Wow! What an amazing experience that was! Cowboy True is now many memories. I often wonder why I put myself into situations where I know I'm going to be totally out of my comfort zone. The best reason I can figure is because stepping out of my own space is when I meet new, interesting people who have a passion for something I know nothing about.
Last night, I met Ann Ayres. She does bronze pieces depicting the lives of famous cowgirls like Bonnie McCarroll. Bonnie started trick riding as a girl. She married McCarroll when she was 14. A horse threw her, dragged her and killed her when she was 31. The # 1 sculpture of Bonnie McCarroll is in the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. Ann didn't start sculpting until she was 51. She explained the bronzing process from start to finish, from which I mainly gained an understanding of why bronze pieces are always so expensive. She spoke with admiration for the artists who inspired her and with pride for the accolades that have come in regard to her work. She is an incredible artist. She and her work have been featured in Cowboys and Indians and in Ketchpen magazines. You can see her work at www.annayresbronzes.com. I couldn't afford any of Ann's bronzes but I did buy some silver horse shoes that she makes. They'll make nice napkin rings -- or Christmas ornaments.
I met Mejo Okon, a woman from San Angelo. She paints cattle and horses and cowboys. Most of her paintings were large and close. For me, if the eyes of an animal are not done well, it ruins the whole picture. Mejo gets a high five for her paintings and another for the eyes. I bought one of her paintings of two
parade horses. She gave me the right to name them. Since they are big boys, I've decided to name them Revis and Luke. They are featured on her website at www.mejookon.com
I met Jack and Karen Milchanowski from Bowie. He had a great story about a picture of three wolves that he went out into the wilds of somewhere and lured them in with frozen deer meat. He said the wolves came so close at times they brushed against him. When they ran out of meat, he said the wolves went away, no confrontation, no threat from either side. I thought that was neat. I bought one of Jack's new western prints. It is a cowboy and his horse. I was originally attracted to it because the horse is so beautiful. Jack told me he had intended to have a series of pictures of this cowboy and his horse, but the day of their shoot, one of the horse's legs was bothering him and the man wouldn't ride him. Jack said, "that man really loves his horse." I loved that tidbit of information about the man so I bought it. Jack talked about taking three exposures of one scene and putting them together on the computer which completely changes a photograph. Then they are printed on metallic paper.
You can see Jack's wildlife photography on his website at www.jemfoto.com Jack and Karen bought a copy of each book Saturday Morning about 10am. By the time I left at 9pm, Jack was nearly finished with Come Hell or High Water. I believe he set a new record. He emailed me Monday and said he read The Hell About Stallions after they got home from Wichita Falls on Sunday. Another record! It's always an extra special treat when a man enjoys my books.
Su McMahen makes beautiful bling stuff. From her booth I bought a serving tray with cowgirl sayings all over the inside and bling all around the edge. She came and bought Come Hell or High Water and gave me a pair of Texas star earrings. She is a beauty with blonde spiky hair, lots of huge jewelry, and a ready
smile. She teaches grade school in Vernon. Something about her assured me that I'd be glad for her to be my grandson's teacher.
I ate dinner Friday night with Martha and Jimmy Stewart, (their real names believe it or not) and Dr. and Mrs. Tom Sherriff. The steaks and baked potatoes were cooked to perfection and the conversation around the table was fun and interesting. Saturday night we were served -- chuck wagon style -- by the Chuck Wagon Gang at the Texoma Cowboy Church. Enchiladas with beans and rice. Again, it was excellent.
I met Nancy Scott and Carol Sales of the Kemp Center for the Arts, www.kempcenter.org wonderful ladies who helped and encouraged me to come to Cowboy True, then checked in every so often to make sure I had everything I needed.
That brings me to Dotti Laseur. Dotti is one of those special people who as soon as I met her, I knew we'd be friends. She's funny and energetic. She loves animals and flowers and ART. She has tea parties in her apartment at the Holt Hotel and in her doll house at Lake Kickapoo. She never meets a stranger. She voluntarily and tirelessly promotes the Wichita Falls Literature and Art Review magazine because it is a wonderful publication, and one that speaks well for Wichita Falls.
Being allowed to participate in Cowboy True as an artist was an honor that before hand had me chewing my nails down into the quick, but thanks to all the above mentioned folks and many others, all the memories I made this past weekend are good ones.