Monday, December 31, 2018

Lessons Learned in 2018

December 31, 2018
   Now that this crazy year is almost over it's time for an old man to look back at some of the lessons he has learned:

   I have learned that there is much to learn by studying your painting heroes.

Maynard Dixon Rocks!

   I have learned that rack position on the newsstand is very, very important.

Front and center at Barnes & Noble,
I-17 and Happy Valley Road in Phoenix.
Thanks to Randie Lee O'Neal

   I have learned that you should never ask a woman eating ice cream straight from the carton how's she doing.

  I have learned that when we're young, we sneak out of our house to go to parties, but when we're old, we sneak out of parties to go home.

   I have learned how to tell if people are judgmental just by looking at them.

   I have learned that the law is merely an opinion with a gun.

   I have learned that no one is ever truly out of the woods.

   I have learned that relationships are just two people constantly asking each other what they want to eat until one of them dies.

   I have learned that most people are open to new ideas as long as they are exactly like the old ideas.

   I have learned that most of my life feels like a test I didn't study for.

   I have learned that most people don't realize the left wing and the right wing belong to the same bird.

"The Cheese Seller"
By Maynard Dixon

   I have learned that the difference between a master and a beginner is that the master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried (see above).

   I have learned that at my favorite bookstore the post-apocalyptical fiction section has been moved to current events.

   I have learned that a lot of conflict in the Old West could have been avoided if only cowboy architects had just made their towns big enough for everyone.

   "The present, in the future, will be just as crazy-looking to us, in the present, as the past is, to us, right now!"
—Zadie Smith

   I have learned that fame is a vapor and only one thing endures and that is character.

   I have learned my phone is so old it takes tintypes.

"The Internet: whose idea was it to put all the idiots on earth in touch with each other?"

—P.J. O'Rourke

"Do you know what we call opinion in the absence of evidence? We call it prejudice."

—Michael Crichton

   I have learned—from Thomas Paine—he who dares not offend, cannot be honest.

   I learned—from Orson Welles—no story has a happy ending unless you stop telling it before it's over.

   I have learned that it's the work you need to fall in love with, not the end result.

   I have learned—from William Goldman—that all the basic human truths are known. And all we can do it try to come at these truths from our own, hopefully, unique angle.

"It's okay not to know the reason for things."

—Alan Arkin

   I have learned—from H.L. Mencken—that morality is doing right, no matter what you are told and religion is doing what you are told, no matter what is right.

   I have learned—from Soren Kierkegaard—there are two ways to be fooled: one is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to accept what is true.

   I have learned—from Dr. Wayne Dyer—when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

   I have learned that everything in this world tries to be round. Almost everything is a circle, within a circle, circling circles.

   I have learned—from Mack Sennett—that pioneers are seldom from the nobility. There were no dukes on the Mayflower.

   I have learned that my mind thinks I'm 28; my humor suggests I'm 12; my body questions if I'm dead.

   I have learned—from David Mamet—that in show business nope springs eternal.

   I have learned—from Galileo—that wine is sunlight, held together by water.

   I have learned that five drunk guys will start a fight, but that five stoned guys will start a band.

   I have learned that no matter what we say or believe, someone on the internet will vilify it.

  I have learned that my childhood punishments have became my old age goals: going to bed early, not leaving my house and not going to a party.

So, in the end, what have I really learned?

"In the long run, it is better not to know."
—Joan Didion

"Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man."

—The Big Lebowski

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Jig Is Up And By The Light of the Slivery Moon

December 30, 2018
   I've been rifling through old sketchbooks with this guy.

Budding Artist

   Weston Allen can't quite believe I've finished so many drawings in so many sketchbooks. He picked one sketchbook at random and opened it up and it had a quick sketch of a lonely road on it, and I slapped it down on the desk, above, and very quickly added some color, so he could see the process.

"Road to Shoshone"

   And, more importantly, hopefully he'll be inspired. None of my kids became artists so it's only fitting that I would nab one or two of their offspring and send them off on the holy road of artistic expression.

   Why would I do this? Because, no artist can fail. It is a success just to be one.

   Speaking of which:

"The Sliver of A Moon"

"El Jefe"

"Olive Underwater"

No Man Is Neutral
   "He who does not bellow the truth when he knows the truth makes himself the accomplice of liars and forgers."
—Charles PeGuy

Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Weirdest BBB Daily Whip Outs of 2018

December 29, 2018
   It's been a wild and crazy year and my Daily Whip Outs prove it.

"Olive In Light"

Cannibalizing an old sketch from 2009 and updating it: May, 2018

Ominous Sequence: March 29, 2018

   Some Whip Outs came in phases, languishing in a sketchbook, until I went looking for something else (usually a quote or a name).

