February 2, 2009
Spent the weekend trying to nail the final design for the big oil painting I'm doing for the new Billy the Kid museum in Ruidoso. Had quite a few problems to work out. Here's the basic design I'm leaning towards using:
And, yes, this is my 8,000th sketch (on the way to 10,000). At lunch today I looked through my Franklin Daytimer Morgue and, although I still can't nail down exactly when I began this quest, it's much earlier than I reported last week. I found a notation of several thousand sketches beginning on April 3, 2005, and a note to myself to do five sketches a day on January 3rd, 2005. How I settled on the number six, as a daily goal, I can't remember. Perhaps it's in the blog archives stored on this site.
From the basic layout, I added the idea of an adobe building behind Billy and Pat, with the vigas repeating and echoing the two rifles:
For the building I went out and sketched my pump house which has unusually long vigas. The building was built by my Kingman Cowboy Cousin Craig Hamilton and he asked me if I wanted the vigas cut down to an even length and I said no, I loved the looming and jutting aggressiveness of the uncut poles.
From there I played with a couple color schemes:
This color scheme was inspired (poached) from a Frank Tenney Johnson nocturne. I did another, less successful one:
And, I then auditioned night skies for the best value and tone:
I prefer the top, right one, above, with the big cloud angling down against the grain of the vigas and rifles. And I like the neutral sky behind the rifle, and yes, that's Maxwell's Fort Sumner house in the background, and in the final, I'll have just one light on, in Pete's bedroom.
Oh, the foreboding!
Rather than put all of my eggs in one adobe, I also played with other backgrounds:
But I think this is too airy. I want more of a dark, murky world for them to inhabit. I also worked on one, I call:
Billy In Blue
The model for this pose was Billy Glenn, the son of my Business Manager Carole Glenn. He has a great smile and the shirt the Kid has on is the same fireman bibbed shirt he's wearing in the only authenticated photo of the Kid.
I had a court date this morning for our dog crimes and while I was waiting for the judge I sketched even more Pat Garretts And Billy the Kids in my daytimer:
The court found us not guilty "without prejudice" and I celebrated by stopping at Aaron Bros. and buying $230 worth of oil paints and supplies. Now I really have to bail into that big painting, even though I am quite nervous. I'm afraid of failure and afraid of making mud. Gee, I wonder what the Old Vaqueros have to say about this?
"When you fear something, learn as much about it as you can. Knowledge conquers fear."
—Old Vaquero Saying