Did you know many times Andy uses family or friends as a reference for his paintings? In many of his paintings, you may be able to spot people he knows. For instance, 'Fate of the Rustlers,' Andy's step-son, Eric, was photographed to create the unfortunate rustler that was about to be killed.
I received a phone call one day from Andy, he asked me to take a few pictures of Eric with his hands behind his back, as if they were tied together, in dim lighting. He told me he needed a thin, muscular kid for his upcoming painting. I grabbed my cell-phone and took about ten shots, sending Andy the best three. This allowed Andy to paint the muscles on the rustler exactly the way they would be. In the book, The West in Action, available on the website, you can see exactly how the painting was made. Below is a sketch of the rustler Andy created from my photograph. Andy turned my photograph into a sketch, and from there into a beautiful painting. Of course, he made the face of the rustler slightly different than Eric's.
Fate of the Rustlers
Kit Carson and the Fremont Expedition at Bent's Fort is another painting Andy has used someone for reference; his grandson Colson. The little boy running next to Kit Carson and his army started from a photograph. Andy wanted to make sure when he painted the little boy running, that it would be suitable to reality. He captured shots of Colson running, and was able to perceive the exact approach to take when creating the little boy. Hair, legs and body stance are all critical aspects to perfecting the painting especially when wind is involved. Can you imagine trying to paint or even sketch a person running from memory? It would be a hard task. Below is an actual sketch used for the painting.
Can you guess the people in the painting below, The Band Played On? Follow the link to the website for some clues. You can leave your answers in the blanks at the bottom of the page on the site.
Large paintings are rarely an easy task. Often times hours of research and many photos are required to create something so elaborate. Andy never lets his viewers down and continues to surprise us with his works of art. You never know what you'll see next or who for the matter.
Can you guess which paintings Andy has painted himself into? Stay tuned to find out... Leave your comments below!