"Black Beauty • Rocky Point" 

  Executed on the beach at Rocky Point last October, above, I saw this a couple days ago and thought it needed a couple strokes of definition.

"Cowboy Triptych"


 "Pray for Satan"

"The Lookout"

"Quechua Flower Harvestor"

"Sunset On Rurales"

"I stayed in a really old hotel last night. They sent me a wake up letter."
—Steven Wright

Friday, December 28, 2018

Kit Carson Finally Finds A Home

December 28, 2018
   Last year I wrapped several paintings as gifts for friends, but one of them didn't have a tag on it and after the Holiday hub bub, I saw it, still under the tree and for the life of me, I couldn't remember what the painting was or even who it was for.

   This Christmas season I spied the mystery painting, still wrapped in the studio, and brought it into the house and put it under the tree. I thought I would have one of the kids open it, and so, when they did, I spotted Kit Carson and knew immediately who it was intended for.

Kit Carson Unclaimed Under The Tree

   Yesterday morning, Weston and I made a fire in the studio stove and a juicy fire in the fireplace in the house, then we climbed up in the Crow's Nest to take a brisk gander at Elephant Butte.

Weston takes a Crow's Nest gander

  From there, Weston and I jumped in the Flex and I drove out to I-17 and the Carefree Highway and met Laura and her kids at the McDonalds. They were on their way to Albuquerque for the holidays and they drove the painting to its rightful home.

The Huttons welcome home Kit Carson

   That's Lorena and Paul Andy pointing at the wayward painting for the Distinguished Professor who loves Kit Carson. He even wrote a True West cover story on Carson (Why Is This Man Forgotten?, which could also be the name for the painting). 

   Meanwhile, not to be outdone, The Top Secret Writer gifted me these groovy little guys:

The Mantle Men

    Yes, that's Black Bart, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Calamity Jane, Doc Holliday and Wild Bill Hickok. An impressive crew for our mantle next to the fireplace where Weston Allen has made a respectable fire.

    This morning I finished this little Whip Out, which will, no doubt, be wrapped and put under the tree for next year's festivities. Perhaps, eventually you will even receive it.

Daily Whip Out:
"Black Beauty at Rocky Point"

"Your blog is goosier than your books."
—Don Dedera

Thursday, December 27, 2018

When Parents Were Hot

December 27, 2018
   Kids are in the house, and by "kids" I mean Deena Bean, 38, and her kids, five and one-and-a-half.

   Lots of laughs and fun (hiding dinosaurs and building fires in the fireplace AND in the studio stove!).

   One of the zanier aspects of being a grandparent is the notion that we are perceived as being over the hill. And, while I might argue with the status of exactly where the hill is, I have to admit I can see the slope down the other side from here. And, full disclosure, when I was a kid it was very hard for me to ever imagine that my parents or grandparents were ever young and spry and, well, sexy.

Hot Parents Once Upon A Time

“Is there anything as incredible as the love story of your own parents? Anything as hard to grasp as the fact that those two over the hill players, permanently on the disabled list, were once in the starting lineup?”
—Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Lust In The Dust

December 26, 2018
   Kids coming in this afternoon. Noodling, noodling, noodling. . .

Daily Whip Out: "Lust In The Dust"

Kristi took a video of me working on a Daily Whip Out last week and here is the end result:

"Desert Surfer Girl"

Random Notes from all my 2018 sketchbooks
   I want to create a graphic novel so ridiculous that only my best friends would even consider buying it—and then NOT sell it to them!

   Every hell has its novelties.

   The wildest colts make the best horses.

   The Tecolotes (literally "owls," Mexican slang for the police)

   Where we think we are alone, we shall be with all the world!

   The most heroic act is to discover who you'd like to be.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"The Discard"

   He has to overcome three temptations. . .

   He descended into the darkness (the unconscious).

"Whatever you do, is evil to somebody."
—Joseph Campbell

"You're standing on a whale fishing for minnows."
—Joseph Campbell

   All of life is a meditation. What myths are for is to bring our consciousness into a spiritual place.
(all Joseph Campbell observations)

The Wrong Side of History
   It's easy to see the beginning of things. It's harder to see the end of things.

Mexican Slang
"Pollas en vinagre!" (Mexican slang expletive: Dicks in vinegar!)

"They are the sons of their double-whore mothers!"

"You stole a horse to track down a stolen horse?"

Ay, Que Rico! (Oh, how rich!)

