We Told Him Not To Wear The Yellow Shirt
I composed this rodeo scene for a painting I was to work on as the Artist in Residence at the 2019 Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, Missouri. I got to meet a lot of people and talk to them about my thinking, process and techniques that I apply when I create a painting. On one of the days of the Fair, a mother and daughter came by and we had a conversation about this painting. I told them I didn’t have a title yet and that I had lots of decisions to make about what colors to place where and so on. During the discussion I found out that they had both participated in rodeo competitions. So, I peppered them with questions, and they offered their observations. I learned, for example, that the barrels I have under the walkway and are used for “Barrel Racing” is exclusively a women’s event at the collegiate and professional levels. I then explained that my challenge as an artist in this composition was to make the horse and thrown rider stand out for the viewer, so they are not “lost” in all the surrounding activity. I told them that I was thinking about making the shirt of the rider yellow so that he would stand out. They both gave me a funny look and said that a rider would never wear a yellow shirt since it was considered weak or cowardly and bad luck in this manly sport! The mother then said that there may, however, be a rider who “is supremely confident in himself, if you know what I mean, that would wear it to show everyone else.” “Since he is being thrown you should title your painting “We Told Him Not to Wear the Yellow Shirt.” Their comments gave me the intimate insight and meaning for the painting I was searching for and that participants in the sport would immediately understand.