Friday, December 22, 2017

Rocky Too

I purchased this piece of paper two years ago, and didn't bother examining it closely. The offset logo in the center of the letterhead bothered me, and there was a chip in the top edge. Like the title says, I've done Rocky more than once. In July of 2012 I did a tin sign. Last year I did Boxcar Rocky. Both of those sold. I like this one so much I just may do another, if I can find some more Glacier Park or Great Northern Railway paper.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Tietjen's Pet - A Smokin' Bulldog

Tietjen's Pet

This is a commissioned piece from a long-time patron, who first purchased a piece of my art during the Western Heritage Artist's show and Sale six years ago. The name will be familiar to a number of artists that belong to the organization, as Beverly Tietjen was a founding member of the WHA.

By 1895, there were over 42,000 cigar companies in the U.S. Many, like Mr. Tietjen, sold various brands of cigars and tobacco products, but they also manufactured their own. Because of strict regulation of sales by the government, retail outlets could only purchase cigars by the box, and once the box was empty, they had to order a new box. The artwork is phenomenal, and the means by which it is produced is phenomenal as well. There is quite a collectible market for cigar labels - Charlie Russell had his own, and even promoted them in some of his art.

Original document

The above image is what the document looked like before I began to abuse it, somewhat. The erasures and line removes on most of this old paper that I encounter is excellent paper, and stands up to my abuse fairly well. There was a spindle hole on this one, but I'm really uncertain as to why. The pencil can be read, and he signed it in pencil as well, but I am having a hard time determining just exactly what he was seeking from Bateman & Switzer, to whom the note is addressed.

I could do cigar labels until the cows come home, but this one was a pleasure, as it came from my head, and the bulldog is from a brand called Bulldog. So - I copied it. When an original gets copied, it's a sign that the original was well done.

Monday, November 27, 2017

J. D. Eastman, Oregon Grape Root Bitters

A Montana Union Railway Bill of Lading

J. D. Eastman of Deer Lodge, Montana Territory, was granted a patent for Oregon Grape Root Bitters in 1886. He sold out to a fellow by the name of J. H. Owings in 1887, as I have  a piece of Owings letterhead dated April 18th of that year. A fascinating letterhead depicting an Oregon Grape leaf:

J. H. Owings letterhead

This is a commissioned piece by a patron who first purchased a National Biscuit Company piece of paper on which I pictured the Uneeda Biscuit Boy back in 2012.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Mule Train Bill of Lading

B. F. White Bill of Lading
July 28th, 1879

A Mule train of freight wagons from Terminus, (now Dillon), to Virginia City, Montana Territory, the freight being carried to Terminus by narrow gauge Utah & Northern Railroad from Corrine, Utah.

From the Beaverhead County Museum we copied the following: Richard Deacon resisted the railroad when an attempt was made to cross his ranch. To overcome this obstacle, a group of enterprising businessmen purchased the lands of Richard Deacon and gave the railroad company the right-of-way. It was a prompt and satisfactory manner of handling a difficult situation. It also led to the formation of a townsite company and the town of Dillon began its interesting history. This land was purchased Sept. 14, 1880, from Deacon, by a group of merchants headed by Howard Sebree, for the sum of $10,500. There were 480 acres in the piece of land purchased. A company was formed by L. J. Ruth, Sim Estes, L. C. Fyhrie, B. F. White, Charles Lefevre, Wilden Pinkham, E. M. Ratcliffe, Sebree, Ferris & Holt, George Smith & Co. 

The Utah and Northern Railroad was the very first railroad into Montana, albeit it was Montana Territory and Montana would not be a state for another 10 years. The obstacle of right-of-way for the railroad was not the only obstruction - it was a narrow gauge railroad, the cars were small, as were the locomotives. Think, Monida pass. Terminus would have to have been at the Southern edge of the Deacon property, whose property became the business district of what is now Dillon.

The post office at Terminus was established in March of 1880. The name was changed to Dillon, in honor of Sydney Dillon, the president of the Union Pacific Railroad later
 in 1880. The Union Pacific bought out the Utah & Northern and converted the entire line to Standard gauge, thus insuring that goods shipped by rail from back East would continue on to the lucrative markets in Montana Territory without delay. To this day, the Union Pacific owns the railbed, and leases it to Burlington Northern & Santa Fe.

The gentlemen who purchased the Deacon property may have jumped the gun, having business paper (like this piece) printed with 'city' name of Terminus, but in this case I'm happy they did. It makes for a very interesting story.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Yemassee Pure Rye Whiskey

Bateman & Switzer

The document is a letter from Dan Sullivan on his letterhead, to Bateman & Switzer, a Great Falls, Montana business that provided Wine, Liquor, Cigars and Billiard supplies to a great deal of Montana saloons and bars. The letter is dated July 9, 1904. The little vignette in the upper left hand corner is fascinating to me.

