December 2011 - Vol 3, Issue 12
Wolves in the Art World
By Don Hedgpeth
Excerpt from: Remember Me To Them That Ride By
There was a time in the West, twenty-five or thirty years ago, when the western art business more closely resembled the buying and selling of used cars, or furnishing new clothes for the emperor. Caveat emptor was the watchword, and novice collectors were most often at the mercy of shady charlatans for whom culture was only a commodity. They roamed backroads across the West in old vans and decrepit station wagons with paintings stacked in the back and bronzes wrapped up in thin blankets stolen from cheap motels. It had always been impolite out West to ask where a man came from, and the same seemed true when it related to paintings and their provenance.
I remember, back in the early 1970s, when one of the original western art wolves from Kalispell, Montana, showed up in Cody, Wyoming, with a large W R Leigh painting covered in plastic garbage bags and strapped on the top of his car, and another time when a particularly mysterious and evasive entrepreneur disappeared after supper, leaving his station wagon packed with paintings parked on the street in front of our house for two weeks in the middle of a Wyoming winter.
A little later, back in Texas as the oil boom began, I watched the art wolves from Scottsdale and Dallas descend on Midland, drawn to the sweet scent of new money. They lined up paintings along the walls of dimly lit motel rooms where whiskey flowed free and hundred dollar bills were the currency of convenience. My son Cody who was about eight at the time, sagely observed that the western art business was like a game played without any rules.
A lot of mediocre and really bad art changed hands in those days. From time to time, I am amused when I see one of those old pieces show up again in an auction somewhere, like an old horse with a bunch of brands.
Sometimes, I miss those old days, and especially some of the more colorful scalawags, like the one who once told me he had always been as honest about the art as the company and circumstances would allow. Those days are done now, and I guess it's probably for the best. But they made good memories.
Penned by Don Hedgpeth, our resident renaissance cowboy: historian, author, art expert, poet. He also sings and plays traditional cowboy songs and recites a few poems he has written. Don lives with his wife of nearly 50 years, Sug, and they, together, can be found at poetry and art gatherings, or at home in Medina, TX.
He does not have, nor shall ever have a computer. He has no cell phone nor typewriter and still writes longhand. He is wary of mechanical things getting between him and his muse.
You will see him at the 2012 High Noon Antique Show in January - he will be in the Main Hall hanging out with his buddy John Moyers.
This piece is part of an essay he wrote for a Clagget/Rey Gallery catalog a couple of years ago.
Books by Don Hedgpeth:
Howard Terpning: Spirit of the Plains People
Desert Dreams, the Western Art of Don Crowley
The Texas Breed: A Cowboy Anthology
From Broncs to Bronzes: The Life and Work of Grant Speed
Under Western Skies: The Art of Bob Pummill
Bettina: Portraying Life in Art
Remember Me To Them That Ride By
|Featured Photography by Steve Bundy|
The photo this month is by Steve Bundy - Running to Water
My goal is to capture and preserve the vast landscapes, crumbling buildings, rusting forgotten cars and evidence of diverse cultures that I find along the way between southern California and northern New Mexico - giving them new recognition, preserving them as they erode, before they melt back into the earth. When people view my images it is my hope that they see beyond my vision and experience their own feelings and emotions. Hopefully through my eyes they might gain a new perspective and see their world in a new and expanded way.
|Did You Know?|
Cowboys traveled light, and stored their meager worldly possessions in a "war bag
." Inside was generally everything he owned, typically an extra set of clothes, extra ammunition, spare parts for equipment, playing cards, bill of sale for his horse, and maybe a harmonica or a few precious letters. Also called a "war sack" and a "yannigan bag."2. While the rest of the cowboys slept under the stars on a cattle drive, one unlucky soul who drew the short straw, the "night hawk", had to stay up all night standing guard.3.
Railroad passengers first paid as much as $111 for first class from Omaha to Sacramento to $40 for the lowest class.
| Empty Saddle |
Great Falls, Montana
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|Linda's Feed Bag|
Hot Crab Dip
For your next holiday party, why not bring something other than wine or flowers? How about bringing a dip that will knock their socks off? Purchase an inexpensive, colorful, 2-quart, ovenproof bowl, and a new dish towel, both which your host and/or hostess can keep as a holiday gift.
