Tuesday, May 31, 2022

See Ya Sacagawea And Death On The Trail

 May 31, 2022

   On the hunt for one of the most famous Native American woman in the history of our country. Here's a sketch of her with a bit of an enigmatic smile.

Daily Sketch Whip Out:

"Sacagawea Meets Mona Lisa"

Death On The Trail

The Oregon Trail has been called the world's longest graveyard. The pioneer immigrants lost their lives to influenza, cholera, severe dysentery, or accidents. They were crushed by wagon wheels, stepped on by oxen or killed when a simple cut turned into a gangrenous infection.

"Passed 7 new-made graves, One had 4 bodies in it—cholera. . . .Another man died. Passed 6 new graves. We have passed 21 new-made graves. . .Made 18 miles. Passed 13 graves today."

—Cecelia Adams, in her 1852 diary

Brutal Horizon

Death Out West

   Yes, it was pretty brutal out here. And it wasn't just wagon train pioneers. Case in point:

A Cowboys Funeral

Photographer unknown,

1891, Baca County, Colorado.

Courtesy of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Dickinson Research Center – captures the funeral of George Brenton, a young cowboy who died during a roundup in 1891 in Baca County, which is located in the southeast corner of Colorado.

"Oh, bury me not on the lone prairie
Where the coyotes howl and the wind blows free
Where there's not a soul that will care for me
Oh, bury me not on the lone prairie"

—Johnny Cash, "Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie"

Monday, May 30, 2022

Crazy Horse Lightning Bolts, Top Hatted Welsh Spinners and Hardcore Rockabilly

 May 30, 2022

   Necessity is the mother of invention. My July editorial needed one more small element to make the body copy the right size, so I grabbed a scratchboard out of my morgue pile this morning and took another swing at it.

Daily Reworked Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Crazy Horse With Lightning Bolt War Paint" 

  Garrett Roberts posts some of the coolest old photos, like this one of a Welsh Walking Wheel woman in a tall-crowned hat:

   This prompted me to ask what a Welsh Walking Wheel is and what's up with the tall top hat? People knock social media, but I got my answers lickety split.

Early Welsh Spinners And Their Tall Hats

   David Wayne Bailey's grandmother, above, center

and here's the skinny behind the walking wheel.

The Story Behind The Walking Wheel

"Ninety percent of what I made went to women, whiskey, drugs and cars. I guess I just wasted the other 10 percent."

—Ronnie Hawkins (1935-2022)

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Uno On The Creek, La Gata at Barrio Queen And Tunstall at The Cliff House

 May 29, 2022

   Took the day off yesterday and went down to the creek for some R&R. Uno wanted to join three ducks (see, at far right) and play a little bit, but they took off before he could get to them. 

The Duck Hunter

   Nice day. Very relaxing. Haven't done this in a while.

   Had lunch with my model for La Gata (The Mexican Cat) last Wednesday at Barrio Queen down at Desert Ridge.

The Real La Gata: Jeanne Sedello

   We had a lot of catching up to do. We did a radio show many moons ago and her laugh is still the best in the biz. That would be The Jones, Boze & Jeanne Show on KSLX FM, which ran from 1986 to 1994. Today she is a Mexican Rental Property Tycoon. Love the girl.

   Went for a walk this morning and ran into a candidate for city council.

The Candidate

   I actually admire anyone who volunteers for the abuse they all endure from people like me. A vote for Tom Augherton is a vote for the future of Cave Creek, if you ask me.

A Blast From The Past

   Several times, during the 1980s and 90s, I experiened the second—or, could it have been the third?—iteration of the legendary Cliff House in San Francisco. But today, even that is gone.

Cliff House Honey

   The views are stunning, the food was always very good, but something lapsed or faded, perhaps interest in that idea of a tourist restaurant? It always amazed me that John Henry Tunstall ate at the Cliff House in 1876 before his ill-fated journey to New Mexico seeking new land and challenges. It cost him his life (the trip not the food) and started the Lincoln County War. I thought of him every time I ate there, which was probably six or seven times.

   Speaking of the Lincoln County War and Billy the Kid, this old street fighter paid me a visit on Thursday with this two sons.

Steve Randolph: "Try the sea bass"

   Steve asked me what ever happened to Buckeye Blake's wonderful Billy the Kid sarcophagus he proposed for the Kid's grave in Fort Sumner and I told him local politics shot it down but that perhaps True West should jump on the band wagon and help Buckeye make another run at it. It is so cool.

Buckeye Blake's Cool Kid Sarcophagus

   I wonder what the Kid might say about the demise of the Cliff House and a new sarcophagus for his grave?

"There's no money in it."

