Kitchen Art


In the surface of things is the heart of things.

Table Art


We are here in all our splendor.

Street Art


We’re here in all our splendor.

Frank X. Tolbert2


“Texas Angel goes over New Mexico” by Frank X. Tolbert2 (1974)

Boyd Elder of Valentine, Texas, RIP



Photograph @copyright David Raccuglia

Boyd being himself. He died September 6, 2018. “It never got weird enough for me.”

From Marfa Public Radio:

Legendary West Texas artist Boyd Elder has died.

His daughter, Shaula Elder, confirmed the 74-year-old’s death on Facebook Saturday night.

“The rumors are swirling about our father passing into the cosmos,” the post reads. “It breaks my heart to say it is true. He is stardust.”

The circumstances of Elder’s death are unclear at this time.

Elder — who’s known for his work on several Eagle’s album covers, including the best-selling album of all time, 1976’s Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) — lived in Valentine, Texas, where he worked on his art out of an old barn. 

“Most fine artists have their work in museums or collections,” Elder told Sterry Butcher for Texas Monthly earlier this year. “My work is in millions of households all over the world.”

Elder was born in El Paso, Texas but spent several years of his early childhood in Valentine, where his family had deep roots. His grandfather, a West Texas land and cattle baron, helped to plot the Valentine townsite in the late 1800s. But by the time Elder was in elementary school, his family moved to El Paso full time — much to his disappointment.

“I didn’t have the outdoors,” Elder told Marfa Public Radio in a 2010 interview. “I didn’t have my horses and dogs. I didn’t have my horses and dogs. I just didn’t have the landscapes and vistas that you have here.”

But even after Elder’s family moved to El Paso, they would often visit Valentine during summer vacations and holidays.

Soon, Elder’s bubbling interest in art grew from watercolors to pinstriping and painting hotrods that would blaze through the streets on El Paso nights.

“I was very much into cars and hot rods,” Elder said in 2010. “I built dragsters, I pinstriped and painted motorcycles and cars.”

While in school in El Paso, Elder pursued his interest in art, studying with several area artists. His weekends were filled with lessons at the El Paso Museum of Art. “You can teach drawing and music,” Elder said in 2010. “I don’t know if you can really teach art. It’s kind of inherent.”

Elder’s high school teachers encouraged him to apply for art school and shortly after graduating, the native Texan headed West to the Chouinard Art Institute in California to study painting and sculpture. While in school, Elder would often drive up to Sunset Boulevard and hang out at the famed Troubadour nightclub — where he met musicians, painters, and writers, like David Crosby, Jackson Browne, and Joni Mitchell.

In 1972, Elder put on a one-man show in Venice — El Chingadero. 

At the exhibition, a few of Elder’s friends played their first public show as The Eagles.

“They had six or seven songs,” Elder told Texas Monthly this year. “They played them all the way through, and when they got to the end, they played them again.”

The following year, in 1973, some of the work that Elder had displayed at El Chingadero was lost to a fire at his Valentine studio. With no local fire department to respond, the old family garage, which had become Elder’s makeshift studio, burned completely.

He was left with nothing.

But shortly after, Elder received two wild steer skulls, a bull and a cow. So he painted them — pinstriped — just like he would to the hotrods he loved as a teenager.  One of those skulls, he covered in a soft blue, adding reds and yellows, feathers and even wings.

It became the album art for the Eagles 1975 album One of These Nights.

The artist continued his work over the years and was a well-known presence in the Big Bend.


This entry was posted on KRTS News 

Joan Didion’s greatest in-depth story?


Joan Didion

Trouble in Lakewood: How a once idyllic postwar town fell under the sway of a teen-age gang.
It’s misleading to say this is about gangs. Don’t let this summary of a Joan Didion story fool you. The story is really about how most people go through life asleep as trusting clogs in the giant machine: in other words it’s about why Donald Trump is president.
Astoundingly, the story is almost thirty years old. It’s as deep and good as journalism can get: great observation, great interviewing, great sourcing, great prose, great intelligence making the invisible visible.
It took me about 1-1/2 hours to read and it pulled back another dozen veils from my clouded eyes. It takes many discrete pieces and makes so many connections its prescience chills your toes. I would love to have taught this article in a magazine writing course. I did teach her “Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream,” and it was a revelation to serious students.
Put this aside to read sometime when you’re thirsty for what great reporting and writing offers…not one word is out of place.

It’s not necessary to finish the work, but you must keep working…and playing

Ecclesiastes 12:12 King James Version

12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

Sunday is National Dog Day

If Feeling Isn’t In It


“You can take it away, as far as I’m concerned—I’d rather spend the afternoon with a nice dog. I’m not kidding. Dogs have what a lot of poems lack: excitements and responses, a sense of play, the ability to impart warmth, elation . . . . ”  –  Poet Howard Moss


Dogs will also lick your face if you let them.
Their bodies will shiver with happiness.
A simple walk in the park is just about
the height of contentment for them, followed
by a bowl of food, a bowl of water,
a place to curl up and sleep. Someone
to scratch them where they can’t reach
and smooth their foreheads and talk to them.
Dogs also have a natural dislike of mailmen
and other bringers of bad news and will
bite them on your behalf. Dogs can smell
fear and also love with perfect accuracy.
There is no use pretending with them.
Nor do they pretend. If a dog is happy
or sad or nervous or bored or ashamed
or sunk in contemplation, everybody knows it.
They make no secret of themselves.
You can even tell what they’re dreaming about
by the way their legs jerk and try to run
on the slippery ground of sleep.
Nor are they given to pretentious self-importance.
They don’t try to impress you with how serious
or sensitive they are. They just feel everything
full blast. Everything is off the charts
with them. More than once I’ve seen a dog
waiting for its owner outside a café
practically implode with worry. “Oh, God,
what if she doesn’t come back this time?
What will I do? Who will take care of me?
I loved her so much and now she’s gone
and I’m tied to a post surrounded by people
who don’t look or smell or sound like her at all.”
And when she does come, what a flurry
of commotion, what a chorus of yelping
and cooing and leaps straight up into the air!
It’s almost unbearable, this sudden
fullness after such total loss, to see
the world made whole again by a hand
on the shoulder and a voice like no other.

Daisy, on the left, and her daughter, Ashley.


Roxy in repose

Jim Harrison, novelist, poet


“… Many of us can see our ends coming as in a dream. Under a tree in a meadow, or more likely, a car in the night, balling in the bathtub when drunk, sitting in a chair at the window and the world slowly disappears to music you’ve never heard before…”

–part of a poem from Dead Man’s Float

––Harrison died on March 26, 2016, in Patagonia, Ariz, while sitting in a chair at his desk working on a poem next to a window near a running stream.

Russell Lee


Russell Lee,  San Marcos, Texas.  March, 1940