Tuesday, August 7, 2007

End of Deadwood Adventure Blog

Who is Maestro Gaxiola: http://www.artist-link.blogspot.com/
I am ending my Deadwood Adventure blog with post 21. I started this blog not as a travelogue but as an adventure in Deadwood and the Black hills. For that reason I didn’t post any of my experiences while coming and going to Deadwood, even though a lot of things happened, like a six and a half hour wait outside of Elko, Nevada by the side of the road, in 100 plus degree heat, because a fire up ahead kept jumping back and forth across the highway….and there were many computer malfunctions and at least one bad motel where you could hear snoring coming through the thin walls. However, there were a lot of good things too like the beauty around Bolder, Colorado and Glacier National park that I could talk about for days. And the Harley Davidson motorcycle crowd, must be a million of‘m out on the road….but that’s another story… I need to thank Alice for all her untiring work making motel reservations, finding good restaurants, finding points of interests and museums and generally just doing all the record keeping and navigating. I would also like to thank Alice’s cousin from Detroit, professional wild life photographer Doug Locke, he joined us in Deadwood for a few days. He was on his way to photograph wild horses and buffalo down around Custer State park. He and I went to the rodeo in Deadwood and we had a great time. He got some wonderful photos of all the rodeo action. Besides being good company, he was a help by telling me of a better position or angle when I was taking my photos. All in all it was an enjoyable and productive trip. I had intended to extend my trip to Melody Ranch, an old western movie town built by Gene Autry in Santa Clarita, California, where the HBO series Deadwood was actually filmed. But so far I have failed to gain access.
All the artwork I am doing on my Deadwood Project will be posted next year around April on my web site, MaestroGaxiola.com, under MaestroSite III. I have artwork in several media and hope to also add a video.
I want to thank all of you who have e-mailed me and posted comments on my Deadwood blog. Next year, 2008, the MaestroAdventures Bolgspot will saddle up for another Maestro Adventure. I hope you will join me for the ride.

Monday, August 6, 2007

21. When Violence Subsides, The Artist May Enter

When Wild Bill was removed from the Black Hills, by a pistol shot, he was flat broke. All he left behind was a small hole in a poker table made by the bullet that passed through his head. When hard-rock miner George Hearst left the Black Hills he was fabulously rich. What he left behind was a deep, landscape changing, spirit destroying hole in the earth.

This monument to man’s avarice can be found just outside of Deadwood in Lead, (Leed) at George Hearst’s Homestake mine. It was the largest gold producing gold mine in the world. It ran continually since founded by George Hearst back in 1879 up until 2001 when it finally stopped it’s mining operations. The damage his mining machines have been inflicting on these hills has now stopped. The violence is finally over. I climbed up on one of its large slag hills overlooking the open pit and with color and brush attempted to lift an image from the wounded spirit of these hills and transfer it to paper. What I take I take for art’s sake. I do not seek money, wealth or power as George Hearst did. I do not intend violence against the spirit that dwells here. I will leave the Black Hills as I found them. Let the spirit of the Black Hills judge who is more worthy to speak of its riches: the businessman or the artist.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

20. Painting in Deadwood

When I got the idea to come and paint here in Deadwood I decided to make myself some special painting gear that I thought would help put me in a "Deadwood mood." (see first posting, July 16) I made myself a Buckskin jacket because that was the type and style of jacket that was preferred here in 1876. I also made a pair of matching silver ceramic six-guns with white handles just like the pair Wild Bill carried. I added paint brushes so I could actually do my painting with them. My rough wood easel was something I thought might look like what a painter living in Deadwood in 1876 would have fashioned. I made all this and more, but I overlooked one thing; I hadn’t counted on the town being full of tourists.
Back in my California studio I had envisioned myself standing across from the No. 10 Saloon in full gear quietly painting, with maybe just a curious local stopping by for a moment to see what I was up to and maybe talking a bit about the old days. But that wasn’t going to happen. For me to be standing in the middle of a bunch of tourists on a corner in 100 degree heat with my buckskin jacket on and waving a couple of six-guns around would be to invite being arrested for public lunacy. What I ended up doing was getting up very early and driving downtown so I could find a parking place across the street from No. 10 where I could paint from inside the cab of my truck.
I did paint in full gear on top of a Homestake mine slag hill where I could be far enough away from people so they couldn’t tell what I was doing, or what I was doing it with. Even so, the mine’s visitor center was at the bottom of the hill and they had some of those coin operated telescopes. I was careful not to wave those pistol brushes around too much. A man on top of a hill in a buckskin jacket waving two guns in the air might be cause for alarm these days and could have very well brought in a couple of Homeland Security helicopters to look me over. Fortunately, as I entered the Black Hills I started painting on my way up to Deadwood so I did manage to get some painting done.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