—Billy the Kid

Friday, May 27, 2022

Labor Intensive & Uno Gets A Pass

 May 27, 2022

   After an expensive trip to the vet ($700!) we found out Uno has pancreatisis, which is brought on by a diet too rich in fat. So it wasn't just the pecans. And the breed has a sensitive stomach. Whew!

You Know Uno

   Jana has some of the coolest tidbits for our Real Women book, like this one:

In Labor Indeed!

“Got my house work done about nine. Baked six loaves of bread. Made a kettle of mush and have now a suet pudding and beef boiling. I have managed to put my clothes away and set my house in order. Nine o'clock p.m. was delivered of another son.”
—From the 1840 diary of Mary Walker, mother of eight, Oregon Territory

Water Break? Labor Intensive?
A Woman's Work Is Never, Well, You Know.

Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half their inferior. Luckily, this is not difficult.

—Charlotte Whitton

"Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”

—Mary Anne Radmacher

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Bad Bob & Praise for Bat Masterson Issue

May 25, 2022

   I almost killed Uno two days ago. He was being a good boy and I was in the kitchen eating a handful of pecans when I noticed he was sitting patiently on his little dogpad in the living room staring at me with that Hey, any chance I could get a little handout over here? look. So I walked over to where he was and rewarded him a couple pecan crumbles, then added a few more just for good digestion sake. Just then Kathy walked by and said, "You're not feeding Uno pecans are you?" And when I said yes, she said, "It can kill him! Dogs can't stomach pecans!"  Long story short, he survived the trip to the vet and the anti-viral-shot between the shoulder blades and I survived the straight-thru-ticket to hell, at least for this infraction. This morning the boy is still a little lethargic but he appears to be making it with one caveat.

Bad Bob!

Do not feed me any more pecans dude.

   In spite of the vet trip, I have been honking on images for the book, like this sketch I may turn into a serious piece.

Daily Whip Out: "The Black Homesteader"

Major Praise for Marshall Trimble

"Finally, the definitive biography of Bat Masterson. Marshall Trimble has written one of the finest western histories in recent years! What I love about Marshall Trimble's history reporting- is this, he is a plain dealer. No excuses or suppositions or PC correctness, just the facts. Like winning a poker hand with a single high card. In the pantheon of western historians--Marshall Trimble is top shelf! Bat Masterson's life is one of the greatest of all Old West stories, both black and white and gray--but at the same time just imagine- from Adobe Walls to Dodge to Tombstone and finally New York City! It's hard to imagine an old West legend who could compare to the bio of Bat Masterson. 

Thank you, Marshall Trimble
—Coy Prather

"Just wanted you to know that I really had a good time throughout the Bat Masterson issue - not only because I've often fancied myself as a Bat Masterson type of girl. The article on Masterson tells it all - from Kansas to NYC - he led a big life! The message from Damon Runyan published in the San Francisco Examiner was touching - another big deal. I had to find out who wrote this article and was not surprised that it was Marshall Trimble - good to know he's doing well."
—Kristi Jacobs

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas, worry about the day they stop."
—Jeffrey Zeldman

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Frank McCarthy's Original Painting Rocks!

 May 24, 2022

  The late, great, Cowboy Artist Frank McCarthy did this commissioned painting for Sergio Leone's "Once Upon A Time In The West" (1968).

   Pretty damned stunning if you ask me. I don't know how you could ask for more in terms of action and capturing the best part of the film (that opening train station sequence still stands tall). And, you can actually recognize Charles Bronson, at lower right even though he's tiny! Superb!! Crazy good!!!

   And here's how the final poster came out after the agents, the producers, the director and the graphic designers had their say. 

   Way too crowded and if you ask me, I think they blew it by cropping and excluding the corner of the train platform which gives the original painting its lift. But when you get through all the studio politics and ad exec's BS you end up with this. Which is decent, and maybe even a classic, but dang that original painting is so damn strong all by itself.

"Design is so simple. That's why it's so complicated."

—Paul Rand

Monday, May 23, 2022

Read 'Em And Weep

 May 23, 2022

   Crankin' on the book. Lots to do. This is an ambitious study on Poker Alice when she was in her prime.

Daily Whip Out: "Read 'Em And Weep"

   And, yes, I had this Tall-Crown-Guy in mind when I whipped this one out.

Natives of Note

“Name, if you can, any female character in history whose story outshines in pluck, grim determination, fierce resolution, and mother self-sacrifice the record of this red heroine in letters of blood."
—Author Byron Defenbach praising Marie Dorion, who in 1811 became the first woman to travel the Oregon Trail. She is the only known Indian
woman given the title of “Madame” by her white neighbors

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Madame Marie Dorion"

   Got a call from a British documentary group asking if I had any illustrations on Doc Holliday. The short answer is Boy Howdy. Check 'em out at  bobbozebellart.com

Docs On The Brain

   Getting some serious raves about our Bat Masterson issue, like this one from Texas.

