Archive for June 2013 | Monthly archive page

Bill Owen


History will consider Bill Owen one of the finest cowboy artists of his time. Bill lived the cowboy life and interpreted that  life accurately for all of us to enjoy. I have had to evaluate shows with Bill’s work in them and have found that he not only mastered the medium of oils, as well as color, light, composition, etc., but he had a ‘feel’ for the subject as well that was phenomenal. When the TCAA were in discussions with the CA regarding a joint opening at the National Cowboy Museum we had time to visit in a social setting. Bill was always quick with a joke and a smile. It was during one of these moments that he suggested that we have a combined trail ride with the CA and the TCAA. I won’t get to ride with Bill Owen in this life, but I look forward to a time when I see that open-hearted grin again. For now though, I’m excited to see his last painting that will be on display at ‘Cowboy Crossings’ in October at the National Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma City.

Bill Owen study by another CA friend Tom Browning.

Bill Owen study by another CA friend Tom Browning.


DSCN03145Cary Schwarz and Schwarz Productions (TJ Schwarz) presents something for beginner and advanced leather carvers.

This DVD is a tutorial that breaks down the design-on-paper into bite sized pieces. It is a series of exercises where the viewer, with pencil and sketchbook in hand follow line-for-line a variety of flowers, leaves and scrolls. These exercises force the student to focus on the visual information as it is laid down. I’ve used these exercises dating back a number of years with good results for a range of abilities. Approximately 45 minutes of instruction.

You can buy one here

Omaha Beach and the English Channel

American Soil…Omaha Beach and the English Channel

It was June 6, 1944. Allied forces, primarily American, British, and Canadian cracked the “Atlantic Wall” Hitler had established in anticipation of just such an invasion. It was the largest concentration of military personnel and materiel in history and will likely never be repeated. The first wave of soldiers landing at Omaha Beach was especially bloody for the Americans…they had ridden right into the jaw of the enemy.

Omaha Beach 2009

Omaha Beach 2009

Sixty-five years later, I stood on American soil at Omaha in Normandy, France. The warm sunshine, manicured grass, and solemn setting belied the events of that day so long ago. As we walked among the rows of crosses on the bluff, a horse and rider appeared on the beach below. Riding out of the west, the rider loped on the stretch of sand where so much death had occurred on D-Day. What a universally recognized figure…a horse and rider! In the old west, a rider appearing usually meant supplies, news, mail, and often friendship. In June of 1944, the “American Cowboys” couldn’t have been more welcome to the people of France…they brought hope and freedom to a continent in desperate need. The only tangible thing those soldiers received in return for their lives was a quiet place where they may be laid to rest.

A Higgins boat at Utah Beach

A Higgins boat at Utah Beach

When you think of the challenges we face in our lives, think about the challenges of living those boys faced: The Higgins boat grinds into the beach head and the gate drops open exposing all forty men to the withering fire from machine gun nests above. In the first wave, there was often a 100% casualty rate per boat. If a soldier survived getting out of the Higgins boat, he had a hundred yard sprint across a low tide beach with one hundred pounds of gear in order to get to the sea wall…and cover from the German guns.

Pedro Pedrini and Cary Schwarz. Photo by Jean Luc Parisot

Cary Schwarz and Pedro Pedrini. Photo by Jean Luc Parisot

I think often of those boys and what they sacrificed. It also helps pull things into perspective when we think about our “challenges of living”.