19. The Deadwood Series: What's Real And What's Not

If you watched the HBO series Deadwood you couldn’t help but wonder what was real and what was not so real. Well here’s the deal; Seth Bullock was real and he was actually sheriff of Deadwood. He really did come to Deadwood with his business partner Sol Star to open a hardware business. The Bullock Hotel now stands on the site. Seth Bullock went on to become a successful rancher in the area and became friends with President Theodore Roosevelt. He died in 1919 and is buried up on Moriah Hill. Sol Star was successful in a variety of businesses and distinguished himself as a public servant, serving as mayor, postmaster, and Clerk of the Courts. He died in 1917. E.B. Farnum was also real and was also elected mayor. He was a much better businessman and city official than the way he was portrayed in the series. But by 1880 he had moved on as he was not in the 1880 census. Al Swearengen’s first saloon was named the Cricket. He was in and out of business several times before he opened the Gem Variety Theater in 1877. It was very successful bringing in five to ten thousand dollars in gold every night. Dan Dority was his general manager and Johnny Burns was in charge of the girls. However, when Al Swearengen left Deadwood after the fire of 1899, he was flat broke. He was killed shortly after that in Denver while trying to hop a freight.

Of course Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Charlie Utter, George Hearst, and Jack McCall were real, as was Tom Nutall, owner of the No. 10 saloon, A.W. Merrick, editor of the Deadwood Pioneer, Rev. H.W. Smith, who was a preacher, and Trixie, who was a prostitute who actually did shoot a miner in the head. All the not so real characters were from the wonderfully creative mind of David Milch, creator and Executive Producer of Deadwood, the HBO series. The photo above is of me with an extra that played one of the grizzled miners in the series. Now that the series is over, he walks the streets of Deadwood and talks to tourists. Light from the overwhelming successful series puts a reflected glow in some of the smaller corners of Deadwood.

Friday, August 3, 2007

18. Starbucks?

…..yes, in case you were wondering, you can get Starbucks coffee in Deadwood. What would Wild Bill think of that? However, there isn’t a free-standing Starbucks here yet, the kind where you can get a half caf half de-caf mocha grande frappiccino with cream. No, it’s just one of those, “we proudly brew” places in a casino. But still, Deadwood has come a long way baby! The suits at corporate must have been watching the Deadwood series too. They figured they probably better send out some scouts to reconnoiter. Apparently they thought enough to plant a flag, even if they are holding back on building a full blown fort and sending in a company of baristas. You never know how the natives might react…you can already get an espresso down at Wild Bill’s Fudge joint and that means the natives might consider Wild Bill coffee their scared grounds.

Of course Peet’s coffee could come to town and send them both to boot hill

Thursday, August 2, 2007

17. Deadwood Today

You wouldn’t even know Deadwood was once a mining town if someone didn’t tell you. You would never guess that this is the same town you saw in the HBO Deadwood series. Deadwood doesn’t look like a dusty old mining town that you might see in Nevada, Arizona or New Mexico, with old rundown buildings, narrow streets, stray disheveled dogs, and rusty old pickups rotting away by some old gas station. Deadwood is a clean and orderly town with clean cut, well dressed, prosperous looking people all over the place. That’s because most of those people are tourists. Make no mistake, this is a tourist town and it is full of tourists. However, it doesn’t have a lot of those tee shirt and trinket shops that make most tourists towns look alike from street level. They do have a lot of gaming houses here but it is low key gambling. They have mostly slots and some Black Jack tables. The slots are mostly nickel and quarter slots, with even some penny slots, so you don’t have people losing a lot of money here. It’s mostly playing for the fun of playing. One can play all night and still have enough money left for one of their 79 cent breakfasts of two eggs, toast and hashbrowns

