The 1950's produced some very cool toys and novelties.
This Roy Rogers plastic drinking cup is one of them. I'm
using this cup as the beginning of my next painting. When
I have an object like this, I put it in the direct sun and study
it. I try to put lighting on it that gives it a life of
its own. Then I try to imagine the cup being used by a
child and try to visualize that day back in 1950. As a
child of the 50's, I remember having my TV idols and how I would
daydream about meeting them. Thus, the beginning of
I needed a backdrop for the painting, so I've
chosen an old Roy Rogers comic book. Wanting an image where
Roy is off to the side, this book worked well. When I started
designing the image, I realized that I needed Roy on the right side
of my canvas, so...
...I flipped the image on my canvas. I
know, I know, now Roy becomes left handed and if he took his hat
off, the part in his hair would be on the wrong side.
Well, that's artistic license!
I've located the plastic cup on the left side
of the canvas, and will draw in my little buckaroo just to the
Here's Matthew. We told a close friend
that we were looking for a 3-4 year old boy to model in this
painting and she hooked us up with a great family. Not
only did Matthew fit this painting perfectly, his dad, Shawn,
was perfect for another painting I was designing. Matthew had
his hands full for the photo. I needed him to hold the stick
horse, hold the cup with Roy's profile visible, pretend like he
is getting a drink through the straw, and look directly into the
sun...all at the same time. He was great!
I've begun to paint in the young boy, stopping on the trail for
a sip from his idol's cup.
Here's a close-up of the young cowboy.
Matthew looks great so far.
The dark background makes the light on Matthew really 'pop'.
This painting has reached the half-way point. Time to
evaluate all the lights/darks and colors before I apply one
final layer of paint.
I've rendered Roy in his final layer of thick paint. The
wet oil pigment allows me to push the paint around and achieve
the desired blended edges.
Here is a close-up of the upper right corner of the comic book.
Do you remember the 10 cent comic book?
Back in the day of this comic book, the publisher/art director
started with a photo of Roy Rogers to be used on the cover of
the book. He then had his graphic artist/illustrator
render these cool cartoon depictions of Roy chopping wood and...
...cooking over the campfire. Notice that the artist used
the photo of Roy to copy his clothing for his art. Very
I shot a photo of this close-up of the lettering to show the
difference between the first layer of thin paint and...
...the second and final layer of paint. You can see the
rich brush strokes in this close-up.
Here is the painting up to this point. The cup, the little
cowboy and the floor are the last areas to complete.
The cup is finished.
It's always a challenge painting a face, hands and other objects
that have delicate detail. This little guy turned out great!
This photo shows the little cowboys clothing. A few dabs of
golden brown/yellow on his jeans give life to a solid blue
Someone emailed me and asked to see a close-up of my signature,
so here it is.
"Trail Break" is finished. Thanks for