Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Viva Vaqueros!

June 30, 2020
   Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when people could actually mingle and swap spit.

   So many people I know think this is all a hoax, some dress rehearsal for Communism. What a crazy time this is.

   Are we crazy? Absolutely insane. All of us.

Daily Whip Out:
"Vaquero Comin' Right At Ya'!"

   Me, I'm staying close to home and attempting to master the game I was sent here to play.

"There's an odd combination of intuition and intelligence that has to be mustered to do this work. The part that is logical is only half the job. The other half is truly intuitive and comes out of some part of the brain that you can't control. It's the reconciliation of those two aspects that makes things happen. But since the brain is an instrument that holds everything in the universe, it's there somewhere."
—Milton Glazer, the late, great, master graphic arts designer

Monday, June 29, 2020

Queen of The Weed Wackers & Bulgemobiles Galore

June 29, 2020
My neighbor, Beverly Whitlow, had her entire family out in the yard for days, weed wacking her entire property. I would see all of them out in the yard whacking away at the stinknet and bottlebrush, almost every day, on my morning walks.

Now, this was BEFORE the Ocotillo Fire hit on May 30. The conflagration burned everything right up to her property line.

Bev Whitlow Queen of The Weed Wackers

The moral is: Hey fire, don't you mess with the Queen of the Weed Wackers!

   Speaking of Queens and the Queen Mary, here's a throwback to a more land yacht time.

When Bulgemobiles Were All The Go

      Seemed kind of cool at the time, but I'm sorry, that is REE-donk-u-lous. That's not a ride, that's a cruise ship.

    Back to the conflagration.

The Three Amigos

   We're hard at work on the Ocotillo Fire doc. That would be me and this guy.

Bill Watters Dronemaster

   Got some cool stuff in the can. Going to have a big survivor party when this is all over. Stay tuned.

"When you live in the shadow of insanity, the appearance of another mind that thinks and talks as yours does is something close to a blessed event."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Sunday, June 28, 2020

El Pendejo In Cactusland & Ocotillo Fire Doc Crew

June 28, 2020
   Had fun with a whimsical piece this morning.

Daily Whip Out:
"El Pendejo Wanders Through Cactusland"

   I am working with videographer Bill Watters to produce a documentary on the Ocotillo Fire. Here we are yesterday, interviewing two fire survivors, Fran and Mike Douglas.

   Thankful for good neighbors: Mike & Fran

Another take on Erasing History
   "When people suggest tearing down statues is 'erasing history,' I must point out that there are no statues of Adolf Hitler but his history has not been erased. Point being; historical figures do not need statues in order to be remembered, for better or worse."
—James Mills 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Virgil Earp In Prescott And The Earps In Arizona

June 27, 2020
   We've got a good, in depth, story coming up in True West on Virgil Earp's time in Prescott, Arizona. Wyatt's older brother landed in the Mile High City a couple times and we've got the goods.

   So, I've been noodling some cover ideas.

   Daily Whip Out: "Virgil In Prescott"

   Another angle into the story which will broaden the issue a bit, is to include Wyatt's controversial episode of standing off a mob in the Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce embroglio.

Daily Whip Out:
"Wyatt Earp vs. A Tombstone Mob"

And, then there's the painting I did yesterday which could also work.

Daily Whip Out:
"The Law Is Just A Suggestion With A Gun."

Here's a statue I'd like to see:

Daily Whip Out:
"Cara del Caballo" (Horse Face)

   And here's one of our favorite one-eyed captivos.

Daily Whip Out: 
"Mickey's Head In The Clouds

      And, here's the view on my walk this morning.

Sunrise on Ratcliff Ridge

   Still looking a little bleak over there, but the monsoons are on the way and we are hoping for some healing in our neighborhood.

"There's a vast difference between thinking critically about the past, for the sake of learning from it, and behaving destructively toward the past, with the aim of erasing it."
—Bret Stephens in The New York Times, on the tearing down of statues

Friday, June 26, 2020

Statue Power II: Ten Million Pigeons Are Concerned

June 26, 2020
   Lots of feedback on yesterday's post about the power of statues and the idiots surrounding them.