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

16. Wild Bill's Grave Site

Up on Mt. Moriah overlooking Deadwood you will find the cemetery where Deadwood’s famous people are buried. Buried here are, Seth Bullock, Calamity Jane, Preacher Smith, and of course, Wild Bill Hickok. There is a Boot Hill tour, complete with narration and antidotes, you can catch in town that takes you up here. But if you don’t want to be stuck on an open air bus with a bunch of tourists, you can drive up to the ticket booth, park your car, pay the one dollar entrance fee, get a map, and walk the quarter mile up to Wild Bills grave. It’s marked by a five foot bronze bust of his likeness inside an iron fence. And because Calamity Jane got her wish, you will find her buried next to him,…. but outside the fence and without a bronze bust marker. I think Wild Bill would have preferred it that way. After all, Calamity didn’t do anything to become famous, she just became famous; sort of like Paris Hilton, - she is just,.. famous…. for no particular reason.

Like at pretty much all celebrity grave sites you will find a small pile of trinkets and mementos that people have left as an offering of some kind, I’m not sure why, maybe to make some sort of connection with the famous,…. or just to say that they had been there. That’s what I like to do, I like to leave my little white ceramic crosses, the way the Lone Ranger left his silver bullets, at celebrity gravesite too, it says, The Maestro’s been here. I left one at Jim Morrison’s grave site in Paris, France, and one at Marilyn Monroe, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and Tom Mix and now Wild Bill’s grave sites here in the US. .....oh yes, and I left one at Graceland... on Elvis' grave.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

15. Images of Wild Bill

It’s obvious who won the image war between the cowboy and the miner here in Deadwood. Because he was shot to death here the image of Wild Bill Hickok completely dominates this town. They have wrapped the town’s image in his shroud and made a cottage industry out of his killing. There are Hotels, Motels, Restaurants, Casinos, and Museums, using his name and likeness. There are posters and pictures of him everywhere. You can also find bronze and granite statues of him scattered around town. At the rodeo and in the parades a reenactment of that fateful day is repeated over and over again.

There must have been hundreds of miners who were shot, stabbed to death, or had their throats cut here too, but you won’t find any monuments or reenactments glorifying their untimely deaths; Fama blew no trumpet for them. They are lost to western history, trampled into oblivion by the high heeled boot of the cowboy.

Monday, July 30, 2007

14. The No. 10 Saloon

Wild Bill had only been in Deadwood about three weeks when on August 2, 1876, at about four in the afternoon, Jack McCall walked up behind him while he was playing poker and shot him in the head. That was the end of Wild Bill’s earthly life. However that one shot awakened Fama and she arose, put trumpet to lips, and with a loud blast announced Wild Bill's arrival into the world of the famous.
It all happened here at the No. 10 Saloon.
Well, this isn’t exactly the No. 10 anymore; it’s the Wild West Eagle Bar – serving Bud Lite on tap. The original No. 10 burned down in the big 1879 fire in which 300 buildings burned to the ground. The No. 10 saloon subsequently moved up the street to some new digs. However, these signs make it clear that this was the actual spot where it all happened. There is also a sign up the street to show where Jack McCall, his killer, was captured.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

13. Deadwood

Here I am in Deadwood, July, 2007. In 1964 Deadwood became the first community designated as a National Historic Landmark. It’s come a long way, image wise, since its lawless, rough and tumble days as depicted in the HBO series, Deadwood. But even with its National Historic Landmark status its population is still just over one thousand souls, about ten percent of what it was during its gold rush heyday. I guess when the earth has nothing more to offer, some people don’t hang around, they just move on.

But Deadwood is far from a ghost town; over three million tourists come through here every year. Tourism increased around 12 percent because of the popularity of the Deadwood series. Deadwood Wild Bill Hockok days, Kool Deadwood nights, Deadwood motorcycle rallies, and the Days of 76 Rodeo, which is going on just now, are big tourist draws. And of course in 1989 limited gambling was allowed in Deadwood so that too brings in the people. Right now the town is full of cowboys, …and not a miner in sight,… chalk up one for the cowboys.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

12. Crazy Horse Memorial

About seventy miles south of Deadwood, deep in the Black Hills, is the Crazy Horse Memorial. This is the largest mountain carving project still in process in the world. It was started by one man, Korczak Ziolkowski in 1948. He worked on this project until he died in 1982. The one thing that impressed me about him is that he never took any money from the Federal Government for this monumental mountain sculpture, even though millions were offered. He said he didn’t want any of the corrupting influences that always come with Federal money.

