I will be gone tomorrow, so I will do days 6 and 7 on Saturday. Just sayin'...
It always fascinated me as a child, to watch dad draw. He would sketch something with a pencil then get out a jar of black ink and a his nib dip pens.
He would draw the most wonderful pictures - but the next day I would almost always find them torn in half in the wastebasket. We finally told him how wonderful his work was and how much other people would enjoy it as well. Not too long after, he started getting more serious about his work and the pieces ending up in the trash became fewer and fewer.
He bought a big magnifying glass on an arm with a light attached that he could screw onto his drawing table. He used the magnifying glass because it was very difficult for him to draw only having the use of one eye. But he would spend hours and hours placing tiny dots of ink in such a way that it turned into magnificent work.
Dad's art told such wonderful stories. He loved old cowboys, anything from the old west, trappers, hunters, and wildlife. I think, however, what impressed me the most was the fact that he used the faces of people he worked with in his drawings and each picture portrays his own hands. It wasn't just art - it was his soul.
A few years before he died, he started selling his work at Brown's Art Gallery downtown. People from all over the country bought it and in fact, most of his original works are gone. But fortunately, we do have prints.
Lady Friends Commin' was one of his last works. I love the idea of two old cowboys giving eachother haircuts before seeing their girls. Where did he get the idea for such a thing?
First Grade Reader is my personal favorite. The face used in this print was dad's good friend from Fish and Game, John Beecham. I love the idea of an old cowboy trying to teach himself to read.
The Cowboy and the Bird was by far, the most popular of dad's work. After he died, it was the first to sell out. We went for many years with only a few copies we had saved for family, but last spring we had some prints made.
The face dad used in this was another friend from Fish and Game, Phil Swanstrom.
While dad loved drawing the rough, tough cowboys of the old west, each of them had a soft side that he loved to tell through his work. Each one said so much about him and how he looked at life.
It was, in fact, his artwork that helped to catch his killer. His print, Mountain Man was used to raise the reward money that helped catch Claude Dallas. We sold them again in order to raised the $25,000 it took to reacapture him after his escape.
I'm so greatful to have this wonderful legacy that dad left for us. Someday, if any of the kids or grandkids want any of his work, it's here for them. At their ages right now it's not their style but as they get older, I hope they will appreciate it for what it is. The heart and soul of a very important man.