Friday, February 5, 2010

"Tooled Leather..."

...the more it is
used...the more beautiful
it becomes.
Maybe that is true of all of our talents.
Listen to this...
When we first moved to Arizona in 2004...
I attended an art exhibit at the
West Valley Art Museum in Surprise.
It was a small exhibit...lots of room to
mingle and mix.
The featured artist was the legendary Bob Brown
nicked named by Norman Rockwell
as the "Leonardo of Leather."
He made saddles and chaps and gun belts and
a whole host of
other gorgeous art pieces in leather.
Many famous movie stars commissioned his work.
Bob chatted openly with me that day...
what a delight he was.
A wide smile pierced his weathered tanned face...
his eyes were soft and kind
and knowingly they peeked into my artistic heart.
His enormous hands were gnarled
yet nimble and agile...almost graceful.
His words were humble.
He spoke like a common man...not as the "rock star"
that he truly was.
He spoke of the west as it once was...
telling stories about real cowboys
weaving in sweet anecdotes
sparkling with the fantasy of the legends and lore
of old Hollywood.
It was such a pleasurable and memorable event.
He seemed invincible.
That very day
I purchased a museum poster of Bob's work
which he graciously signed
dedicated to both Scott and I.
It became the first piece of western art
in our new home.
That print still hangs on the wall in our study...
right above my computer desk.
I look at it every day while
I await the computer to boot up.
My mind has become magically infused by his
gorgeous patterns and designs.
Today, 6 years after meeting Bob
after painting these simplistic ATC pieces
I began
the routine process of posting them
on my blog.
Then to my utter surprise
while looking for a link to Bob's work I discovered
that the 95 year old "Leonardo of Leather"
passed away in his sleep
in 2005...
a mere year, to the month, after I had spoken to him...
and he held my hands in his.
That fact sobered me like a slap in the face.
He was an American masterpiece...
a national treasure
unlike any
I thought it fitting to pay him a tribute here
on my post...
from both the artistic Muse side of me
from the emotional spiritual side
deep in my heart.
With soulful admiration I salute Bob Brown...
for he was a man who lived his life
what he loved to do.
We should all do that...and become better
because we used our talents.

A most interesting bio of Bob Brown
a listing of some of his more famous works
can be found here.
It is well worth every second of reading.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

I have always loved those leather works. I am sure Bob is smiling widely at your beautiful tribute to him.

Teri C said...

What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful person! Thank you for sharing this.

bubblemunch said...

It is indeed a lovely tribute. I've never seen his work. Your depictions of design in leather work are beautiful.

soulbrush said...

what a touching post, it is so true that some people affect is so deeply whereas others just pass us like ships in the night. and what beautiful stuff he does too.95? what an incredible age!

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Lovely art and very heartfelt lifestory to go with it...thanks for the link to learn more about him. I had horses when growing up and loved the tooled saddles, too.

Lynn said...

I am deeply moved by your story.
at first I thought you were going to say you met this man and fell in love with him (I didn't know about Scott I guess, sorry Scott)...then I realized you did fall in love with him and his art, and that he was an older gentleman, quite easy to fall in love with, as I did too as you continued to talk about him.
This is a beautiful tribute to such a wonderful artistic human being. Wish I had known him, glad I got to know him through you. Thank you for sharing him with us.

Molossus said...

An artist appreciates nothing more than someone who enjoys their work. I'm sure you made his day during your visit. You've made him a wonderful tribute.

studio lolo said...

Oh my, what a beautiful post. I'm sure he knew when he held your hand that somehow he made an imprint on your heart just by the gleam in your eyes ;)

I not only love your art (and your heart) but I always enjoy your writing.


john.p said...

That's a lovely way to memorialize him. He is a new name to me, so you ARE spreading the word of who he was and what he did.

andrea joseph's sketchblog said...

This is gorgeous, Margaret.