After Korczak’s death his family stepped in and has continued to work on his project. The completed sculpture will have Crazy Horse on horseback with his left hand pointing to the east. Korczak explained what it all means, something about Indians and their attachment to the land, etc., etc. But to me it looks like Crazy Horse is telling the white men, “Go back to where you came from…”

Friday, July 27, 2007

11. The Black Hills (Paha Sapa)

In the free-for-all American west nothing was considered sacred, particularly when it came to the land….anything above or below the earth that was exploitable was exploited. When rumors of rich gold finds in the Black Hills of the Dakota territories reached the ears of the 49ers, they dropped everything and set out in droves to exploit the new gold fields,….never mind that the U.S. Government had given the Black Hills to the Sioux.

The Sioux vehemently protested this invasion of white men into their sacred hills, but their protest fell on deaf ears. If anyone cared to justify this occupation they did so by saying that the Sioux didn’t “use” the hills anyway,…so what was the problem? True enough, the Sioux, and the Cheyenne, who were excellent horsemen, preferred to live, ride and hunt on the plains where the buffalo were. They seldom ventured into the Black Hills because the trees made it too hard to maneuver and hunt on horseback. But they did consider the hills sacred so they wanted the white men out. But it was too late. What Americans wanted, Americans took.

In all fairness to the government they did use the army to try to keep the miners out, but in no time the troops were overrun, so the government just gave up. They made another “take it or leave it” pretend treaty with the Sioux, annexed the area into the Dakota territories, and that was that.

The Americans got the gold, the Sioux got the shaft. Again.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

10. Fort Laramie

It probably took Wild Bill and the Utters 10 days to get to Fort Laramie as oxen pulled wagon trains were painfully slow. They were lucky if they went 9 miles in a day. Small forts like these were established in the west to protect settlers from hostile Indians. When the gold fields opened up in the Black Hills soldiers from this fort patrolled the main trail between Cheyenne and Deadwood.

It was here where Wild Bill first met an unknown rough and ready foul mouthed drunken ex-mule skinner named Jane “Calamity Jane” Carnery. She happened to be working on a ranch nearby and when she found out that Wild Bill was on his way to Deadwood she quit her job and hitched a ride. She didn’t know it at the time but she was entering America’s history books as she entered the Black Hills.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

9. Cheyenne, Wyoming

In July of each year Cheyenne celebrates its western heritage by putting on a ten day Cheyenne Frontier Day celebration. A total western holiday with parades through town on at least four different days, a free pancake breakfast that feeds over six thousand souls, and one huge rodeo and western fair with cowboys and cowboy art of all kinds, carnival rides,…well you name it. During the rodeo everyone is out at the rodeo grounds and the town is almost empty. I had the local Starbucks all to myself.

When Wild Bill got here he didn’t stay very long, just long enough to get some supplies and hook up with Charlie and Steve Utter. They joined an oxen pulled wagon train that was heading out on the grueling month long trip to Deadwood. Today you can get all your supplies at the Cheyenne Wal-Mart. Tomorrow I head out for Fort Laramie, about an hour north of here. It was one of Wild Bill’s stops on his way to Deadwood.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

8. Two Images Converge

What image comes to mind when you think of the American west? The miner, a wondering half crazed individualist with his never ending mantra that the next stream or outcropping would be his “bonanza,” or the cowboy whose flamboyant lifestyle and distinctive dress gave flare, mystique, and a spirit of adventure to an otherwise obscure life on the range.

In July, 1876, in a small railroad town in Wyoming, these two competing western images converged; the ragged, dishevel, knee booted miner, represented by hundreds of 49ers, and the mythical cowboy, represented by the gun slinging gambler, Wild Bill Hickok.

The town was Cheyenne; their destination was Deadwood, a small wild and lawless mining camp in the gold filled Black Hills of Dakota territory which had sprung up just a few months before and already had a population of over ten thousand souls, mostly miners, gamblers, hustlers and thieves, who flocked there seeking to make their fortune, either by taking gold from the ground or taking gold from those who did.

What transpired in Deadwood between these two competing western images, the miner and the cowboy, set forever how America would define its western heritage. Ask anyone in America, or the world for that matter what image comes to mind when they think of the American west, the answer will be; it’s the American cowboy.