The bottle itself is a dug bottle from Unionville, a small mining community near Helena. It was given to me by a fellow here in town - a patron, actually. I used this bottle in November of 2011, and posted it HERE.

A month ago, I removed the Last Chance Whiskey label that was affixed to the bottle, and glued a good copy of a Yemassee label which I obtained from a bottle collector in Bozeman. I then had a Vietnam veteran friend of mine take a photograph of the bottle with whiskey in it. I worked from his photograph with his permission. I was told yesterday of a different Bateman & Switzer label with a different Indian depicted. I love these labels! 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A Thank You Returns

I've been 'under the gun' to get art work completed for the Western Heritage Artists Show and Sale which opens on the 15th of March in Great Falls, but I also owed a Thank You to a patron. I completed a Harley motorcycle image for her in January, and simply had not had the chance to thank her for her purchase.

Yesterday, I received the card back as NOT DELIVERABLE. If I could show you the entire address line, which I won't, it can clearly be read by anyone who can actually READ. I suspect a machine could not read it, so therefore it was kicked back to me. I'm not at all happy.

It is now going back to the post office, and I will get an explanation for this 'human' error, because I can't accept this ridiculous rejection.

Monday, March 6, 2017

U. S. Licensed Trader, Browning, Montana

This illustration is from a letter to Judge Charles N. Pray who was the U. S. Representative from Montana, 1907 to 1913. Charlie thanked the Judge belatedly for a box of books the judge had given to Charlie, but the box contained no information about who or where they came from. Charlie did not discover the fact the judge had sent it until 1914. I greatly admired Charlie's control of the English language, and this is not a 'finished' piece of art. The image below is a scan from the Russell Museum book of Charlie's illustrated letters.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Topical Trifecta

A year ago about this time, I posted a scan of a billhead from Marshall-Wells that involved my remake of a vintage travel poster. You can look at it here. I had intended to take it to the Western Heritage Artists Show and Sale to hang in my room, but the art and the artist (me) got involved in a bit of a birthday surprise. So, it hung on the wall during the show last year, and I got good reactions to the subject - which involved fishing. That meant that although the piece sold BEFORE I got it to the show, it was just one less piece of art that I had hanging on my wall that I could sell.

I am in a similar situation this year, however, this is at the framers right now, and I intend to hang it in the Lobby Show, that way more eyes will see it, and hopefully it will find a home. I had a LOT of fun with this one. The entire piece is out of my head with a little help from Google.

The reason I titled it A Topical Trifecta is because it involves three very popular topics for collectors, and I enjoy putting them together in one place. And yes, I have fly fished in Glacier National Park, and I didn't go through an entrance to get there and do that.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Boxcar Rocky

Recently I acquired a couple of pieces of Great Northern letterhead, and although this one is dated 1902, Rocky the Mountain Goat had not yet made his official appearance. He's headed to the framers so that he can make his appearance at the Western Heritage Artists Show and Sale during Western Art Week. The Railroad of my youth.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sody-Licious Too!

Back in 2009 when I was just getting my feet wet with this old paper business, I found two sheet of this letterhead in a large Priority Mail envelope filled with paper from a business in Spokane, Washington, called Northwest Chemical and School Supply. I began researching the company using the fabulous web resource called Google.

I found a gentleman in California who collects this type of bottle. It is called an ACL, which stands for Applied Color Label. These bottles are usually only one applied color, but some may have multiple colors. I had not seen what the bottle looked like, so I contacted the gentleman to see if he could supply an image. My request was answered in short order. Although I offered to pay for the photograph, he agreed to give me several photos in exchange for a scan of the letterhead that led me to him.

I had intended to portray the reverse side of the bottle on the second sheet of letterhead, but after considering my options, I decided to portray the front side as I had back in 2009

No matter how small or intricate the subject, you always discover something different the second time you approach it. This was no exception. My first attempt, I really abused the paper. This time I did not, and I'm happier with the color this time around as well.

And for the record, the reverse side has the following: "Famous Brands of Kittitas County and Sody-Licious Beverage Company".

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bronco Billy visits Virginia City

They loved their fireworks in Virginia City. I have completed several pieces with the same theme, all with various line items for 4th of July celebrations. All are dated in June. In this case, plenty of time to get munitions from St. Paul, Minnesota. This image is a mash up of a package and a label. The label was displayed on the web at a vintage label site. The package had a different label, and I wanted a red package to go with the label.

The above image is the paper before I started removing characters. One hundred and sixty-three to be exact. Slow and steady. I left no holes, despite the thin, brittle paper. You will notice the characters GIANT FIRE CRACKERS. I incorporated them into the art work.

This is the label before alteration to fit the document.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Shop Dope from Harley Davidson

Like the Willys Knight Plaid Side Sedan, this is a commission for a wonderful patron who decided she wanted a story to tell with a piece of paper. This is what she is getting.

This is the photograph which she loaned to me. After discussions with my brother-in-law and looking at hundreds of images of Harley Davidson motorcycles of the period, I'm ready to send it off to a new home.