Wednesday, September 26, 2012

L. A. Huffman, Mrs.White Elk & The Ring, Part II

This is as close as I'm going to get to a finished product until this Saturday evening, September 29th, in Miles City at the Custer County Art & Heritage Center's 37th Annual Exhibit and Auction. If you are interested in seeing the difference between the artist proof and this one, you can find the first one in my previous post.

Some information has been passed to me by Joan Hantz, who works and teaches at Chief Dull Knife College in Lame Deer, Montana. I wanted to know more about Mrs. White Elk before the Quick Finish so that as I'm working to finish it I have something to talk about. Joan kindly provided with this:

Census records for June 30, 1888
White Elk, 36 years old
Shaving Woman, wife, 31 years old.
Crooked was their son and he's listed as being 13 years old.
Magpie Woman, Mother in law, 71 years old.

Census records for 1896
White Elk, 44 years old and now registered as Jule White Elk.
Shaving Woman (Mrs. White Elk), 39 years old and registered as Anna.
The son Crooked did not appear in this census.

Records indicate that White Elk was still living in 1914. He was born in 1849. No records indicate a birth or death for Mrs. White Elk.

Jule White Elk fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn (1876) at age 27. He was a member of the Elkhorn Scraper Society. He also fought at the Battle of the Rosebud, aka The Battle Where the Girl Saved her Brother. This battle occurred just days before the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

I owe a debt of gratitude to a number of people: Kevin Layton and Mark Browning at the Custer County Art & Heritage Center in Miles City. The story of how Mrs. White Elk and how this photograph came to be are little bits of history I can enjoy for a long time. I thought that the story needed to be told in my way, and both Kevin and Mark were very accommodating.

Gene and Bev Allen are folks I've known for many years. I consider them patrons. It was through them that I first learned of L. A. Huffman, and also sold me my copy of  the L. A. Huffman book. The source for the early signature was a blind stamp - a metal stamp which was used to indent the signature in the photographic paper or card stock on which the photograph was mounted. They also related to me some of the history of the man himself which I did not know. Gene and Bev also provided me with a scan of the lower portion of a Huffman carte de viste as well, which I've used as some of the text on my piece of art.

Michael Lee, a local photographer that I met some months ago, provided me with the copy of the photograph that I'm going to be affixing to the envelope after much trial and error. I wanted this to be on heavy photo stock, and reproducing the image that I had permission to use is not the easiest task. The image I had was a photograph of a photograph, so the image was a second generation image already. Thank you again Michael for all that you did.

I'm as ready as I'm going to be for the Saturday evening event.

A large Thank You to all of the folks I've mentioned, and those I haven't as well!


Saturday, September 8, 2012

L. A. Huffman, Mrs.White Elk & The Ring

This is the Artist Proof for the piece I will be doing for the Quick Finish at the 37th Annual Art Invitational and Auction on the 29th of September in Miles City, Montana. Three of us will be completing our pieces to be sold during the auction. Mine will be a 100% donation to the Art Center, and my way of telling the story of Mrs.White Elk, and although there are three images that tell the tale of this Indian Portrait, I am using the second portrait that L. A. Huffman created during one sitting in his studio.

I have to do at least a one-off to see what the finished envelope will look like, and to determine what part of the piece I can finish in an hour.

This piece is a bit rough around the edges from where I'm sitting, but I'm really never satisfied. I can tell you there will be some changes in the composition regarding type size and placement. The lower portion I have done in sepia ink comes from an early Carte de Visite that Huffman produced for sale, and several of the elements are "covered" in my effort to use a map that is right for the areas that Huffman photographed.

The Custer County Art & Heritage Center in Miles City, Montana, holds an extensive collection of the well known Western photographer, L. A. Huffman. I wish I could show you all three of the photographs of this beautiful woman, but I have permission to use only the one that you see above.

Perhaps between now and the end of the month, I can tell you a little bit more about this fabulous photographer.

Friday, September 7, 2012

U.S.S. Arikara, Michael Lee, 1969

We met, by accident, at the Last Chance (PO) Station here in Helena. He was in Da Nang Harbor in 1969, although I'm not sure just how close we ever came to each other. He was on this Tugboat, and I was at the bridge which crosses the river just to the left of the first character in his first name. Michael sent me the photo that I used on the envelope, and I have to credit a fellow shipmate of his by the name of Bob Chady for taking this (cropped) photograph. Our initial conversation was driven by the fact I was wearing a cap that my son gave me. One of only two outward signs that I'd been to SE Asia, and Vietnam specifically. He opened The Ball by asking.

He takes photographs. He spent several hours over a couple of days taking my photograph for an exhibit of Vietnam veterans which he is putting together. I have not seen it. I won't see it until November, pretty close to Veteran's Day.

He has skills with a camera and Photoshop that I do not have. I owe him a great deal, not only for the portraits, two of which I now have, but for the shared experiences that we can "re-remember" and recreate in the telling.

Thank you, Michael.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Shelby, Montana - Indian Home

I've had this piece of paper for quite awhile. I had been avoiding doing alcohol and tobacco related art, simply because I felt that neither were subjects that were popular with my patrons. I finally looked at it for more than the second time, and because of the nature of the letter, the age of the paper, (Shelby Junction predated Shelby), and the fact that establishment was created near the Great Northern boxcar which served as the station, I decided it was worth enhancing. The Shelby Junction Station was the connecting link for the Great Northern Railway and the Great Falls & Canada Railway.  Peter P. Shelby was a general manager for the Montana Central Railroad before becoming an employee of the Great Northern.

And - that's how my hometown got its name!

The text of the letter:

                                              Please hurry up the cigars ordered
                                 from you over a month ago.         If you cannot
                                 send me the entire order,   please
                                 forward 50 on the next train
                                 and oblige.
                                                                                                Dan Sullivan