What History Taught Me
- Written by Mike Scovel
- Published October 06, 2010
I fell in love with the West when I first heard Gabby Hayes sing “Snag-Tooth Sal.”
When it comes to Western Art I am inspired by small historic towns. Ritzville Hide Chasers is one of my favorites so far out of my “Historic Downtown” series. I did three paintings for the little town in Washington State before I ever went there. The folks there are awesome. You may go there a stranger, but you definitely leave feeling like family.
I knew I’d be good once I got over my fear of synthetic brushes.
Wish I had a dollar for every time my artwork made someone laugh.
My biggest influence has been hands down, my wife Dusti—maybe not my first influence but definitely the biggest. Besides being my soul mate, she’s also my manager, PR person, mother to a herd of kids and the CEO of a medical clinic here in New Mexico.
Being right across from Billy the Kid’s grave has given me a whole different outlook on landscaping.
I love this part of New Mexico because of the climate, the people, the sunsets and the cloud formations.
Nobody told me I couldn’t whistle while I work.
The good Lord and Wilson Hurley are the only two entities who truly know what they’re doing with clouds . . . the rest of us artists just pretend to know.
I really dislike art that isn’t.
The worst part about being an artist is the retirement plan.
The best part of being an artist is that I don’t have to retire.
As company artist in Vietnam, I not only created and painted the drunk chicken on the front of our helicopters, I also designed our company patch (A. Co. 227th, AHB, 1st Cav.), and it had a fighting rooster on it. My day job was helicopter mechanic. Our unit just had its first reunion since Vietnam last November in Branson, Missouri, so I designed a couple of new chickens for that, one of which Leanin’ Tree Greetings published this year. Our call sign was Chickenman.
Sometimes at night I can feel, and sometimes in the morning I can too.
The old gal in the photo is one of my favorite paintings of my Mom. She posed several times for me before she passed away in 2001. She was my first real art dealer. She sold quite a few of my paintings to folks she worked with in Houston when I first started out. The guy behind me is a good friend who ran a store next to my gallery in Nashville, Indiana, and the cowboy with the sign is just another one of those characters who seems to come from who knows where in my mind.
My mother always told me that I was a frustrated Gypsy with a brush who needed to paint the world.
The bunch that congregates at Cowboy Cartoonists International in Vegas every December is best described as...crazy, funny, unstable and the best of the best Western cartoonists ever gathered from North America.
Show me an open highway, and I’m probably in a U-Haul, looking for a new adventure and new faces to paint.
Mike Scovel, “Doodler”
Mike Scovel is a self-taught, professional “doodler,” as he puts it. For more than 30 years, this fine art cartoonist has drawn portraits of feisty ladies and crusty cowboys; his current project for his Y-ME Ranch Enterprises is portraying renditions of life in historic towns in his “Historic Downtown” series. In 1978, Leanin’ Tree Greetings began publishing Scovel’s paintings as part of the company’s Western greeting card line. His artwork is included in museum collections across the West, while some of his sculptures are public installations. The Idaho native now lives in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.