"Thanks for such a terrific magazine. Each issue is a treasure and Marshall Timble is like gravy on mashed potatoes."
—Coy Prather

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Biddy Mason Walks, Poker Alice In Her Prime, Fake News & Rampant Bralessness

 May 22, 2022

Here's a taste of the book we're working on.

"She walked from Mississippi to California behind her slave master’s wagon train, herding the cattle, cooking the meals and caring for her three daughters. Little did she know—or could she hope—she was walking into glory."

—Jana Bommersbach

Daily Whip Out:
"Biddy Mason Walks to The City of Angels."

We'll also be covering Poker Alice. All my life I have seen this photo of her taken at the end of a long run.

I have a hunch she was a looker in her prime. I'm working on a rough of an ambitious painting I want to do, called "Read 'Em And Weep." Tomorrow, perhaps.

Both are from the forthcoming book, "Real Women of the Wild West" due out this fall, including this one from "Sinners, Saints & Survivors":

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"The Supplicant"

   Here's something you don't often see in old photographs.

The Smiler

   As a matter of fact, it's so jarring to our expectations of what an 1800s photograph should look like, it makes us wonder if it's a fake photo! Isn't that interesting?

Daily Whip Out: "Adelita"

Short Term Memory
“I had never seen so much patchwork denim and rampant bralessness in my life.”

—Martin Short, reminiscing about auditioning for Godspell, in 1972

Left to right: Victor Garber, Gilda Radner,
Gerry Salsberg, Martin Short and Eugene Levey

It's News to Me
   For all of you who think the news put forth by the Lamestream Media is fake but that our history is sacrosanct:

"If the news is fake, imagine how bad history is."
—Old Newsman Saying

Saturday, May 21, 2022

When Life Imitates Art

 May 21, 2022

   I'm reading a tragic story of a talented young artist, Mathew Wong, who commited suicide at age 35. He was more or less on top of his game when he jumped off a tall building. These kind of stories always give me pause. How do we know if what we are doing is worth a whit? And, in the end, does it make any difference? Fortunately, I am still suffering under the illusion (or, should that be "delusion") that what I'm doing matters. It's a small blessing, but I'll take it.

When Life Imitates Art

   I recently saw this 1900s beautiful woman and was immediately struck by how much she resembles a Gibson Girl.

Actress Edna Loftus


   You can certainly see where the artist Charles Dana Gibson got his model from.

The Gibson Girl

   Or, did he? In the 1890s, the illustrator, Charles Dana Gibson, created the “Gibson Girl,” a vibrant, new feminine ideal who was the visual embodiment of what writers of the period described as the “New Woman.” So, if Gibson created the Gibson Girl in the 1890s and Edna was born in 1891, she would have been a mere tyke and not the beauty we see here. Perhaps it's more accurate to say she was emulating the Gibson Girl? Life imitating art?

The Queen of Country Swing

   At the same time, it's easy to see where the artist who created Honkytonk Sue got his model from.

BBB's Fave Honkytonk Sue Model

   And here is that beauty today at the foot of my studio stairs, still lighting up a room.

Kathy Sue and Uno In My Studio

   The bottom line is, draw what you see, not what you think you see. Why? Oscar knows. . .

"Life imitates art far more than art imitates life."

—Oscar Wilde

Friday, May 20, 2022

Crazy Chase • Crazy Cover • Crazy Horse

 May 20, 2022

   It's been a crazy chase, but I think we finally have a winner for our Crazy Horse cover in the next issue:

Crazy Horse Cover #2

   To give credit where credit is due, our publisher, Ken Amorosano, suggested we do this second pass at the cover making the case that the first one, below, was a little too fire engine red and he didn't like the arrow going over the masthead, and behind the top head.

Crazy Horse Cover #1

   I did like the lightning bolt in the first layout. And I do miss the arrow which now doesn't appear at all, but either way, both covers are excellent and I think the top one is a tad more Old West photo looking which should work for us on the newsstand.

   Thanks Dan The Man for going the extra mile.

"Heroes have a rough time because they stand up when they ought not to, they speak when they ought not to; they always go the extra mile."

—George Foreman

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Crowning Around!

 May 19, 2022

   Here's a wonderful, old photo (looks really early, maybe early 1850s?) showing Man's Best Friend, but the coolest part of this photo is the crown of that guy's hat.

Tall Crowns & Hounds

Hold on, check this out:

Crowning Around!

   Man, that is one tall crown! How come we never see THAT in a Western? 

Even More High Crowning

Tall Crowns In Clowntown

   These pics are from the Jeff Prechtel collection. He always has cool stuff. Thanks Jeff!

