see if anything sticks:

"Mucho Ojos"

   A little too gringo, and what the hell is Lou Diamond Phillips doing up there in the right-hand corner? I thought it might be appropriate to do one with a more Douglas Fairbanks flair to it:

Daily Whip Out: "Ojos de Fairbanks"

   And, I thought it only right that Ojos might be closer to a Diego Rivera type mural character, more Indio than Mexican:

Daily Whip Out: "Indio Smirking Ojos"

And, since the dormador is quite a ladies man I Googled "Mexican Hunk" and this guy came up:

Daily Whip Out: "Ojos de Hunk"

   And, coming full circle, one of the characters John Ford really missed the boat on in "The Fugitive," is the Judas character from the book who is described as having a "crooked mouth with yellow canines." Dang, that is a cool, mental image yet they didn't even try to match it. But I have:

Daily Whip Out: "Fang!'

The good news is I had fun, the bad news is I don't think I've found the guy's look, yet. So more Cezanne searching, por favor.

"Don't hesitate to exaggerate colour and light. Don't worry about telling lies. The most tiresome people and pictures are stupidly truthful ones."
—William Merritt Chase

Friday, June 22, 2018

Muy Mexicana Women of The Mexicali Stud Story

June 22, 2018
   Working on a Muy Mexicano story. Woke up this morning and bailed into several females that will populate the tale.

"Tata-Anna Viagra" 

   She is a force to be contended with in upper Baja. Her husband owns the Mexicali Stud.

"Nepomuceno Barranca," an Indio women
who despises Tata-Anna Viagra

   Of course there are a garden variety of other women in the story, including:

"A White Woman In White"

And what would any story about the lawless Baja corridor be without these gals:

"One of the Heathen Sluts"

Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention my favorite seniorita:

"Elena Andalucena"

   All of these women will run into Ojos de Gringo, the domador (horse trainer) with the magic hands, who is hell bent on retrieving a stolen horse that goes by the name of. . .

"To cheat wolves is to promise vultures."
—Old Vaquero Saying


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Ten Painted Ladies

June 21, 2018
   Got up this morning and hand painted ten Painted Ladies. Here's the first one:

"Painted lady: Smouldering"

   And here's all ten of them:

Ten Painted Ladies

   These were all black and white art prints from Brent Bond of Santo Press, down at Cattletrack Arts Compound. He gave me ten to hand paint and as I did each one, they took on a life of their own and I ended up with different expressions and thus, different titles, for example:

"Painted Lady—Sneer"

"Painted Lady—Sad"

      Others include, "Come-on," "In Smoke," "Smirking," etc.

   Seven have already sold. Let me know if you want one of the last three.

"Support wildlife. Throw a party."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Introducing The Mexicali Stud

June 20, 2018
   Here's a story I have been wanting to tell you about for a very long time. It's a little different from my normal history stories because this one is only half-true. It's basically your job to figure out which half:

   He rode out of a dust storm on the Baja border. His mission is simple: bring back Don Diego Viagra's prize horse. The only thing that stands in his way is the Mojave Desert, crazed renegades, heathen sluts, patriotic slavers, General Crook and the U.S. Army, and, one big, fat betrayal.

"To cheat wolves is to promise vultures."

—Old Vaquero Saying

On The Border With Language Issues

June 20, 2018
   Like most border incidents it began with a simple question: "What do you mean, 'No tengo mas tequila?'"

Daily Whip Out:
"Three Dead In Cantina Fight"

   In the old days, I witnessed numerous misunderstandings on the border because of translation issues, petty bickering and racial hatred. I'm so glad we've moved beyond that.

"The more things change, the more they remain the same."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Cockfighter And Cole Younger Survives

June 19, 2018
   Got up this morning and did a take on a little different subject matter:

"The Cockfighter"

   I also added a couple strokes to an earlier image:

"Cole Younger Shot All to Hell
And His Toenails Fell Off"

Hanska Slough

   Charlie Pitts: "We are surrounded. We had better surrender."

   Cole Younger: "Charlie, this is where Cole Younger dies."

   Charlie Pitts: "All right, Captain, I can die as game as you can."

   Charlie stands and fires at the oncoming posse, 7 townsmen from Madelia, Minnesota, marching towards the outlaws hiding among the willows in the bottom of Hanska Slough. Returning the fire, Charlie is hit in the chest and Cole takes a round in the face. Bob Younger is also shot in the chest trying to surrender. Numerous shots rip through the plum thicket where the boys make their last stand.

   After the brief tornado of lead, the seven volunteers wade into the outlaw's position and Sheriff Glisin barks, "Bring a wagon down!"

   As the possemen disarm the outlaws, Cole Younger, temporarily stunned by the shot in the face, rolls up on one elbow, beligerent and woozy, like a bear awakened from a long hibernation. "Come on," he says, "I'll fight any two of you sons of bitches!"

   A lumber wagon comes crashing through the underbrush. "Which one of you is Jesse James?" one of the posse members asks. "Anybody got a chew," Bob Younger replies.

   For a long time no one says anything as the men go about the difficult task of getting the wagon and their captured prey out of the slough and back up on the road.

   As the wagon comes back up out of the slough, spitting mud like an overloaded manure spreader, women passengers leer out of buggys lined up on the road. Hands to mouths, the women sightseers gasp at the awfulness of the wounds. Even the volunteer possemen are struck by the carnage they inflicted. Sheriff Glispin walks up close and puts his hand on Jim Younger's shoulder: "Boys, this is horrible, but you see what lawlessness has brought to you."

"Everybody is in a struggle you know nothing about."

—David Brooks