Gale F. Trapp, 2009
Acrylic on hardboard 24×36″
Is this painting about a good man gone bad? Is this a man contemplating his first lawless actions?
Is the whiskey a morale builder or fortification before a ruthless act? Are the saddlebags for carrying personal effects? Or, for carrying loot from a planned hold up?
The proximity of the rifle indicates a close friend whose bite is lethal. The waist gun provides added protection… but from what?
The setting is a saloon, maybe for a clandestine meeting with those in the background – playing one last hand of Fargo.
The Hurricane Lamp banishes shadows to the far corners of the saloon where darkness covers the covert actions of co-conspirators or – friends.
The Spittoon is a reminder of the careless nature of the men who haunt the premises.
The bar is an attempt at refinement, where refinement is not wanted.
So, what do you think? Is this a good man gone bad?
Every cowboy was a dandy at heart. He wanted to look his best after a hard week at the line camp, branding calves and busting broncos. Shedding a week’s worth of grime, sweat and dirt wasn’t easy, which made a Saturday night bath not just an indulgence, but a necessity.
Of course, bathtubs were a luxury; hot water unnecessary. A real man needed only a hole in the nearby creek. The cowboy’s grizzled expression testifies to the temperature of the water.
His pale complexion bears witness to the complete cover-up of his body during the week past. Cowboys don’t suntan.
The only thing that does not come off is the hat. It is too precious to leave lying around. However, his draws surrender to a weekly cleaning as well, and are nearly as white as his complexion.
Horse and dog keep patient watch while the transformation takes place. Saturday night revels can’t be missed.
Saturday Night at Rock Creek
About the painting
Gale F. Trapp, 2012
Acrylic on hardboard, 10×24″.
Available for sale