Sometimes we take drives to beautiful places.. We don’t go often, and generally when we do, it’s for peace and beauty, not seeking much company.
However, one day these very friendly horses were on the roadside, not at all frightened by people, they were the nice kind of company to have.
So we stopped to see them. One even came to say hello, putting his face into the truck window. I thought he’s accustomed to getting goodies from his owners, and they most likely deliver the hay from a pick up truck.
I know better than to feed other peoples livestock or to go onto their ranch land, but on the road, I could take photos. I decided to paint from them, and just finished this painting.
Another helpful tip: if you want to take a ride in the country, if there is a closed gate, make sure you close it again after driving through.
I really appreciate the care ranchers give to the land and animals.
I had a good friend named Junior. He is passed on now, but a few years back he taught me a lot about cowboys and their work. I didn’t know much before these times, but I came to respect them, their care for the animals and the land, their working together when round-up times came.
Junior took me back into the places where they did the work, where they brought the cattle in from vast spaces into small holding pens or near watering holes, usually a ways from the highways, sometimes over rough terrain.
It was enjoyable then to paint the horses, the men and the cattle. It was a time of transition for me and an adventure, good painting times. I was showing at a couple galleries and had a few one-artist shows. It was a lot of work, but I got it done.
I didn’t romanticize any of it, and painted the men as they are today, and the work as they do it. They each have their own ways, but all were skillful and work together.
I don’t know where these fellows are today, two are passed on. But I will remember their hands and their ropes, the way their horses respond to the cattle and the man on their back. It’s like poetry at times. It was an experience I treasure. I didn’t know before this that some horses can talk to you if you listen.
I don’t remember how many paintings all together I did of the cowboys, but it was many.
There were four different ranches I went to. Each was unique and well managed. I am forever grateful for them letting me be there, taking hundreds and hundreds of photos to work from.
I was reminiscing about my friend Junior today, remembering him. He was a fine man, his wife equally as wonderful. But I miss him. He was one of the good men on the earth.
God is good. It’s amazing the places we go and people we get to know in a lifetime.
I have added a new tab on the home page menu, “Western Art”.
This painting “Red Iron Bridge” was painted in 2018. It is a scene looking from the modern bridge on the highway looking away to the old bridge crossing over the Gila River. It is mostly private land, with beautiful cows grazing along side the meandering river.
There are plants growing over some of the railings and maybe a skunk or two living underneath the bridge. There are frogs and other living things.
Most of the bridge is intact. No driving is allowed on it anymore, so it is a pleasant walk back in there.
Most of the trees are cottonwood in a semi- desert terrain. It’s beautiful to see a natural flowing river.
I have to compliment the cowboys and ranchers in the region. They have a tremendous respect for the animals and the land.
Well, that is my contribution for “Word Prompt of the Month” encouraged by WordPress. I am grateful for a little inspiration.
I love painting over old canvases when they’re not too lumpy.
After sketching in the forms and blocking in the painting, the painting seemed to sail. They don’t always “paint themselves”. A lot of my work takes months to do.
The owner of a gallery I used to show in asked me to not be so specific in my work. I didn’t know then what that meant, but here it shows all the people and not one is recognizable. The idea, not necessarily the detail, is stronger.
This painting is a special part of the prayer in my heart for our America… the people’s heart, the people’s country, the people’s recognition of our reliance upon God for any good thing.
The color varies at times of day and lighting, so I went out to the northside just before full sunrise and took this photo for northlight color:
The Gila is a meandering river in it’s natural course, as beautiful as a river can be. It is one of the last free flowing rivers in the western U.S., originating in the Mogollon Mountains of the Gila Wilderness. It is over 600 miles long, a tributary of the Colorado River, flowing through New Mexico and Arizona.
This view of the Gila River is off the Turkey Creek Road, outside the town of Gila, and is my eighth painting of the river.
I began painting this last fall, then abandoning it at middle stages. Recently, it appealed to me again and I worked it, enjoying the distance, the direction of the river.