   "According to a British newspaper, pigeons in London have started a SAVE THE STATUES! movement."
—Richard Coyer, Surprise, Arizona

   "Bob, in your post today, where you call for the removal of all monuments, I'm assuming you're also including the controversial Not-So-Gentle-Tamer? It's sad to know that that particular statue didn't make you 'proud to be anything.' I don't know, maybe proud to be an artist?"
—Mark Lee Gardner, New Mexico

"Not-So-Gentle-Tamer," the BBB ten-foot-tall statue that stands on the plaza at Prescott Valley Court House

   Okay Mark, first of all, I didn't call for the removal of any statues. I said it wouldn't bother me if they were all removed. And second, I am very proud of the Prescott Valley Court House statue, but when it comes down I will still be proud of it. That's my point.

   In Carson City, Nevada, radicals made a run at Kit Carson the other night. 

Buckeye Blake's "Kit Carson"

   Gee, I wonder what the artist who created this nifty sculpture has to say about that? Actually, I have just received a quote from Buckeye, but it's a little too strong for this forum.

Limitations of Statues
"I subscribe to Paul Hutton’s view as well. I travel in Sonora regularly and they have some serious memorials. The four Sonoran Presidents along the main boulevard through Hermosillo comes to mind. I’m more impressed with the memorial and statue encountered as one enters Agua Prieta on the main interstate hwy 2. There is a statue of Relámpago (also known as el Zaino) the local horse who won a match race on St. Patrick’s Day in 1957. There is a famous corrido written about that race and a movie was made as well. The local AP horse beat the famous grey from Cumpas, El Moro. If one heads south from that monument about a hundred miles to the ranching community of Cumpas there is a beautiful statue of El Moro the loser of the famous race. I guess it could be said that Relámpago came in next to last. Regardless I doubt there’ll be few who complain if Pancho Villa is evicted from Veinte de Agosto park in downtown Tucson. Yesterday was Dia de San Juan with scarcely a cloud in the sky. We’ll wait."
—Greg Scott

Daily Whip Out:
"Inspired By A Mexican Statue of A Horse
That Came In Second"

   Oh, the insanity of our entire human race.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"A Mother's Grief"

"The world will cease because rage has been released."
—Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) referring to the Mexican Revolution

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Statue Power And The Suggestion of Law

June 25, 2020
   When our kids were little I created a game which we called "Statue Power." It basically came down to the kids, Deena and Tommy, hiding around the house, behind the couch, etc. and then when I would come out and find them, I would tickle them, like a zombie monster who walks stiff and has problems with motor skills. If things got a little too, ahem, ticklish, they could invoke the secret password: "Statue Power!" which would freeze the monster so they could run off and hide again. We did this so many times it was ridiculous, but they never got tired of it.

   Which brings us to the current mob driven debate about taking down statues in America.

   First of all, I don't care if all the statues are taken down. With the possible exception of the Lincoln Memorial, I can't recall when a statue made me proud to be anything. Most of them are fuddy duddy anyway with some ancient dude with side whiskers, on horseback, having his way with something on the horizon.

   And, second, I agree with Professor Paul Andrew Hutton who gives the example of a black mother taking her kid to school and she has to drive by a statue of some Confederate general who did everything in his power to make sure she—or her kids—could NOT go to his school, and then she drops her kid off at the Robert E. Lee Elementary School and Paul asks, "How do you think that makes her feel?"

   Short answer: not very American.

   And, speaking of Robert E. Lee, here is what he said about Civil War statues:

"I think it wiser, not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the example of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered."
—Robert E. Lee

   Okay, I take it back. I would pay to see that statue.

   With all that said, who are these idiots defacing and tearing down statues of Jefferson, Washington, Cervantes (a writer?!) and Grant (are you kidding me? Please tell me you are not this stupid!). I agree with Jonah Goldberg who says the plural of idiot is mob. Jonah also takes these mobs to task for tearing down the statue of Hans Christian Heg, an immigrant from Norway.

"Tearing down the statue of a guy—an immigrant!—who gave his life to fight slavery doesn't make you brave or heroic or even interesting. It marks you as a contemptible fool and a vandal."
—Jonah Goldberg

   And then this brings us back to the rule of law.

