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Work In Progress – An American Spirit

This is my very close friend here in Cody. His name is Greg Koschtial. Leigh and I met him in 2004 when he was outbid on my pistol piece that was up for auction at the Buffalo Bill History Center. The next day, we came into his store and I gave him a signed print I had. A few weeks later, a beautiful sterling silver, handmade bison pin with a 22ct. gold horn arrived in my mailbox. Greg is a master craftsman jeweler.

American Spirit WIP 8

We soon became really good friends after that. Just before we moved here in 2007, Greg lost his left leg in a terrible motorcycle accident. He was riding near Jackson Hole, WY with a friend, and a friend of his friend. Greg spotted a large bull bison near the road and he pulled off on the berm to wait until the others caught up. The friend of a friend, wasn’t paying attention because he was standing up on his bike taking pictures and he didn’t see Greg. He slammed into his fiberglass bags on Greg’s Honda Gold Wing bike. They exploded into big pieces of sharp razors that cut his leg almost completely off. Thank God an EMS guy, and a nurse happened to be driving by. If it weren’t for them, he would have bled out in minutes. After a ton of surgeries, he now walks with a high-tech, U.S. Flag-decorated leg. He never, ever complains. I don’t know how he does it. This is a guy who survived Vietnam without a scratch and to come home years later to have this thing happen, it’s just heartbreaking!

In 2010, a friend of Greg’s took several photos of him. He is Andrew Hogarth, a world famous photographer from Scotland. In my oil painting, to commemorate the incident and the “American Spirit” that he is, I painted a running herd of American bison reflected in his sunglasses.

American Spirit WIP 1

This is day two. I have added more detail to the flag and laid down my base coat for Greg’s hat.

American Spirit WIP 2

Day three. I finished detailing his hat. I also roughed in Greg’s face and his sunglasses with the bison herd reflections.

American Spirit WIP 3

Day four. I spent the entire day finishing his face, roughing in his elk ivory necklace and his pistol.

American Spirit WIP 4

This is day five of “An American Spirit.” The obvious addition is Greg’s chest area, his arm and hand where I was able to lay down a base coat. A few other things that I did was, I toned down the stars on the U.S. flag. I tighten up Greg’s gold necklace and elk tooth ivory pendant. I finished detailing his .45 Caliber Sig Sauer P220.

American Spirit WIP 5

Here is the final! I smoothed out the flesh on his chest and painted in the hair. The last thing was to paint in the seams and stitches on the flag, and I finally sign it.

An American Spirit

Here are two close-ups of my final version to show all the detail.

American Spirit WIP 6

American Spirit WIP 7

Thanks for riding along. Stay tuned, there are many more of my works in progress to come.

Denny

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