Saturday, December 3, 2016

Russell Vignettes from the Past

This is a piece of mail art for a couple that were subscribers to my First Day Covers in the 90's. They also purchased a number of Russell related covers from me. I have no idea how many of these I did, nor the number of Russell images I produced in miniature. The Reinke's are more than generous patrons. They are friends. They hung my "art mail" on the wall and made me feel like family. They still do.

The envelopes were produced in 1989 with two runs through the press: The first run was the frame, and the second run was a colorized (by me) version of the stamp in the upper right corner, which was from a C. M. Russell painting entitled "Jerked Down". Some of the envelopes from the first run were reserved, and the one above is an example of an image that I did twice - hence the number 2 behind the title in the lower corner.

This one includes a little extra line treatment on the basic frame by way of the crown, and the color of the frame is different. One of these days perhaps some more of these will see the light of day.

Memories are made of this.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Willys Knight Land Yacht

1930 Model 66b Plaid Side Great Six

Although the Hendricks Auto Company letter, signed by Mr. J. A. Hendricks himself is dated the 8th of November, 1917, this beautiful high end automobile came out of the factory in 1929. This is the first piece of old paper that I've done since March, and the first art I've done since early June.

It's going to the folks who commissioned it very shortly. I'm back in the saddle.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Shelby High School Class of 1966 Reunion

This is the cover for the 1966 Shelby High School yearbook. Our 50th Class Reunion is this coming weekend, July 15th and 16th. I may have to ask your name, but I have never forgotten a face.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Trumpeter Swan #26 in Series

This is the first time in twenty-six years that the subject for the Federal Waterfowl stamp has been a swan. I have a thing for the duck stamp... All twenty-six have been portraits just like this one. I may be a bit slower getting them to subscribers this year, since I have a puppy in the studio. He's a water dog (Golden Retriever) and already knows how to fetch. He will, however, be fetching no Trumpeter Swans.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Birthday Cards

Birthdays only come around once a year. No problem. Penny's is the same day as mine...

Friday, April 1, 2016

Two More for the Flyway

This makes an even dozen. I have one more to do and then I can start doing commissioned work that I garnered at the Footprints on the Trail Show.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Two More!

Two more sincere Thank You's on their way to patrons who purchased during the Footprints on the Trail show.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Two more Fly Away.

After being out of town for three days, I've returned to catch up with thank yous. More tomorrow as well.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Riding Shotgun and One for the Road

I wonder if I have any more wrecked car or gun related paper... Why, yes, I do. Now, to get my Thank you's taken care of.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Two More for the Mailman

It looks to me like I'm going to be at this for a couple of weeks. I only have one patent medicine left if anyone is interested...

Not to worry. The active ingredient in this one is tap water.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The G-Boy Cap Pistol

The price was a dollar. It is totally ratty. I saw the pistol on the top of it, and decided I had to have it whether or not I ever used it. I was in a rush. I left my gallery room at the Western Heritage show to go down to the Antique show and pick up some paper that a dealer had set aside for me. Paper I can use. While leaving the show to return to my room, another dealer mentioned she had a box of paper from a movie theater, and asked if I'd be interested. This piece of paper was sitting right on top.

If you are disinterested because it doesn't have any art on it, please skip to the second paragraph. I'll leave you with that. It's definitely a different world we are living in.

Red Dots Get a Thank You

Patrons who purchase art from me get what they deserve - a proper THANK YOU.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

More Fly Paper

My bags are packed and I'm ready to go, and the drive is only ninety miles of Interstate. This is the first of three smaller pieces of Marshall-Wells billhead that is fishing related. Since I sold the larger piece before I had a chance to frame it, I decided to not reveal this one until today. It is mounted in my portfolio which is in my car. The Western Heritage Artists Show and Sale officially starts tomorrow evening, but I always goes a day early to set up and settle in. The gallery rooms are not open until 7:00 PM, but I'll have mine open all day tomorrow. If you are in Great Falls for Western Art Week, I'm offering you an invite!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Fly Fishing on the Yellowstone

Here's another billhead from Marshall-Wells in Duluth, Minnesota, to C. W. Rank & Company in Virginia City, Montana. This one is dated the 7th of February, 1905. Based on a poster I found on-line, I think I improved on it a great deal, and added the NP Railway logo to add a bit of authenticity to it. I wish I could tell you who the artist was, but sadly I cannot. Regardless, I think my Rainbow is just a bit better than his (or hers).

This one is headed to my framer before noon, because it is then headed to the Western Heritage Artists Footprints on the Trail show in less than two weeks. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Sharps Model 1874 .50 Caliber Sporting Rifle

I will start with the subject of this piece first. I found this rifle on an auction site with plenty of close-up photographs and provenance. The site is Collectors Firearms, The serial number is pictured in one of the photographs as #C54634, one of three Model 1874 Sporting Rifles in .50 Caliber shipped from the factory in Hartford, Connecticut. The shipping date is listed as April 24, 1875, and was sent to a the sporting goods dealer Spies, Kissam & Company in New York City. The total cost of all three of these rifles, plus bullet molds and shipping crate was $92.94.

I could have chosen a different Sharps, perhaps one of their Buffalo Rifles, but Collectors Firearms supplied plenty of photographs of this one, and I decided to go with this one rather than one that perhaps would have been used here in Montana - because I LIKED IT.

