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It’s the Pitts: Coloring Outside the Lines

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

By: Lee Pitts

In my younger years I fantasized about becoming fabulously wealthy as an artist. There was only one thing standing in my way – I couldn’t draw. 

Well, this isn’t entirely correct as I could draw farm animals, but I simply couldn’t draw people. My men all had faces resembling Berkshire hogs, a breed known for being especially ugly. My women all had horse faces, and my children all had countenances that only a nanny goat could love. 

I also couldn’t draw clouds, and no matter how hard I tried, they invariably ended up looking like exploding bags of flour.

I’d have to say my best artistic masterpiece was probably a wood carving I did using my mother’s brand new coffee table as a pallet on which I carved my troop number using my Cub Scout knife. I made the mistake of signing my name on the masterpiece, and I’ve never made that faux pas again, no sirree.

I take solace in the fact my artistic efforts will one day be fully appreciated because Van Gogh sold only one painting while he was alive. Of course, when he died his pieces sold for what are called “dead men’s prices.”

I didn’t fail as an artist for lack of trying. 

Did you know the average kid between the ages of two and eight spends 28 minutes of their day coloring? I easily tripled this.

I attribute any artistic shortcomings to the fact I was a deprived kid who only had an eight pack of Crayola®. And please note I included the ® thingys because I wrote the word Crayola® without it once and got a nasty letter from Binney and Smith threatening legal action. 

I was quite honored to receive such a letter to think the people who made Crayola®  actually read my column. 

The company got bought out by Hallmark in 1984, and ever since then, they don’t seem to be so uptight about the ® thingy because I’ve never received such a letter from them. 

Just for fun, let’s see if Hallmark reads my column or takes legal action this time… Crayola, Crayola, Crayola.

I was jealous of the kids who had the 64-piece set of Crayola® and attributed my shortcomings in the art department to not having the other 56 colors. I probably should be getting reparation payments for being deprived of the full color spectrum.

I enjoy painting with oils, and I’ve done two pieces that deserve the space they take up on our walls. One is of a Hereford cow and the other is of a sea otter and her pup. The rest of the wall space in our house is covered with cowboy art. 

I have originals from people many have heard of like Will James, Joe Beeler and two pen and inks from Edward Borein. Then, there are all of my originals from artists who are still alive including Phil Tognazzini, Vel Miller and Jerry McAdams, who all happen to be friends of mine.

My all-time favorite cowboy artist is Tim Cox, and years ago, I asked Tim and his wife Suzie if I could use a favorite of mine on the cover of one of my books titled “Essays From God’s Country.” 

Not only did they give me permission, they also gave me a large artist proof of the piece which takes center stage in our home.

My favorite deceased artist is Georgia O’Keeffe, and her work borders on modern art which I usually hate. I agree with Al Capp, the artist behind the comic called “Lil’ Abner,” when he said modern art was, “A product of the untalented, sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered.”

Some of the stuff being called “art” these days is a real travesty, like the 10-foot round circle of manure shown at the San Francisco Art Institute which was taken down after only one day because it stunk up the place – both artistically and aromatically. 

Then there was the air conditioning vent that wasn’t even entered in the show and got top prize at a different modern art show.

I shouldn’t leave readers with the impression I have zero artistic talent. 

I love airbrushing some of my leather creations, but as for drawing the human form, I agree with the anonymous art critic who said, “His illustrations were horribly executed and the artist should be.”

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