Ropin', Paintin', and Writin'

  Ropin’, Paintin’, and Writin’


  Mike Capron


I just finished a book about Charles Marion Russell by Austin Russell.    I read it because I have been a student of CM Russell for 60 years. I have studied his art as best you could without having him as the teacher.  I am always ready to learn a little more about him. Austin was his nephew and lived with Charlie and Nancy a number of years.  It certainly was a creditable account of Charlie and Nancy in a light that I hadn’t read before.  It did enforce my beliefs in how Charlie learned to draw the west so well.  He was in business at the beginning of the Commercial Art Business. Lots of conflict with commercial artists and fine artists mostly because of the market world trying to sell art for bigger prices. Commercial art had a nice pricing scale set up and the European Market and American Art Market were battling for creditability.  It boiled down to who had the money to spend on art. The commercial art business (magazines, calendars, book illustrations, ) was selling more now and requiring the best artists to illustrate.  The artists learned the art fundamentals from the renaissance boys, and the good illustrators fell in right behind them.   These were the boys Charlie met when he went to New York, and they put him  on the right track with certain composition rules. He could already outdraw them as far as anatomy and animal expression. He knew his subjects and could tell the story with them. Austin said that he learned how to express the correct light for the painting.  No doubt Charlie loved to draw and paint and he loved the subjects he painted.

Bottom line don’t throw a loop unless to tend to catch and don’t dig a ditch unless you got something to put in it, and don’t write a book or paint a picture unless you got something to say.

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