Pine" (above) is a pure bred Red Angus bull
from the Meyer Company Ranch. This animal helped
establish the beginning of the ranch progeny and
also helped me begin this painting. Unlike most
of my paintings, I couldn't show the step-by-step
of this image in real time because it was a
surprise birthday gift for the ranch owner, Bob
Meyer, from his wife and ranch owner, Britt
Meyer. After interviewing Britt, and reading a
number of articles on Bob, it became apparent
that Bob Meyer was, and is, clearly ahead of the
times on a number of levels. His animal handling
protocol, raising cattle in a holistic
environment with humane treatment, proper
nutrition and loving care is at the top of
industry standards and unparalled. I wanted to
show Bob's unique approach to life on the ranch
and life in general.
decided to take the silhouette of "Cherokee
Pine" and the Meyer logo and design a unique
wallpaper for my painting
Ahead Of The Times".
I started by building a two-walled stage for my
image. I positioned the bull image and the logo
on the walls, leaving a space on the upper left
side for a window.
Representing the 'Times' in the painting's title,
clocks were hung on both walls. I have a very
cool cowboy clock (representing the ranch), a
chef clock (representing Meyer foods) and other
clocks to complement the arrangement. The clocks
have all been set for 2:07 p.m. to represent
Bob's birthday, February 7. I'll take this prop
display outside to get some sun on it and try to
get some dramatic lighting.
With the display outside, I rotate it until I get
the lighting I need.
Britt filled me in on some authors that Bob
likes, so I made some book jackets and arranged
the books. Note the book on the top of the stack.
It's Humane Livestock Handling by Temple
Grandin. Temple Grandin is an American doctor of
animal science and professor at Colorado State
University, bestselling author, and consultant to
the livestock industry on animal behavior. Her
protocol for the humane treatment of livestock
was the model for the Meyer ranch.
Here is my initial sketch, showing the placement
of all the objects. The horse and rider sit atop
a stack of books, some representing the Old West
and the beauty of the early times in our Western
history. The cowboy keeps watch over his herd of
cattle, and in my painting he is not only the
head of this herd of cattle, but also the herd
(group) of clocks. He's ahead of the times.
Outside the window is a view of the Montana
ranch, with the cattle grazing in the pasture.
I needed a cowboy and rider in just the right
angle of sunlight, so I took this photo of a toy
horse of mine and sent it to Lennie Phillips.
Lennie, and her husband Jim, live on the ranch
and are the ranch managers. Fortunately for me,
Lennie is a professional photographer, and able
to photograph just what I need for the painting.
Here is the link to her website:
I chose this photo of Bill, the ranch cowboss.
After sending this photo of some toy cows to
she took some great close-up photos of cattle
around the ranch.
This photo will be used for the view out the
window. It is from the area above Bob and Britt's
house on the ranch.
I stretched a 36 3/4" x 50" linen
canvas and started off the painting by working on
the wallpaper design.
In this photo, the bulls and 'M' logo look like
they are floating on the canvas.
Next, I painted the background color of the
wallpaper, both the darker brown color in the
the lighter hue on the sunlit wall.
The biggest hurdle in this painting will be the
eight clocks. Normally, only one clock would
appear in some of my paintings. The detail,
perspective and lighting on these clocks will
take a great deal of time and patience. I'll
begin at the top of the canvas and work my way
down. Each clock will be tackled similarly, with
the numbers and hands going in first.
Then the face of the clock, with all its light
Finally, the case of the clock and its electrical
The 'Cherry Clock' is next.
I've tackled the porcelain body of the clock.
And finally, the face and electrical cord.
Each clock was painted with turpentine thinned
oil, still leaving me room to tweak the color and
detail when the final coat of paint is applied.
This is a very cool mid century style kitchen
clock. The numbers are part of the plastic body,
raised up about an eighth of an inch from the
The 'Chef Clock' was made by the Sessions
company, maker of many kitchen clocks. I've
completed the numbers and hands and have begun
the body of the chef.
The completed chef. You can see the brush strokes
on the wall, looking almost like a bad paint job.
This is characteristic of what the first passage
of paint looks like with its thinned down
The first stage of this great clock is done.
The 'Cowboy and Cowgirl Clock' is a real special
timepiece. Many years ago I was bidding on eBay
for this porcelain beauty and failed to win the
auction because the price never reached the
minimum reserve. Our son, Brady, seeing my
disappointment (and being well versed in computer
skills), contacted the seller and purchased it
for me as a surprise.
After the clock face, I rendered their faces.
After a few days, it took on that 3-dimensional
effect that strong light and shadow create.
Here's how it looks so far. The three clocks on
the ground will be next.
Rendering the face begins...
... and ends. I like the yellowish cast from the
clear plastic cover on the face.
The rich deep red of this art deco clock reflects
the wall on its top surface.
Here's proof that I don't hire elves to do my
work. I've begun to paint the face of the metal
Step one and...
...step two and ...
...step three. You can bet this alarm clock would
wake you up in the morning!
Today, I'm underpainting the areas of the grass,
both under the horse and the three cattle.
I've also painted in the cast shadows from the
cattle and the stack of books.
Which brings me to the stack of books. Each one
has a distictive type style and coloring.
This arrangement of books creates an elevated
platform, not unlike a high piece of ground for
the cowboy to watch over his herd.
The three cattle are roughed into place and...
...everything on the interior is painted but the
horse and rider.
In order for me to know how dark to paint the
cowboy and his horse, I'll render the scene
outside the window.
All the grass area is put in first.
Then the sky. I decided on a dramatic cloud
The cattle are the last detail.
There is a lot of detail on the cowboy and his
horse, so I will break it up into two parts.
First the man and...
...then the horse.
"He's Ahead Of The Times" is half way
done. I have included many objects in this
painting, all necessary in telling the story of
this amazing man.
point on, I will be applying the final coat of
paint on each surface of the painting. The
pigment will be straight from the tubes without
any thinning, making the final image very rich.
Each clock will require the mixing of many subtle
hues, and a steady hand holding the double-aught
Love those cut out numbers!
The chef is ready to cook some steaks!
A simple looking clock, but the raised letters
and the protruding clear plastic face cover were
very time consuming. I think the final result
These two are finished. What a beautiful clock!
I'm just finishing up the alarm clock and...
...here it is!
The last of the eight clocks is finished. I had
hoped to be finished with this painting by this
point, but underestimated the time involved in
rendering so many detailed objects.
with the clocks finished, I've moved to the
walls, painting the wallpaper and all the light
and shadow areas.
Here's how it looks so far.
The books took about a week for me to finish, and
the final result is wonderful.
Another underestimation on my part was the horse
and rider. Not being familiar with horse tack, I
studied the detailed photo supplied by Lennie
Phillips, and stayed true to all the gear.
The exterior view out the window is complete
Ahead Of The Times" is done.