Horse Art

Horses have wonderfully expressive faces and artists have been trying to capture this since the time people first started painting in caves.   So the best part of my trip to the Cowboy Hall of Fame was the art with horses.

Horses often look like they are just about to say something to you (like the famous Mr. Ed), if only one would stop to listen.

They have their opinions about what the humans are up to, and they mostly are too polite to say.

This statue celebrates the life and career of Khadafy Skoal (named after some dictator or other).   He was originally slated for a career in horse racing when his humans noticed that he did not care for jockeys.   He started his career at age 7 and was named Horse of the Year in 1990, 95 and 96.  (He was very well liked by his fellow horses).  He retired in 2004 and died late in 2013 at age 31.

Much as I liked these other horses I must admit that my favorite horse of all time is Pegasus.   Those wings just give him an unfair advantage over mortal horses.

Touristing in the rain

I have vowed to take a peek at the sorts of things tourists see when they visit here when I get the opportunity.   I had been busy wasting time when I saw that it was free museum day, so off I went into the rain to check out a nearby museum.   The museum is dedicated to professional rodeo cowboys.   It’s not my thing, but I decided to go anyway to see what they are all about.

There is their iconic statue guarding the front, a cowboy riding a kicking horse.   I always thought that the  strap on the back went around the animal’s tender parts, but it is actually around the waist.  The horse is trying to kick it off and if the cowboy goes with it, so much the better to the horse’s way of thinking.  (Horses are not deep thinkers).

The profession (getting paid to do this) of rodeo cowboy only started in the 1920’s, although men did this for fun before that. This magazine cover from 1951 shows one of the first well-known rodeo stars.

Being named rodeo queen is an occasion to get dressed up in a sparkling outfit.  Women compete in barrel racing (riding your horse around an obstacle course of oil drums as fast as your horse can go) and goat roping.

Besides having lots of display cases of saddles, belt buckles and other flotsam and ephemera, there are lots of western themed sculptures, mostly of horses and bulls except for this one.

There is also an outdoor sculpture area, and a catering facility, and a tiny arena for the bulls and horses to perform in when ever.   This is a Hall of Fame, so to have one’s name enshrined here, one has to be voted in from a yearly ballot.  And that applies equally to horses, bulls, and people, although I am not sure how they count the votes of the horses and bulls.



Back in grade school, whenever we had to do a section on poetry, the teacher always picked “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer.  It made no difference what grade we were in, the poem for the poetry unit was always “Trees”.  (And I have no idea why, it was just the way of things).   So here it is, the first line of “Trees”:  ” I think that I shall never see.  A poem as lovely as a tree.”   Obviously Mr. Kilmer was a bit confused by the subject, and he would have been even more confused after a short walk through our downtown.    We do have the usual sorts of trees, but then there are a few special ones.

I love this tree.   It has been downtown for several years and was purchased from the artist after being part of the art in the streets program.   It is made of steel and river rocks.

This tree is more recent, and has these lovely spinning leaves which give it a rather festive air.   I took this snap during a recent street event.

But this is the best tree downtown (or anywhere in the city).   This is part of the newest batch of art on the streets.   This handsome creature is formed from steel wire and looks to have a few river rocks inside.   I do love the local deer, and I hope this one stays and gets to be part of herd.

“Poems are made by fools like me.  But only God can make a tree.”

Shadows in Art

I got the notice rather late in the day after running errands and such.  It was free day at the local museum and I had not been there in a while, so off I went for the last days of the latest show.  As usual I got completely sidetracked by the lovely shadows of museum lighting and other irrelevancies.

There was a current display of art from Brazil.  I loved the enigmatic nature of this canvas, with both the figure we see and the unseen figures of the shadows.

This unfinished etching by Rembrandt has a shadowy quality, perhaps it really is finished.   (The green in the picture is a reflection from the exit sign).   (The exit sign is in case you don’t notice the huge gap in the wall).

Chihuly managed to flog a number of pieces to the museum’s permanent collection.   They are pretty enough, but the shadows make them extra fabulous.

The author as a pair of legs.  I love how this makes me look extra tall and slim.

And what was I up to?   Just snapping away at  random things which caught my eye.

This particular shadow was cast right in front of a painting by Andy Warhol.   I don’t think that he could have done a better portrait of me, that captures my essence. 😉


Besides festivals I also like car shows.  And not with just any sort of cars, I love the steel and chrome of vintage cars.   Because back when these cars were manufactured, styling was everything.   And no detail was unimportant, even a detail like hood ornaments (note for young people: almost every car had a bit of chrome on the front of the hood that proclaimed it’s identity).

This one on a vintage Cadillac features a flying person, just to let one know that riding along in this car was almost like flying. (sort of).

For the more literal minded, this one has a stylized bird.

How about one featuring a greyhound, they are known to be quite fast.

But not as fast as a wheeled rocket (a wheeled rocket??).   I’m sure this mash-up of two ideas symbolizes great speed.

This hood ornament was on the oldest car at the show.   I love the way the chrome is an integral part of the hood (bonnet to you Brits).  The hood ornament is not a stylized anything really, just a bit of bling, to help speed you down the road.


What is a summer celebration without a parade?   (There are lots of parades in our downtown, which the local merchants hate).  Here at the 107th Annual, it was a fine day for the parade, and there was a good turnout of participants.   The parade always starts late because it is hard work herding all these cats people, politicians, beasts and machinery.  Anyone who wants to show up can be in the parade, but politicians have to pay $100 for the privilege.  😉  Heading up the parade as usual was the State Police and the local fire department (they are quite proud that they have a newish truck!).  They were followed by the color guard of old soldiers who had squeezed into the old uniforms.  Next:

The mariachis were the most colorful group in the parade.  I don’t know if they are local, or if they are the sort that turns up at events. The mariachis at Mass just wore plaid shirts, so I don’t think they are the same group.

It is the West, so there must be horses.  And a rodeo queen or two.

This is M’s uncle, riding on a 1950’s John Deere, and coming along on the tractors behind him are cousin-ish relatives on his other tractors in the collection.   (Don’t ask me what he uses the tractors for or why he has them).

This is the son of M’s actual cousin, driving Great-Uncle S’ 1928 truck.  As Uncle S never threw anything away (he did finally buy a new truck in the 1950’s) the truck even has the original manual.

Non-relatives, these are government employees from nearby Fort Union National Monument at the tail end of the parade.   In between were Shriners, school kids, parade marshalls, heavy equipment,  old cars, new cars, a dog, a parade queen, more relatives and miscellaneous marchers.  And a good time was had by all.


This is a picture of M’s uncle, probably taken by M’s grandma about 85 years ago.   The other being in the photo is Lady, who was a good and faithful dog.   Some of the folks in old photos are hard to identify, but we do remember our dogs.

I not only got juried into Fine Arts at the state fair, but I got first place, which was rather thrilling and unexpected.

I am happy to report that the old truck is still there, rusting away into eternity.   The sky was not as blue as usual because of smoke from far away wildfires.