This recipe can be halved for a smaller group.
Serves 12 to 16
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped red bell peppers
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1½ tsp dry mustard
1 tablespoon plus1 teaspoon flavor enhancer like Old Bay seasoning
1 pound low fat cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated on the large holes of a box grater (about 1 cup) (or buy a package of pre-grated cheese)
½ - ¾ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced scallions
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked through for shells and cartilage
½ teaspoon paprika
½ cup saltine or butter cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
LOTS of toast points or crackers, for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees (350 if you are only making half).
Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, bell peppers, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, dry mustard, 1 teaspoon seasoning. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set vegetables aside.
Place cream cheese, cheddar cheese, parsley, scallions, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, remaining teaspoon salt, and remaining tablespoon seasoning in the bowl of a food processor; process until smooth. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; fold in cooked vegetables and crabmeat. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish.
In a small bowl, mix together breadcrumbs, paprika and melted butter; stir to combine. Spread breadcrumb mixture over crabmeat mixture and bake until hot and bubbly, about 20-30 minutes. Garnish with another sprinkling of parsley and paprika (green and red for the holidays) then wrap in towel to bring to the party!
Serve with toast points or crackers.
Help us "Put on the Feed Bag!" Appetize us with your favorite cowboy cuisine. Send us a recipe or culinary creation - keeping the traditions of the American West alive is about the great food too! From ribs to rhubarb, campfire food to a great bowl of chili - we Wild West epicureans want to know.
Submissions welcome at SmokeSignals@highnoon.com.
| In the News - HIgh Noon Show and Auction|
|Holiday Greetings from High Noon|
His Legacy is Something We All Share In
By Jayne Skeff
At 92 years young, Al Shelton, icon, mentor to countless, sculptor, painter and the worlds foremost leather carver, is finally retiring. It's hard to imagine Ventura Boulevard in Studio City (CA) without his store being there as it's been there since LA's famous boulevard was still just a sagebrush lined street. For over 50 years, Al has spent his life in this famous studio creating works of art, one piece more exquisite then the next. Just this month, Al finally gave notice that he would be closing his store in six months - the end of an era perhaps but just the beginning of a new chance for all of us to feel, own and bring his legacy a bit closer to our hearts. After all, it's the Al Shelton's of our Western world that have brought its rich heritage and culture to the forefront of America.
There have been stories, books, and documentaries done on Al's amazing life. Just a quick google is all it takes to see the breadth and depth of his life. Just a quick pass through the Autry National Center of Western Heritage in Los Angeles and his work surrounds you. Anyone who was lucky enough to attend his 90th birthday celebration at the Autry felt the electrifying energy of the love and pure awe at this work by the wealth of those he mentored that surrounded him.
Indeed, his 92 years have been enriching to all of us. It is amazing to consider he has been doing what he's been doing since the age of 7 when he won his first award for a watercolor at the Weld County Fair in Greeley Colorado. From the time he was a young boy, C M Russell captivated him and he knew the artist inside of him would direct his life. Most people know Al for his leatherwork to the stars but many don't know that his oils and watercolors hang in homes and galleries around the West. His painting, Thinking of You hung for years in the main living room over the fireplace at Jack Palance's ranch.
What many likely don't know either is that his leatherworking was a fluke. Out of work at the age of 18, he moved to Denver, hadn't really done any tooling but for one small wallet. He was hired on the spot, and his leatherworking is what would make him a household name. It was the luck of a booth at the Los Angeles Farmers Market in the 1950s that would change his life. He met the Hollywood icons that would demand his work for their guitars and the cases. He provided the flash for their stage presence.
From all of us at High Noon, we encourage everyone to make a visit to Al's studio on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City before it closes in May. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the breadth of his work and the opportunity to own an Al Shelton work of art in leather or paint or bronze. Everything in the store will be sold - and there won't be any more. Oh, Al will still be around but he'll have his feet up finally lounging in the recliner at his new retirement digs, no doubt entertaining the neighbors with endless stories of how he gave Ricky Nelson his first guitar lesson, about his friendship with Gene Autry, and how he made custom buckles for Tom Selleck, Sly Stallone... well he has 92 years of stories to share and we have a lifetime of his work to embrace.
