Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Now for a little history about this fella. Since we've been going to Woolaroc each week for the past month, and since they have the largest collection of Joe Beelers bronzes, I've spent just about every spare moment there over in the museum really getting up close and personal with his work. Joe was one of the founding members of the Cowboy Artists of America with a working cowboy background so he knew most of his subjects quite well. Also, as Frank Phillips, the founder of Woolaroc sponsored him when he first started out I think they have just about every bronze he ever did. Judy and I met him back in 2006 when he was at Woolaroc signing his newest book. He died a week later on April 26 while out helping some neighbors rope and brand calves. A true cowboy to the end. I could put a link here to some of his work but if you're interested just google his name and do a search as there is lots to see over a wide area. He was also an accomplished painter reminding me a lot of Charlie Russell.
He did a couple busts of a Navajo man which were my favorites so I thought I would try my hand a producing one in wood. I named this one Half-Breed as I kind of mixed up the details and added a few of my own. There is a rather large turquoise necklace with a silver pendant hanging on the end. It's hammered copper but I'll paint it silver. His hat band will have turquoise and silver studs. I really like the way they tied up their hair in back. Both Navajo men and women did this same style. The reason one feather is painted is it was left over from a previous carving. The base is walnut, built up from three pieces. With the base it stands about 12-13" tall.
The funny thing about this piece is that when I started it last Monday it was meant to be Chief Bacon Rind, an Osage Chief of Frank Phillips time. By Friday it had changed tribes and moved west to Arizona. Those things do happen around here.
Anyway, I hope you like him as I think he'll turn out pretty nice once some color is applied. There are a number of photos in the Gallery and if you wish to comment please do as I appreciate hearing your opinions.