Wednesday, November 3, 2010


On Tuesday, July 6, 2010, I published a posting about cowboy rock art in Trinchera Pass, Colorado. This collection of rock art was supposedly created by drovers moving herds from Texas to the gold fields of Colorado in the latter half of the 1800s. It displays many markings and symbols as well as some pictures that are almost light-hearted and humorous. There is another side to cowboy rock art, the imagery produced by men who spend a considerable amount of time alone, in isolation, and lonely. These are often female figures of the sort that we generally classify as pinups, attractive and physically appealing. There is an inescapable comparison to be made with the historic aircraft nose art of WWII, also produced by men who were in a situation that minimized contact with females, and also often included images of nude or scantily clad females.

Baca County, Colorado. Photo: Bill McGlone.

An excellent example of this type of art is the panel from Baca County, CO. Its identification as cowboy art is reinforced by the presence of the small figure of a rider on a rearing horse on the right side of the panel.

Dragon trail, South of Rangley, Rio Blanco county, Colorado.
Photo: Peter Faris.

In this case I am extending the term “cowboy art” to include that produced by sheep herders, who were in very much the same situation toward female companionship. An example of this is the delicate caped lady carved in Canyon Pintado by Paco Chacon of Fruita, Colorado, on January 9, 1975. Unfortunately since I saw it some twenty plus years ago some idiot apparently saw only sin and decadence and decided to exorcise the evil with some thirty plus gunshots as illustrated by the second photo which was taken by Cheryl Ames in 2008.

Dragon trail, South of Rangley, Rio Blanco
county, Colorado. Photo: Cheryl Ames.

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