Tomorrow, like Wild Bill Hickok did one hundred and thirty-one years ago, almost to the day, I, a true son of the west and product of the cowboy mythical image he fostered, will arrive in Cheyenne, preparing, as he did, to leave for Deadwood.

Monday, July 23, 2007

7. Wild Bill Hickok

Wild Bill was a prodigy of sorts, even as a boy of ten he showed a remarkable ability with a gun. As years passed his reputation as a marksman grew, - the fact that human beings were at the other end of that marksmanship made his reputation grow even faster. Most people stayed clear of Wild Bill when he came to their town, - least they provoke him to demonstrate his ability on them.

Wild Bill was custom made for the dime novel crowd; it was absolutely top of the line stuff. He became wildly popular as a real live western gun slinger. He joined Buffalo Bill on stage in New York where they played to packed houses of naive easterners. Although amateurish and awkward Wild Bill did his best to be “pretend real” but the charade soon got the better of him. One night he drew his gun, took a few shots at the stage floor and walked off, - never to appear on stage again.

His killer reputation made life difficult for him, even if he did say that he never killed a man who didn’t need killing. It’s not easy to make an honest living when people think all you can do is shoot people. The future looked dim. The only way left for Wild Bill to make a living was to be a town marshal. But as the trail drives diminished and towns began to look for less violent ways to uphold the law, that option began to fade. Depressed, he turned to drinking and gambling.

In 1876, at the age of 48, and going blind, Wild Bill shows up in Cheyenne, Wyoming, - he was on his way to his kind of town, Deadwood, a lawless mining camp nestled in Deadwood gulch about 250 miles north east, in the Black Hills.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

6. The Cowboy Comes Down To Earth

The glory days for the American cowboy were from 1866 to about 1873. Those were the days of the long trail drives from Texas to the rail heads in Kansas.

By 1876 the cowboy, as he defined himself, was almost finished, brought down off his high horse by one man; Joseph F. Glidden, the inventor of barbed wire. When farmers and ranchers started fencing off their land, herds of Texas cattle were blocked from the Kansas markets. The trail driving, hard riding, fancy dressing, six-shooting, king of the saddle was forced to dismount and look for a day job, - on foot.

But from the ashes of this western Phoenix rose a cowboy more dashing, more daring, more handsome and hard riding, more,…well, more of everything that the real cowboy was, or was not. Out of the west came the mythical cowboy! The dime novel cowboy! The movie cowboy! The singing cowboy! and, The urban cowboy!

The myth of the cowboy and what he looked like and what he did and how he did it took hold in American and the image of this hard riding king of the plains soon made the real working cowboy irrelevant. Americans, indeed the whole world, wanted the mythical over the real, - and there were plenty of people ready to give it to them, chief among them was Buffalo Bill Cody. His Wild West shows were wildly popular here in America as well as over seas.

There was one man however who was a little bit too real to play the "mythical"roll long. That man was James Butler, “Wild Bill” Hickok.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

5. Miners - 49ers

In 1848 gold was discovered in California. Word soon spread eastward and by 1849 America’s first gold stampede was on. The 49ers, as they were called, were not seasoned miners but poor immigrants and farmers who were looking to find a quick way out of poverty. By 1860 over $595 million in gold had been taken out of the California hills, almost all of which went directly into the hands of the hard-rock miners. The gold that the placer miners worked so hard to pry out of river beds and outcroppings only told the hard-rock miners where to dig their tunnels. The placer miners, having left their hard earned gold in the hands of saloon owners, prostitutes and gamblers, either had to work for wages or look for other gold fields to try their luck.

Consequently there was slow eastern migration of experienced miners looking for gold in the hills and streams of Nevada, Montana, Colorado, and eventually, the Dakota Territories. - places they had passed in their haste to reach the gold fields in California.

Friday, July 20, 2007

4. Elko, Nevada

In 1869 the railroad tried to promote this small town site for Nevada’s White Pine mines, but it soon became known as a cowboy town because of the many cattle ranches in the area.

World famous saddle and spur maker G.S. Garcia, who moved his saddle shop to Elko from my home town of San Luis Obispo, California, in 1893, did so because of all the cowboys living near here. He became very successful. Garcia saddles and spurs are highly collectible and are sought after by western gear collectors all over the world. Will Rogers and Teddy Roosevelt are just two of the famous people who have settled their posteriors into the hand tooled, silver trimmed cantle of a Garcia saddle. You can see many of his early saddles and handmade gear here in J.M. Capriola’s upstairs museum.

