My father was a mystery. Before he married my mother, he was a cowboy and a rancher working all over the western United States. He was a very private man who could be witty, funny, and the life of the party - or else moody and withdrawn, living in another world. This was the first image that I created using an old photo of my father combined with my acrylic paintings and my digital photos. By using different colors, textures, patterns and backgrounds, I tried to create an image capturing the complex mystery of the man who was my father.
Helter - Skelter
A few years later I wanted to use more of my Dad's old photos and to combine them with my watercolor paintings. As a child, this was one of my favorite photos that we had hanging on a wall in our house. I liked the chaotic running horses that blurred and then re-appeared through the shifting dust, and so to add contrast I placed a dramatic static portrait of him on his favorite horse into this scene. I continued to grow more intrigued with the unknowns of his life, discovered like fading memories found in an old box. Finally I began visualizing a series of images combining my art with these whimsical old photos to create a tribute to his life.
All in a Days Work
In this image, my father looks posed for action. He was a hard worker and was up before dawn, took a siesta after lunch, and then worked until sunset. He always wore a hat. To this day, a man in a cowboy hat always catches my eye.
Thinking of Horses
There are many photos of me as a baby sitting on my Dad's big horse. My sister and I took riding lessons and we loved to ride our horses, often with our father on early morning trail rides. As a teenager my brother worked on a ranch.
Sense of Place
This was another favorite photo that hung in my childhood home. Dad was a rancher but he also quoted poetry (while riding) and collected poems (typed and pasted into a scrapbook that we only discovered after he died), played classical piano, understood and loved animals (believing that children should be seen and not heard), read mysteries, played golf, gambled on horses, dogs, and human sports, and also really liked a glass of whisky before dinner.
My father was a handsome man. As children we loved it on the rare occasions that Mom and Dad would dress up to go out at night. We were not a very social family. Dad was 25 years older than Mom.
Home is the Range
My father was happiest with animals and by himself.
This is another photo that I loved. We all wondered where it was located, however my father would frequently not answer direct questions about his past. Therefore we would have cryptic conversations guessing about the current weather at this location.
He worked in the Channel Islands off the coast of California. Perhaps this was part of a movie set?
The family joke was that my mother would join us on horseback rides on Sunday mornings if she could ride a white mule. She never joined us.