Daily Whip Out: "The Law"

     Yes, he's a white guy, probably one of the Earps, if you ask me, and the only thing missing is, well, his persuader.

Daily Whip Out:
"The Law Is A Suggestion With A Gun"

   Stop dad! Statue Power!

"What an amazing stupid time this is."
—Jonah Goldberg

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The Hopeful Resurrection of Cactusland

June 24, 2020
   It's time to let go of the loss and replant some of our burned land and Kathy found just the person to help us do it.

Kathy Sue and Ali Baker check out
the lay of the land.

   Ali has long experience with reseeding burned property and she suggested a new entryway, with perhaps a couple saguaros as a guiding component. So, inspired by her suggestion, I drew this sketch:

The Proposed New Entrance to Cactusland

   Our grandson, Weston, calls our home "Cactusland," and I thought we'd honor his designation.

   Notice I drew the saguaros as mere spears because to get a mature saguaro with arms is very expensive (on average $100 a foot), but you will also notice the saguaro on the right has a downward facing arm. I want my two entryway saguaros to be weird, or unique, and I will pay extra to have it. Ali told me most of her customers want "postcard perfect saguaros," with the two symmetric arms. Well, to hell with that! Give me the weirdos that nobody else wants.

   Speaking of weirdos.

"National Parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst."
—Wallace Stegner

Monday, June 22, 2020

El Pendejo Lands In Opodepe for The Very First Time

June 22, 2020
   Sometimes having the right photo reference can make or break a painting. Case in point.

   About twenty years ago I was visiting one of my Kingman cowboy cousins in Golden Valley (outside Kingman, Arizona) and I went out to take some photos near Secret Pass. I found an abandoned building and just as I snapped off a photo, a quick dust storm came up and I got a happy-accident-sequence of dust enveloping this abandoned structure. I knew that someday I would utilize this effect in a painting and this morning I finally got the chance.

Daily Whip Out:
"El Pendejo Lands In Opodepe for
The Very First Time"

   Notice how the dust that accompanies El Pendejo's arrival envelopes the entire adobe at center right. Here's where I got that specific effect:

Golden Valley dust storm reference

   Full disclosure: I found this dust storm sequence in my massive—and semi-organized—archives about a month ago and pulled it out for usage. And here is the historic reference for Opodepe, Mexico taken in the 1920s.

Opodepe, Mexico, 1920s

   The final two pieces of the puzzle are my daughter Deena was in the Hands Across The Border program at Cave Creek Elementary School back in the early nineties and her school did an exchange program and we all went to Opodepe, which is south of Magdalena, Mexico, up in the mountains. And, I borrowed this saguaro I shot last week up at Barro's property:

I'm always a sucker for a
downward hanging saguaro arm.

   All of this disparate history came together for this set piece and opening sequence for El Pendejo. Sweet, yes?

"Normality is a paved road: it's comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow."
—Vincent van Gogh

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Strange "Gigantea" Survivors In A Strange Time

June 21, 2020
   These are strange days, indeed. Rather than going on my regular walk up Morningstar, I walked over to Ratcliff Ridge this morning to survey all the blackened vegetation and to see what might have survived the conflagration known around here as the Ocotillo Fire.  

Only the Tall Boys Survived the May 30th scorching

   Even the tall boys—the monarch saguaros—were burned, as you can see by the orange burn marks, high up the stalks of these big boys. Time will tell if they survive.

Only the tall boys survived II

    This is looking north towards Elephant Butte, where we had another fire yesterday—our third in a month!

   In all the devastation, a small outcropping of prickly pear cactus somehow survived the blaze. 

Strange Survivor

   How in the hell? Is there a phenom, or name for this? I remember driving through the Rodeo-Chedski Fire area up on the Mogollon Rim (2002) and in spite of the total scorching there were still these random, small pockets of trees, that somehow escaped the total devastation. I assume this must be a fire phenom?

   So I called my fire-fighting friend, John Kraetz, and this is what he said: "Nope. Just must have had light brush around it."

   And speaking of brush, it didn't help that the area around Ratcliff Ridge was blanketed with stinknet and buffelgrass, invasive weeds that are so aggressive "they suck up all the available water after a rain, before other plants can," according to Don Swann, a biologist said in this morning's Arizona Republic.

