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Work In Progress – The Mountain King, Gage Skinner

Work In Progress – The Mountain King, Gage Skinner

This is Gage Skinner. Gage is a cultural anthropologist, widely-traveled former Peace Corp Volunteer, Foreign Service Officer (South America), State and National Park Service Ranger (Oklahoma and the Rocky Mountain Region), professor at Grossmont-Cuyamaca College District, Fur Trade historian, re-enactor and poet. Gage posed for me in 2006 at the Mountain Man Rendezvous in Pinedale, Wyoming. This painting is traditional oils on "Realgesso" Masonite. Day two. Day three. Day four. Day five. Day six. Here is the final version of Gage's portrait. Here are two close-ups of my final version to show all the detail. Thanks for riding along. Stay tuned, there are many more of my works in progress to come. Denny

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Work In Progress – Rodeo Spirit

Work In Progress – Rodeo Spirit

This is a commission piece. This is Rick Scruggs from Duncan, South Carolina. Rick has been riding since the age of two. He specializes in team roping and calf roping. His mother was gifting this painting to Rick's father. Rick is posed with his favorite saddle that his father bought for him. It's a high-end Courts roping saddle handmade by a company called McMaster Custom Tack in Texas. This painting is traditional oils on museum-grade Masonite. The finished size is 24" x 20". Here is version one. I am giving you a close-up first since I am working just the face area. This is day two. I have smoothed out the flesh and hat while adding more detail to the face and hat. On the second day, the paint sets up and makes it easy to use a dry brush to blend and smooth everything out. Here is a close-up of version two. Day three. I pretty much finished detailing his face and managed to get the Courts saddle roughed in. Day four. I’m still working all of the saddle detail. I just love painting leather and metal! Day five. The saddle is just about complete. You can even see…

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Work In Progress – Over The Great Divide

Work In Progress – Over the Great Divide

This is my good friend and hunting buddy, Sheldon Hanson. He is also my neighbor here in Cody, Wyoming. I have him and his horse, Junior posed in front of the famous Grand Teton Mountains in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This painting is traditional oils on museum-grade Masonite and the finished size is 18" x 24". Here is day two. Day three. I finally got all the details finished on the mountain tops as well the area below which are actually trees, high meadows and rock formations. Where the trees stop is the tree line, which in the Rocky Mountains, usually stops in the 9000 feet above sea level range. As you can see, I got Sheldon's face roughed in. On this version, I laid down the base coat for Sheldon's horse and added the rifle scabbard. I also finished detailing his face, beard and hat. I have Junior's head just about done. I will then move over to Sheldon's shirt for the next go around. I laid in the base coat for Sheldon's leather shirt and pants. This was about a day and a half worth of work. On this version, it took several days to add all the textures,…

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Work In Progress – Western Contemplation

Work In Progress – Western Contemplation

This is my good friend Dustin Roush from Gillette, Wyoming. Dustin posed for Leigh and I in July of 2006 at the DC Bar Guest Ranch, my friend's ranch in Pinedale, Wyoming. Dustin and his family operate a very large beef cattle ranch in Gillette. Dustin was completing "guide school" classes at the time so he can work as a licensed hunting guide in the state of Wyoming. Dustin is a "master" with a lasso. He was giving lessons to all the other students. What a great kid he is as well as a pure gentleman. Here is the first day's work. This is a rough base coat. Here is day two. I have added more detail to Dustin's face, Stetson, shirt and hands. I was able to lay in the base coat for the upper part of his jeans. This is a close-up of that area. This is day three. I finished the base coat for his jeans and boots. On day four I finished detailing his jeans and boots. I have also roughed in his lasso and the dirt at his feet. This is a close-up of that area. This is day five. I have pretty much finished…

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Work In Progress – Spirit, Horse, Hunter – Richard Ashburn

Work In Progress – Spirit, Horse, Hunter – Richard Ashburn

This piece is titled Spirit, Horse, Hunter. My model's name is Richard Ashburn. He is a guide from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He actually has lived the life of an actual mountain man for over thirty years. The piece is traditional oils on the Ampersand Gessobord Masonite. The size is 18" x 24". The reference photograph used was taken by my wife, Leigh. It was taken at the Mountain Man Rendezvous in July 2006, Pinedale, Wyoming. Here is version one. This is version two. In Richard's hand is his custom made English Pattern Henry rifle built for him by Steve Hill. To read more about Steve Hill, Larry Walker and their outstanding works of art, check this link: http://web.mac.com/j.henry.artificers/ This is version three. There was still a lot of detailing to be done, especially on his left chest, left arm, left hand and left knee area. BTW, I have never seen so much fringe on a person! On version four, I have added a lot more fine detail all over Richard, his rifle and clothing. I also painted in the stretched beaver pelt at his feet. Here is the final. To see some of the detailed areas, here are three close-up…

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Work In Progress – The Sentinel Of Southfork

Work In Progress – The Sentinel of Southfork

This is my third painting of my good friend, Sheldon Hanson. It is traditional oils on Ampersand Gessobord. The overall size is 11" x 14". I painted in the background awhile back to make sure that it was dry. This is day one of my work in progress. Here I painted in the base coat for his coyote skin cap. I had Sheldon pose in an old, full length, buffalo skin robe. He was wearing a full coyote skin cap while holding his favorite flintlock rifle. Here is day two. I have added more detail to Sheldon's coyote skin cap. I will add some more detail after that paint dries. I have roughed in his face and beard. There is still quite a bit of detail to be added here once the base coat sets up over night. This is day three. I added a little more base coat to Sheldon's beard. After it dries, I will start to paint in the actual hairs. I roughed in the collar on his buffalo skin coat and his leather fringed shirt. The dark red piece of cloth with the brass ring is what holds the eagle feather that is lying on his…

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Work In Progress – The Bronze Cowboy

Work In Progress – The Bronze Cowboy

This is bronze artist extraordinaire, Don Hershberger. Don is 55 years old when I painted him in 2008. He lives in nearby, Clark, Wyoming. Don has lived the lived of a cowboy here in Wyoming for many, many years but he has always found the time to create. His bronze work consists of cowboys, horses, Native Americans and wild animals from the area. One other interesting fact about Don is that he is a cowboy preacher. Here is day one. I posed Don on his ranch in Clark. He is holding his favorite lasso, leaning against his classic buck rail fence. The piece is traditional oils on Ampersand, Gessobord Masonite. The overall size is 18" x 24". Here is a close-up of his face. Here is day two's work. The hand and shirt are still pretty rough. These are two items that I have to let set up over night then work all the detail on top the next day. I spent most of the day detailing Don's shirt and hand and I am still not quite done. There is still quite a bit of detailing to do once the paint dries more, stitches, highlights and so on. Day four.…

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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 – 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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