Today I want to introduce you to a good man and a good friend. His name is Mark Kirkpatrick. I first met Mark through my friend Maurice Chambers (you might remember him from a previous post). Mark grew up wanting nothing more than the freedom of the cowboy life. To hear Mark’s deep, soft-spoken voice is always a refreshing respite from the noise of the world. The highway and this crazy art lifestyle keep us apart for long spells, but real friendships can pick up easily from the last conversation.
Mark has many passions and interests. I remember when he got a hankering for a Sharps rifle and two months later, he’s toting a big 45-70 Buffalo gun everywhere he goes. He’s not a man of many guns, but heed the old sayings of Ruark, the famous African hunter, (some attribute it to Elmer Keith), “Beware the man with one gun…. Chances are he knows how to use it.” Mark certainly falls into this category. I damn sure don’t want him shooting at me!
Many shared adventures come to mind when I think of Mark. Once, we were horseback in Deep South Texas, hunting hogs with his dogs. We eased over a hilltop to discover three large boars at a feeder and decided to mount a full-on charge. The dogs took off and we followed close behind. That is, until Mark’s old mustang, Sugar, started bucking, and dumped me into a strategically placed pile of rocks.
|Born 100 Years Too Late|
I remember a cowboy trip to Willard, New Mexico. Mark had really wanted to get out of Texas for a bit and an invite from Shawn Goemmer was all we needed. Mark fit right in with the Arizona and New Mexico crews. He has a natural gift as a peacemaker, and a calming spirit. It’s one of the reasons I’ve always liked painting him. Mark and Maurice were my first cowboy subjects. Any success I’ve encountered in this career started with their inspiration and their encouragement.
Mark’s passions these days still revolve around his love of the freedom of being a cowboy, and his latest appetite for bobcats and mountain lions. All his free time is spent following the bawl of good cat dogs. Big Cats or Lions, it makes no difference. Mark, like the painting in my coffee table book so aptly describes, was born 100 years too late.