Can't make the trip to Studio City? High Noon is very proud to be offering one of his miniature saddles in our January 28, 2012 auction. The work on this saddle is pure Al Shelton.
While we will miss Al on Ventura Boulevard, we look forward to an invitation to come hear his stories while lounging at his new home. Well, we can hope! (Hint-hint Al)...
For more information about Al or to order limited edition prints of Al Shelton's oil and watercolors, visit: www.artisanstudioworks.com
|Collector News, too|
Congratulations, Jerry Wallace!
Congratulations to Jerry Wallace of Madill, OK, the 2011 Adolph Bayers Spur Maker of the Year award recipient. Jerry received his award at the WRCA Final Rodeo in Amarillo this past November. This is the fifth year for this prestigious award. J Martin Basinger, in association with the NBSSCA, has presented this award to Jerry Cates, Billy Klapper, Kevin Burns, Russell Yates and Bill Adamson.
Congratulations to Jerry.
This is a well deserved recognition
for his excellent work over the years.
Dick & JoAnn Roll
Everything we love, collect and sell,
has to have a story.
by Jayne Skeff
Nary three minutes into the delightful interview with JoAnn Roll, the word love
quickly became her signature. Just chatting with her, the passion she and Dick feel for what they do kept the cell signal alive from their remote ranch in Fallbrook, CA - the ranch she grew up on as a child and still lives on today. "We just love what we do but it's really because we just love all the people that are part of this world. We love, love, love doing the shows because of everyone there. If we sell something - great, but if not, we are still just so happy to be part of all of this."
The world of Cowboy and Western was not something Dick and JoAnn began their life together doing. When asked, "So, how long have you and Dick been married?" "Forever, absolutely forever," was JoAnn's response with a giggle. I never did get an answer other than they have two daughters and three grandchildren who "aren't little kids."
Dick and JoAnn's life together has been a journey of discovering what it is they really love to do. They made a decision early in their lives together that if they got up Monday morning and didn't look forward to the day, they needed to make a change. Over the years, they owned seven different businesses together, everything from a motorcycle shop, a machine shop, a brake repair service... the list goes on. Then they discovered Cowboy and Western collecting and they knew they had finally found what they loved to do. And here they are, some 20+ years later, still doing and loving every minute of it.
It's a bit of the typical story as to how they go into doing High Noon
and other shows. They were so taken by Cowboy and Western antiques and collectibles that they quickly found they had run out of room. So, they decided to try their hand at selling at a show to lighten the load so to speak. That was it. Now, not only were they hooked on Cowboy collecting but they were completely hooked on doing shows. And that's what they do all year long.High Noon
was one of the first shows they started with over 20 years ago and it's a weekend they still look forward to all year.
When it comes to the collection of Cowboy and Western, it's very important to both Dick and JoAnn that what they sell is the real deal
from working cowboys. "I don't want it to be perfect. Everything we sell and collect has a history, has a story to tell. The pieces come alive in your hands and you can imagine the person way back when that might have used it, made it or rode it. This is what makes it rich for us. To learn the stories behind the stuff and share that with others."
There's another side to JoAnn that most High Nooners might not know as she doesn't bring them to the show. "We're too busy at High Noon for me to bring my hats, Dick needs my full attention in the booth when we are in Mesa."
Custom hats? Yup, JoAnn designs and makes custom hats for men and women. "I was a sun worshipper for many years and completely destroyed my skin. So, I began wearing hats whenever stepping outside to try to save what I could of my skin. I could never find big, wide brim hats that fit me, were comfortable and that I actually wanted to wear. So, I began making them for myself." JoAnn learned the craft of hat making, and now makes many designs sporting 4 or 5 inch brims, each one fitting so well that you don't even know you're wearing them. JoAnn's custom hat business has expanded their repertoire of the shows they do outside of the Western world. Her hats are a hit at car shows, golf courses and horse shows.
Dick and JoAnn Roll. Living life on their ranch, and spending their livelihood on the road sharing their passion for Cowboys and custom hats with the people in their life they "treasure so much - we just love them all."
And we love and treasure them right back. Contact them at email@example.com
|A Little Cowboy Poetry|
This month, we present cowboy poetry by Russell Petter...
She's got long blonde hair, and it goes all the way to here,
when you touch the silk, ...it feels so damn good,
almost better than gold.