Don't kill yourself to achieve a bigger guilded cage.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"Sad Sack Dally"

"Radical change is the nature of American life. That's the only permanent thing."
—Philip Roth

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Sad Sack Dally, The Discard and Duke Ahoy Meet The Slide Lady

December 25, 2018
   What do I like to do on Christmas day? Scratch away, Jose. It's downright relaxing and fun.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Outs:
"Cowboy Tryptich"

   These random cowboys are, from left, Sad Sack Dally, The Discard and Duke Ahoy. Each one has a story, but, full disclosure, The Discard, is from a video screen capture of a faro player (Tate Wilford) shot out at Pioneer Living History Museum some 15 years ago for a segment of True West Moments that ran on the Westerns Channel.

  What does grandma like to do while grandpa is scratching cowboys? Well, she's out in the back yard bolting together a used castle for the grandkids, who are supposed to be coming to Cactusland tomorrow.

Grandma Arm Wrestles
A Used Slide to The Ground

   And yes, that is a can of WD-40 on the deck beside her.

Grandma Nails Slide Assembly
With One Small Quibble

   Okay, the slide is on its side. I'm not about to say anything, but hopefully, it will be righted before the grandkids arrive tomorrow. And if they do say anything I'll just blame it on that old crazy bone.

Christmas Eve Out The Front Gate

"When you got hell to pay
Put the truth on layaway
And blame it on that ole' crazy bone"

—John Prine

Monday, December 24, 2018

I Got You A Gift

December 24, 2018
   Got all my shopping done and now all I need to do is take care of you.

"Doc: Trump Card #2"

   With all the ridiculous distractions besieging us this holiday season—and most of it is on our phones (by the way, my phone is so old it takes tintypes).

   Anyway, you need a little reminder, especially today. Here you go.

"The Glory of Now"

"Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have."
—Eckhart Tolle

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Billy Makes A Break In A Maynard Dixon Inspired Studio

December 23, 2018
   Found a big, old scratchboard in my studio (where Kristi does her archival work) yesterday and realized it needed a few more scratches and tweaks.

"Billy Makes A Break" (revised)

   Speaking of being in my studio, here is the original inspiration for my fantasy work space:

Maynard Dixon in his San Francisco studio, circa 1923.

   I used to study this photograph all the time and imagine what my studio would look like if I ever had enough ponies to build one. I knew one thing: Maynard didn't have enough hats! 

   In 1987, John Glenn built our house and studio, which was designed by the, at the time, novice architect, Perry Nathan Becker. I showed Perry the above photo and said, "Give me a version of this," and, he did, and here's how it looks today:

A Similar Space Only With More Hats

   And, yes, that is a ladder and hatch, at top right, which leads up onto the roof and a crow's nest, which my grandkids absolutely love. And, yes, I have many more books than appear in Maynard's studio, and, yes, that is an RJ Preston sugarloaf sombrero in a prominent position. 

   Full disclosure: I eventually outgrew that space, and had to add on another 600 feet of archival storage and work space, which looks like this:

BBB Studio Expansion

   Virtually everything I love is in this photo. Including photos of my parents and my kids, Kathy Sue, my Big Bug Creek pot-bellied stove, plus mucho reference and drawings of Mickey Free, Geronimo, van Gogh, Wyatt Earp, Emiliano Zapata, Bugs, Wild Bill, Doc Holliday, Bob Guess, Olive Oatman, The Arizona Rangers, Big Nose Kate, plus, a Lon Megargee print and a Route 66 sign.

   No wonder I like working out here in my studio where I'm surrounded by everything I love!

"Go as far as you dare in the heart of a lonely land, you can not go so far that life and death are not before you."
—Mary Austin

Saturday, December 22, 2018

In Praise of Bugs

December 22, 2018
  My old bandmate from Tucson, Spencer B. Hopping II (B3 Hammond organ player extraordinaire, Faye Shaw And The Generation), forwarded me this stunning photograph.

Crossing Boundary Creek

It's Bert Riggall’s Self Portrait, Crossing Boundary Creek. Photo courtesy of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, V26-lll-A1-pa-7-2. Looks like a movie still, but it's the real deal, early Twentieth Century. Of course, the hat slays me. My kind of headgear.

   Speaking of slaying and being slayed:

Doc Holliday Mono Print:

 "Dawn of the Dying #6"

Doc Holliday Mono Print:

 "You're A Daisy If You Do!"

   These two mono prints will be in my upcoming show at Cattletrack Arts Compound in Scottsdale on January 24, 2019.

   Today would have been Charles Richard Waters 71st birthday. In my experience, the smartest guy in any room. We called him "No Way Charlie" and "Bugs" but he had a big heart and great laugh. He passed four years ago. Still miss him.

Fifth Grade Troublemakers: BBB and Bugs

"How blessings brighten as they take their flight."
—Old Vaquero Saying