   Adult saguaros are called Carnegien gigantea.

   I will keep my eyes on this area (I can't help it because it's the first thing I see every morning!) and report on any and all come back efforts.

I'll see you in Helvetica!"
—Damning with font praise

Saturday, June 20, 2020

What Is The Truth Pendejo?

June 20, 2020
   Sometimes we all need to listen to a pendejo. It may not be pleasant, in fact, it will most probably be quite difficult to bear, but there is usually a message in the words of a pendejo that we need to hear.

   Two Slaughter cowboys found out the hard way.

Daily Whip Out:
"El Pendejo Dispatches A Lesson"

"Beware the rage of a patient man."
—El Pendejo

Friday, June 19, 2020

More Smoke, More Fire And Way More Dust

June 19, 2020
    Certain themes intrigue me. Fire. Smoke. Dust.

    Especially Dust.

Daily Whip Out:
"Smoke Gets In Your Eye Sockets"

   Nothing like a Day-of-The-Dead smoker to start your day, followed by a firewalker.

Daily Whip Out:
"Firewalking With Pendejo"

   Not to mention floating firewalkers.

Daily Whip Out: "Pendejo Rising II"

And don't forget scratchboard side views.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"Arikara Side View"

But none of those those themes come close to this one.

Daily Whip Out: "Dust Rider"

   As you may know, I grew up in Mohave County and this gave me an advantage when it comes to studying continuous dust.

"From armpits to butt crack, from dust to dust, if you grew up in Kingman you probably got crust."
—Old Kingman Saying

Thursday, June 18, 2020

El Pendejo Drops In to See What Condition Your Condition Is In

June 18, 2020
   Playing with some dust devil ideas. One of the favorite conveyances of El Pendejo is riding the dust columns that travel lazily across the Southwest deserts. You know, like this.

Daily Whip Out: "Rainbow Pendejo"

   I like this because El Pendejo appears to be riding upwards towards a dusty rainbow.

   Some dust devils ascend right up into the clouds, like this:

Daily Whip Out: "Duende Ascende"

   And, frankly, you can often see El Pendejo riding atop one of these.

Daily Whip Out: "El Pendejo Hangs Ten"

   Of course, it would be a mistake to somehow glorify El Pendejo and make him into a folk hero. We must always remember, he earned the nickname!

"It's always easier to condemn the past than confront the present."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Mickey Free Meaner, Darker And Even More Cursed

June 18, 2020
   Some wag claims no man has ever successfully cleaned out an attic. Well, I have a similar problem when looking in my art morgue.

Daily Whip Out: "The Apache Kid"

   I was looking for the above Apache Kid Whip Out when I ran across some old Mickey Free panels. It dawned on me, that the Top Secret Writer and myself made a tactical error in attempting to develop the historic character into a fictional character.

Daily Flashback Scratchboard Fix:
"Mickey Free, Meaner, Darker 
And Even More Cursed."

   We were modeling Jeff Chandler doing Cochise in "Broken Arrow" when we should have been channeling Javier Bardem doing Anton Chigurh in "No Country for Old Men."

   And, of course, from there, once I'm in a file, I start to see all these boards that need to be "fixed."

Daily Scratchboard Flashback Fix:
"Four Star Gazer"

   And, I'm sorry, this one just had to get a tweak on the flag and the mule anatomy.

Daily Flashback Whip Out Fix:
"Something In The Road Brought
Mickey's Mule Up Short."

   And all this doesn't even count my other ongoing experiments.

Daily Whip Out: "Gray Light Vaquero"

Still Saguaro Grieving This is a photo of one of my favorite saguaros on the south side of our house.

   Yes, all of those yellow buds are glob chamomile, the invasive grass that elevated the Octotillo Fire's intensity by several notches.

What's left of the side yard saguaro

   And, yes, that is the cave, across the way, that Cave Creek is named for and it burned all the way over to there and then straight up the ridge to the top, where it took off again.

"A society without a grounding in ethics, self-reflection, empathy and beauty is one that has lost its way."

—Brian Rosenberg