Realizing that although this billhead was for cartridges and not firearms, I thought for awhile about doing a cartridge box. This was early enough (July 13, 1874) that I really couldn't find anything colorful enough in cartridge boxes to do this piece of paper the injustice of picturing a plain old box.

After a visit to the Montana Historical Society Research Center, I discovered exactly nothing about the Koenigsberger Brothers. I also did a web search for the brothers and found the following entries in the San Francisco Directory for 1867:

HOENI<;SieEK<;EgC BKOTIIEK!^(/'Vr(h°na7id, Philip, anil Schastidii), manufacturers cigars and importers tobacco, 218 and 220 Battery Koenigsberger Ferdinand (Koeniysberger Brothers), dwl 803 Ellis Koenigsberger Philip (Koenigsberger Brothers), dwl 803 Ellis Koenigsberger Sebastian (Koenigsberger Brothers), res Helena, Montana.

Although a bit cryptic, it does make mention of Sebastian in Helena in 1867. The key element to this entry is the fact that the brothers manufactured cigars. They would have been in business at 30 Main Street in Helena through at least July of 1874, for that is the date on the billhead.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Fly Paper for the Fly Fisherman

Another piece off of the drawing table and headed to the Footprints on the Trail, Western Heritage Artists Show and Sale. Opening on the 16th of March, I intend to leave this one unframed for the show. This piece is dated the 16th of February, 1904, sent from Marshall-Wells Hardware Company in Duluth, Minnesota, to C. W. Rank and Company in Virginia City, Montana. I've not had a bit of trouble finding new homes for the four previous pieces of 'fly paper' I've completed, and I don't think I'll have a problem finding a new home for this one either.

The above image is of the top of the piece which I thought it best to include in this post, as well as the dimensions: It is eight and one half inches wide by fourteen inches tall, and would display nicely in a frame.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Another late June order for fireworks for C. W. Rank & Company of Virginia City, this one for the Fourth of July, 1901. It is also going to go to the Western Heritage Artists Show and Sale next month. I'm starting to get into the mood.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

AYER'S Patent Medicine With Lead!

You may have realized by now that one of my favorite subjects is glass. This is no exception.

We'll start with a description of the document since it is too large (8" X 14") to fit on my flatbed scanner. I have a number of pieces of Montana Drug Company paper that I have used before, and I've put glass bottles on all of them. The first piece I did can be viewed HERE, and the second one is HERE. Both of them were patent medicines. This one is no different.

There are four of Ayer's products listed on this billhead, and they are Sarsaparilla, Hair Vigor, Pills, and Cherry Pectoral. I used my trusty research tool (Google) to look at the glass containers for all four of these products, and the Hair Vigor was by far the most eye-appealing. From there I had to either get a photograph taken or obtain permission to use an already existing photograph as a model. To that end, I contacted Mr. Don Fadely, who has put together a web site called Hair Raising Stories, which describes many patent medicines and their containers. It was constructed to primarily aid the collectors of the glass containers and the labeling. The bottles are collectible.

The following was taken directly from the product description on Mr. Fadely's web site: 
(1) Dissolve 9 pounds of lead acetate in water; (2) add 9 pounds of cream of tartar, dissolved in water (as little water as will take it up); (3) wash this precipitate in water twice; (4) dissolve the precipitate in 30 pounds of solution of caustic soda (specific gravity 1.07); (5) add sufficient water to bring quantity to 13 pounds; (6) add 6 1/2 gallons of glycerine.
 The description was a rewording from the patent. An exact date for the sale of Hair Vigor in this bottle is a bit vague, and although the original bottling is still to be found, I believe this bottle was headed to a barber shop, as many barber bottles are very beautiful with good reason. 

The above is an example of an Ayer's Hair Vigor advertisement from 1900. Almost psychedelic. Don't look at it for too long...

Friday, January 15, 2016

Goodkind Brothers Metropole Whiskey

We'll begin this post with a little history.

Brothers Abraham L. and Edward I. Goodkind, and Meyer and Charles Wise operated a wholesale wine, liquor, and cigar business in Helena, Montana, from 1890 or 1891 until 1896 when the Wise brothers left the business. The Goodkind brothers continued their operation until Edward died on May 11, 1916. The preceding is directly from the Montana Historical Society Research Center.

This is my first finished piece of 2016, and I intend to submit this piece for the Lobby Show at the Western Heritage Artist Show and Sale beginning on March 16, 2016, at the Holiday Inn in Great Falls, Montana.

It is a back bar bottle with fluted shoulders and base, and although I have not seen this particular bottle, I have seen a similar bottle belonging to one of my first patrons. I used a photograph as a model for this piece, and the image was borrowed from another patron and original owner of this bottle.

The letterhead is dated 22 April, 1914, and the letter concerns the shipment of whiskey barrels to be returned to Goodkind Brothers from a Mr. E. M. Smith. I am not certain how this letterhead was acquired, but I assume it came from ether the C. W. Rank or S. R. Buford establishment records in Virginia City.

The Goodkind Brothers building still stands at the corner of 6th Avenue and what is now known as Last Chance Gulch. When this letterhead was originally printed, the street was called Main Street, and was indeed THE main street of downtown Helena. The building is now the beginning of a two block long walking mall that extends South on the gulch to Broadway, which roughly parallels 6th Avenue East and West.

Urban Renewal frankly decimated downtown Helena, and eliminated some of the rich historical buildings. This one survives.