*She is heaven on the eyes,... but damnit,...she is hell on the heart.
She's got a touch that you want ever forget,
pretty as picture when she smiles,
then the sun suddenly brightens the skies,
when she is gone, the clouds darken my life.
*She is heaven on the eyes, but damnit,...she is hell on the heart.
All I can do, is wait for her to come back home,
as I sit on the porch, in my favorite rocking chair,
waiting for a day, that may never really come.
*She is heaven on the eyes,...but damnit,...she is hell on the heart.
And if she don't come back,
then all I can do is remember her pretty face
and my favorite smile of them all.
*She is heaven on the eyes,...but damnit,...she is hell on the heart.
The smile that brightens the skies,
and moves the clouds away,
the smile that I lived with every day.
*She is heaven on the eyes,...but damnit,...she is hell on the heart.
Somewhere between the long blonde hair,
and that smiling face,
is a Heart that makes my Heart still ache today.
The smile that is lost forever,...
the smile that is etched into my memory..
*She is heaven on the eyes,...but damnit,... she is hell on the heart.
Be careful boys, she only brings you a heartache, with that smiling face,
*She is heaven on the eyes,...but damnit,...she is hell on the heart.
I'm warning you again,... just once more,...
*SHE IS HEAVEN ON THE EYES,...BUT DAMNIT, SHE IS HELL ON THE HEART,
OH SHE IS HEAVEN ON THE EYES, BUT DAMNIT,...SHE IS HELL ON THE HEART!!!
|Roaming Range Reporter|
Article 2 in a Series of 5:
in the Golden Age
By Gary Eugene Brown
Another year rolls by and seldom is a western film released. For those of us raised during the era of the Saturday double-feature and cowboy picture shows, followed later by many weekly western TV series, dusting off old VHS copies or DVDs of the classic A westerns, and the B oater's featuring our silver screen heroes enables us to find momentary relief. We love the classics, like The Searchers
, Outlaw Josey Wales
, and The Wild Bunch
. And over the past decade, we have enjoyed Tombstone
, Open Range
, and most recently, 3:10 to Yuma
, but, we can only watch them so many times, since we know what the next line of dialogue will be.
Realistically, with the exception of a few stalwart directors like Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood and now Ed Harris, most producers and directors (the under-40 set) were raised on Star Wars
, slasher movies, or sophomoric, crude so-called comedies, and thereby, have little appreciation for western cinema. Most refuse to even discuss the possibility of making a movie with cowboys, claiming they are a loss leader. Thus they shy away from the opportunity even when presented with the facts that the westerns made for cable TV (starring Tom Selleck, Sam Elliot or Robert Duval) were the most watched made-for-TV movies in history. An argument can be made that even the so-called "target audience" (those under the age of 25, male or female) will watch a well made movie with a good story line, regardless of genre. However, these post-Baby-Boomer, Hollywood executives have evidently written off those of us over 50, even though demographic studies all indicate that we are an aging population and that we'll be around awhile longer. As such, we too want quality entertainment and are able and willing to pay for it.
We've had to accept the fact that perhaps only one brave heart will film a quality western every so often, and we need to be thankful for that. However, to satisfy our addiction there is another, often overlooked option available to us. We can and should take the time to go rediscover some of the best western films ever made, yet seldom seen photo-plays from the Golden Age-the Silent Era.
PARDON ME, YOUR BIAS IS SHOWING
Recently, my grandson Dakota, age 6, watched an old Tom Mix movie with me, an early Universal sound film. Noting it was in black and white, he asked if something was wrong with the TV set. His reaction reflects most people's preconceived notion that movies are not very entertaining without sound and the advancement of technology to its present state. I know this condescending feeling as I once was of the same opinion. To me, the film speed at times was too fast, especially in action scenes, and actors appeared overly melodramatic. Egads-leading men like the ultimate cowboy hero Tom Mix, looked like he wore lipstick! They seemed cheaply made with flimsy, artificial backdrops, and, of course the major concern, no spoken dialogue.
With an insatiable appetite for new westerns, I began to research what silent westerns were available in the video market, and started collecting and watching the early films of notable stars such as Tom Mix and William S. Hart. After all, they were the heroes of my father and eventually became mine as well. I also discovered that early cinema provided us with some great, top quality, A production western films. I viewed these previously perceived, laughable films through a newly formed and enlightened perspective.
