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Work In Progress – Gordon Bond As Shiloh Jasper Green

Work In Progress – Gordon Bond as Shiloh Jasper Green

This is my good friend, Gordon Bond of Land Of Lakes, Florida. Shiloh Jasper Green as he calls himself, is a member of S.A.S.S aka the Single Action Shooting Society that is a national group who are quick draw artists and shooting competitors. Here is day one. This is a 16" x 20" portrait with the background roughed in. I am painting with traditional oils. This painting is on museum-grade Masonite made by Ampersand. It has a white, textured clay surface and covered with white gesso. Here is day two. I had managed to get Gordon's face all roughed in. Here is a close up of Gordon's face after smoothing his facial tones with a dry brush. My wife Leigh took the reference photograph that I used to paint from. If you closely at Gordon's right eye, you will clearly see the beautiful orange sunset, trees and sky reflected there. Day three. I have roughed in the base coat for Gordon's bandana and metal star concho. Here is day four. You can see that I have painted in my basecoat for the shirt and vest. Day five. I laid down what are the heavy shadow areas of the shirt and…

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Work In Progress – No Time For Flowers

Work In Progress – No Time for Flowers

The piece is 16" x 20" overall. It is painted in acrylics on a 1/8" thick museum-grade Masonite, Ampersand Claybord. It has a white, slightly textured Gesso-covered clay surface. It is pH Neutral and acid-free. One other advantage of the Masonite Claybord over a stretched canvas is that is very durable and a lot more stable. Another advantage to these boards is that they are all ready for paint without prepping them in any way. Here we go. Leigh took a fantastic photograph of a massive buffalo bull plodding through the famous Hayden Valley of Yellowstone National Park in September of 2005. I located another shot of Hayden Valley that I liked and put here buffalo bull into it. Here is the first day's work with the sky completed. This is day two. In the background are lodge-pole pines, native to the park and the distant rolling hills added. Here I have the buffalo roughed in. I have been told that I do have some strange artistic techniques. I create in pieces. I do try to finish off the areas as I go, but I am a realist in another sense. I do go back in and re-work all the…

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Work In Progress – Waycie Roundstone, Grass Dancer

Work In Progress – Waycie Roundstone, Grass Dancer

In the summer of 2008, Leigh and I had the ultimate privilege to attend our first dance Pow Wow in Cody. It was held and sponsored by the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. The Grass Dance style is a very old dance rich in history that has become very popular. In the old days, it was the job of the grass dancers to flatten the grass in the arena before a Pow Wow. The name grass does not come from the stomping of grass, but it comes from the old habit of tying braids of sweet grass to the dancer's belts, producing a swaying effect. Today, Grass Dancers resemble a multicolored swaying mass of yarn or fringe on the dance floor. The Grass Dance is a very fluid and bendable style, with the dancers trying to move their fringe in as many places as possible at once. The Grass Dance style was born in the North, but its popularity has spread South, and now this beautiful style is available for everyone. The regalia of a Grass Dancer is very different from most other styles. The head gear is much the same: roach, spreader, and maybe a beaded headband. One primary difference…

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Work In Progress – Mountain Man Of Castle Rock

Work In Progress – Mountain Man of Castle Rock

OK children, gather around, it's time for a history lesson! As you look out our front window here on the Lower South Fork of the Shoshone River, which faces southwest, you see the famous landmark, called Castle Rock about three miles away. It juts up from the valley floor and stands all by itself. It rises several hundred above the floor of the valley. Castle Rock actually climbs to 6,010 feet above sea level. Here at the ranch we are about 5300 feet above sea level to give you an idea how high it is. As the Castle Rock sign says: "John Colter, famed among the famous breed of Mountain Men, passed this landmark late in the fall of 1807 while on business for the fur trader Manual Lisa. Searching for Indians in order to conduct trade, he also hunted salt caves reputedly located near the headwaters of this stream then known as the stinking water." On his journey, Colter not only discovered this later named Shoshone River but he also became the first recorded white man to visit the upper Wind River, Jackson's Hole and Yellowstone Park. His lonely trek, compounding the normal dangers of savage wilderness by mid…

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Work In Progress – Last Of The Real Cowboys

Work In Progress – Last of the Real Cowboys

This is someone else who quickly became a good friend that I met early in 2008. His name is Gene Hartung. Gene lives right across the Buffalo Bill Dam from us in Cody, Wyoming. My wife, Leigh ran into him in downtown Cody. Leigh knows exactly the kind of faces I am constantly on the lookout for. She immediately asked him if he would pose for me. He told her how my mentor, James Bama, had asked him that very same question several years earlier. Gene agreed to pose for Bama, but what a shame that Bama never painted him! His loss was my gain. During a driving snow storm in 2008, we did my photo shoot at his log home. I actually posed him in the exact same clothes Bama did, except for a different shirt. Gene had a favorite saddle as a young cowboy. It had completely worn out and was long gone by then. Since the Bama shoot, Gene had taken up saddle making. He wanted to make an exact copy of his own saddle, and that he set out to do. He had never made a saddle before. Working totally from memory, he actually made four…