Thousands of cowboys and cowgirls descend on this little town each year for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

3. Placer Miners

There are two basic types of miners; the placer miner and the deep hole or hard-rock miner. The placer miner is the miner most depicted in American folklore. When Americans think miner they are usually thinking of a placer miner or “Prospector,”- he is the seeker, the true prospector for gold. He usually works alone looking for nuggets or flakes in the sand and gravel of river beds or small outcroppings of exposed bedrock on the sides of valleys.

The hard-rock miner extracts gold from solid rock. This requires digging tunnels or shafts deep into the earth to remove the gold bearing ore. This also requires a large workforce and large amounts of capital to finance the smelting or crushing operations needed to extract the gold from the ore.

The placer miner is the adventurous individual looking for the one big strike to make it rich, whereas the hard-rock miner is in it of the long term profit of a good business venture.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

2. The Miner

The majority of miners in America were Irish immigrants. They were adventurous, hardworking, and able to live in solitude and bear unbelievable physical hardship. Their one obsession was finding the gold that hid in the rivers, streams, gorges, and mountains of this land. What the rowdy, bovine babysitting cowboy thought of them and their work was of little consequence.

As for western fashion, the cowboy and the miner were exact opposites. Where the cowboy liked his custom handmade high heeled boots, his bright silk bandanna, large hat, and fancy six-shooter strapped to his hip, the miner needed only a good pair of knee boots, a shovel and a gold pan,….. and of course, a burro to carry them. Because of the miner’s desire for good practical clothing one piece of western fashion was invented just for him, Levi Strauss’ cotton canvas jeans with copper riveted pockets. The irony of this is that Levi's became the main fashion statement for cowboys.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

1.The "Western"

The series Deadwood is called a "western," and when we hear the word western we automatically think, "Cowboy." But in fact Deadwood is not about cowboys, it is about miners. In the west cowboys and miners seldom mingled. Cowboys worked the flat plains areas of Texas, Kansas, and Wyoming while miners plied their trade in the foothills of the Sierra in California, the slopes of the Rockies in Colorado and the rivers and streams of the Black Hills in Dakota Territory.

As a rule cowboys felt superior to these "working men" of their epoch. Cowboys felt themselves more noble, handsome and daring than most men, particularly the lowly river-slogging, dirt picking, burro riding miner. Astride his trusty steed the cowboy spent his working day atop a horse and felt it below him to be on foot, whereas the miner spent his working day slogging through the muck and mud scavenging for bits of metal flake.

Even Wild Bill Hickok was not a cowboy in the true sense of the word; he was a professional gambler, which was a legitimate profession in the eighteen hundreds. As a matter of fact, Wild Bill had little use for cowboys. In 1871 he was hired to be the town Marshal by the good people of Abilene, Kansas to control the 5,000 cowboys that descended on their town during the great trail drives. He grew to dislike cowboys and what he considered their huffy, arrogant ways. And there was little respect for Wild Bill from the cowboys point of view either; as a gambler and Marshal, Wild Bill spent most of his working day butt down in a chair.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Maestro Gaxiola - Deadwood Project

Art-mining in Deadwood and the Black Hills.
Now that mans lower desires have been satisfied and all the gold has been extracted from the Black Hills, it is time for the Black hills to be lifted up by art. If my vision be true and I prove to be a worthy guide for the spirit that lies within my brushes, then the Black Hills may conjure up treasures more uplifting for the spirit than all the "color" (gold) ripped from the streams and outcroppings by miners past.
I have been preparing for this Art-mining trip for three months. My inspiration came from the HBO series, Deadwood, which I own and have viewed four times.
I custom built all my Deadwood painting gear, which includes;
1. HD Video camera with custom hand tooled leather case
2. Dell laptop computer with hand tooled leather with hand engraved sterling sliver trim
3. Custom ceramic "Wild Bill' pistol brushes with custom redwood case
4. Hand built redwood easel with leather pistol brush holster
5. Handmade custom Deadwood Boots
6. Handmade buckskin jacket
Alice and I leave for Deadwood, South Dakota, tomorrow, July 17, 2007