For example, I learned that the film speed issue of some of the action scenes was because of the hand-cranked cameras making it almost impossible to maintain a constant pace throughout filming; that the male actors wore lip rouge because their mouths would have been washed out in the early black and white, nitrate film stock. Also, my opinion that they were overly melodramatic was softened considerably when I considered their inability to express emotion through spoken dialogue, limited to a few lines on an occasional, printed dialogue card. There was no way to record all the dialogue on a title card as it would have detracted from the flow of the movie. With my newly gained insight into the world of early cinema, I finally began to truly enjoy the surviving films made before the advent of sound. If I had not made such a paradigm shift, I would have missed out on what has been a grand experience.
Wikipedia/Public Domain: Tom Mix Photo
Wikipedia/Public Domain: Great Train Robbery Still
A popular man with many interests, Gary Brown is known by many as the founder of the Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival.
He's also an expert on the subject of early Western cinema and a collector of cinema art and memorabilia. He has been invited to speak on the subject and has written about it, including recent articles in Movieguide (2010) and American Cowboy magazine (2011).
We're pleased to present to you a series of his articles "Western Cinema in the Golden Age," and "Top 10 Memorable Silent Westerns Worthy of Watching," versions of the Movieguide magazine articles, first published on his website: http://www.cowboypoetry.com/
Coming Up Next: (Article 3) Silent Westerns is a Misnomer.
|Send us your stories...|
|NOW Until January 8, 2012 Jingle Rails - Great Western Adventure Indianapolis, IN
NOW Until February 19, 2012 21st Annual Trappings of the American West Prescott, AZ
NOW Until March 25, 2012 The Cowgirl Who Became a Justice: Sandra Day O'Connor Fort Worth, TX
NOW Until March 30, 2012 Envisioning the West Oklahoma City, OK
NOW Until September 2, 2012 Bolo Tie Exhibit at the Heard Museum Phoenix, AZ
NOW Thru November 2012 Many Mexicos: Vista de la Frontera Tucson, AZ
January 1, 2012 American Indian Culture Days for Families Los Angeles, CA
January 2, 2012 Celebrate Trigger and the Roy Rogers family in Pasadena's Tournament of Roses 123rd Rose Parade Pasadena, CA
January 20-22, 2012 Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering Golden, CO
January 21, 2012 The Story of The Visalia Stock Saddle with Griff Durham Santa Barbara, CA
January 28-29, 2012 22nd Annual High Noon Western Americana Antique Show & Auction Mesa, AZ
February 2-19, 2012 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo San Antonio, TX
February 3-5, 2012 20th Annual Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering Sierra Vista, AZ
February 17-19, 2012 Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering Ellensburg, WA
February 21, 2012 Mardi Gras New Orleans, LA
February 23-26, 2012 12th Annual Saddle Up Pigeon Forge, TN
March 10-11, 2012 Antiques, Objects & Art L.A. Glendale, CA
March 10 - May 27, 2012 Cowgirls with a Camera Wickenburg, AZ
March 18, 2012 Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition Los Angeles, CA
April 26-28, 2012 Gathering of the Nations Powwow Albuquerque, NM
May 19, 2012 An Evening with the Cowboys Santa Barbara, CA
May 28-29, 2012 21st Annual Chuck Wagon Gathering & Cowboy Festival Oklahoma City, OK
June 16-17, 2012 Plains Indian Museum Powwow Cody, WY
June 22-24, 2012 Brian Lebel's Old West Show & Auction Denver, CO
July 19-22, 2012 California Rodeo Salinas Salinas, CA
Send event submissions to SmokeSignals@highnoon.com
Don't Fret About the Future - Invest in the Past!
|Send us a Smoke Signal
Smoke Signals is for and about all of the wonderful people in our High Noon
family. If you have news you want to share, hot tips on what's going on in
the Western Americana world or just a suggestion of something you'd like to
see us cover, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Publisher: High Noon Western Americana
Chief Editor: Linda Kohn Sherwood
Chief Art Director: Robin Ireland, Ireland Graphic Design
Chief Graphic Designer: Curtis Hill, Art Direction Services
Chief Writer: Jayne Skeff, JSLA Media Solutions