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Work In Progress – First Snow

Work In Progress – First Snow

This is my first painting of Michael Bad Hand Terry. Bad Hand is his given Indian name. Michael is an accomplished Actor, Stuntman, Authenticity Expert and Technical Consultant for nearly 50 motion pictures including Dances With Wolves and Last of the Mohicans. He is currently the nation's renowned authority on Plains Indian history. Michael's journeys take him all across the USA where he teaches, lectures and entertains the curious public on Plains Indian history, culture, and corrects many of the myths and untruths propagated and compounded by generations of television and inaccurate historical portrayal. Michael's mission is to undo the misunderstandings about the Native Americans from history and show the kinder, gentler side of their survival as a culture. Michael was kind enough to pose for me in Pinedale, Wyoming in July 2006. All the clothing, regalia, props, jewelry and such are made by hand by Michael to accurately reflect Native American history. Michael is careful to explain, educate and nullify myths and legends about the Plains Indians history through demonstration, story-telling and careful and accurate responses to questions posed by his audiences. Michael has posed and been painted for the last 30 plus years by the likes of Frank…

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Work In Progress – Alan Baker As Buffalo Bill

Work In Progress – Alan Baker as Buffalo Bill

This is Alan Baker of Cody, Wyoming in character as a middle-aged, William "Buffalo Bill" Cody. The photo reference used was taken by my wife, Leigh, when we were in Cody, Wyoming, September of 2004. This study was the first of many photos that Alan so graciously posed for. The greatest thing about this photo is that it was totally candid. We stepped onto the porch of Buffalo Bill's historical hotel, The Irma, named for his daughter. Alan was waiting patiently for his turn to play his part in the nightly Cody Gunfighters re-enactment when Leigh snapped the photo. This is an acrylic painting on 1/8" thick museum-grade Masonite board. The Masonite is gesso-covered board called "Gessobord" made by Ampersand. The overall size of this painting is 16" x 20". This was my first painting in 34 years. I started my process by penciling the major lines to the board. This is version one after applying the paint to the background, his Stetson and his face. Version two shows the under-base for Alan's hair. I added more under-base to his face. Version three shows more of the middle layers of his hair with much more to come. I also started…

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Work In Progress – Troy Polamalu – Strong Safety Painting

Work In Progress – Troy Polamalu – Strong Safety Painting

This is version one of my "work-in-progress" of Troy's oil painting. This piece is being done on a specially prepared 1/8" Masonite board. It is called "Claybord" manufactured by the Ampersand company. The board has a base layer of white clay, over-layed with a coating of Gesso. The surface is rather smooth. It has just enough tooth to help pull the paint from the brush. It is considerably more of a smoother surface than most canvas surfaces. The two biggest advantages are that the Masonite is a lot more stable and durable than a canvas and the smooth surface lets me get a more desirable "realistic" finished piece. The oil painting is quite a bit bigger than the pencil study. Troy's image is just shy of being life-size. The Claybord is 18" x 24" overall and I paint edge-to-edge. After drawing all my lines on the board, I started painting Troy's helmet and face. As you can see, having the face guard over his face gives an added challenge to make sure all the spaces between the bars look like they all look like they go with his face. It sounds simple but you are dealing with many different colors…

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Work In Progress – Troy Polamalu – Strong Safety Pencil

Work In Progress – Troy Polamalu – Strong Safety Pencil

This is the first installment of the "work-in-progress" for Troy Polamalu's pencil study. This will aid in the process of working into the oil painting that is coming next. The pencil study helps to work out any hard to see details and techniques to get the right textures, shading, shadows and so on. The overall image size is 10" x 16" where as the oil will be 18" x 24" overall. I started by hand-rubbing in the cloudy background. It is achieved by applying powdered charcoal using a Kleenex tissue on my index finger. You can see the charcoal I am using on the piece of paper in the photograph below. Most of the actual drawing is done with German-made "Faber-Castell" drawing pencils. I use a very soft lead. The pencils are 6B and 8B grade. A normal "school pencil" is usually a 2B. This is how I am able to achieve the darkest of darks. It is very hard to keep a good point on the pencils and they do require frequent sharpening. Thank God for electric sharpeners! The first "work-in-progress" picture of Troy was done in 5-6 hours. In the second picture, I am 9-10 hours into the…

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