Speaking of Lost Crowns

"It's not show friends. It's show business."

—David Zaslav, the new CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery when told that the box office bomb "Cry Macho" was made because Clint Eastwood had given the studio so many hits and had never delivered a movie late. Zaslav was quoting from "Jerry Maguire" (1996)

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Mud Wrestling With The Past

 May 18, 2022

   Here's something we can all agree on about our history: the only way we can move forward is to own our past. That's not easy but I believe we are a people who have never shunned the heavy lifting. So, let's start with the positive:

Five Things We Can All Agree On

1. If we are truly a great nation, the truth cannot destroy us.

"Yes, my hat is ridiculous but so is your
contorted ideas about state's rights BS."

2. As with all aspects of history, you can make a valid interpretation of both sides of any issue.

"Personally, I prefer red,
not green chile."

3. We are a nation of ridiculous contradictions.

Everyone's equal except
for those guys over there?
What are you cats smokin'?

4. We all suffer from the poor history we have been taught. I love history and I did not enjoy the history I was taught in school. Mostly names and dates (The Missouri Compromise, 18-and-whatever!) that did not add up to anything meaningful to me.

"Oh, really?"

"You ungrateful Kingman twit."
The late, great, Fay Logsdon, a wonderful teacher at Mohave County Union High School, and who would, no doubt, remind me that I was a horrible student who talked all the time in class and might have at least learned the date of the Missouri Compromise (1820), since she covered it more than once for my benefit.

5. Most of us are guilty of a "glorious forgetting."

"My family could do no wrong."

   So, how do we move forward? We simply own our past, tell the truth and get on with the business of seeking liberty for everyone who is trying.

Daily Whip Out:

"Las Tules, Someone Who Is Trying"

"Offering our students a history that shakes them out of complacency while inspiring hope for a better future—what could be more useful than that?"

—Emily Sclafani, a history teacher in the Bronx, New York

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Calafia Is The Queen of California

 May 17, 2022

   Back to the Real Women of the Wild West. Or, at least back to a legendary woman who led to the real name of the golden state.

Daily Whip Out:

"Calafia In The Mists of Baja"

(Cortez Spies The Golden Girl

On The Golden Shore)

  Calafia was a character in "Las Sergas de Esplandián," an early 16th-century romantic adventure novel written by Spanish author Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo. In the book Calafia is described as a Black warrior queen who ruled a mythical island which was inhabited only by Black women who lived like amazon warriors. Calafia allegedly wore armor made of fish bones, used weapons made of gold. None other than Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés, a fan of romance novels, allegedly named the state of California for the Amazon queen.

   Way back in 2019 when Kathy and I were in San Francisco, I took a special trip downtown to view an early portrayal of this legendary women created by one of my painting heroes.

A mural panel of Calafia in the
Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco

    According to scholar Don Hagerty, this is Maynard Dixon's depiction of Queen Calafia, the mythical Amazon woman who the early Spanish explorers thought inhabited the Baja region with a group of women warriors. The Spanish, or more specifically Cortez, applied her mythical name to the new lands they just discovered, or, rather conquered, and that led to the name California. Maynard Dixon actually painted this and the other panels with the artist Frank Van Sloun  who also loved mythology and used it to great effect in this mural. If you are in the Bay Area I highly recommend you go see it. One caveat, you will need to make a reservation, it's not in the lobby but on the second floor and it can be seen by apointment only.

“I just found out her ghost left town, the Queen of California is stepping down."

— John Mayer, "Queen of California"

Monday, May 16, 2022

Olive Oatman Post Orgasm

 May 16, 2022

   Oh, man, this new AI-techno-moving-faces stuff is getting a tad weird. This is from a video Bradley Ross sent me. Kind of creepy and kind of amazing all at the same time. Looks kind of demented to me.

Olive Oatman Post Orgasm

   Creepy because it's seemless and quite believable. Check it out for yourself. What do you think? 


   I know where this is going and it's not going to be pretty. Or, maybe it will be too pretty. Full length movies utilizing and building on old real photos and putting them in outrageous situations. Dang!

Deena Bean On SNL?

If you watched Saturday Night Live last weekend you perhaps saw the Steve Martin bit where his girlfriend, "Dina Bean," is tortured by hand buzzers and eye socket removal and all of the kitschy 1950s gizmo toys writ large and ridiculous. Kathy and I did a double take the first time he called his girlfriend "Dina Bean" and later I realized his girlfriend is played by Aidy Bryant who is from Phoenix! In fact, according to one source, her mother still has a boutique store here. Could it be one of them saw this blog post and thought the name was funny?

   Probably not, but still, that's pretty coincidental, no?

"Women are the real architects of society."