Martine and her dad, John Redshaw, are friends of mine. It’s generally easier to be friends with someone with whom you have a lot in common. John and I have a lot in common. He lives about a mile and a half down the road from our place, and like us he lives on a little farmstead in the big woods. We both were children in the 50s. We spent hours in front of huge, primitive, little screened and fuzzy imaged black and white televisions watching Roy Rogers, the Lone Ranger, and Hopalong Cassidy. During our teen years we spent a lot of time hunting and hiking in the wilderness. We both got Bachelors of Arts degrees, he in music, I in art. We grew to adulthood during the hippie era. We sweated out the draft during the Vietnam War. In these later years we have both participated in several Cowboy Mounted Shooter events, sometimes trailering together to an event. More often we ride around our neighborhood together on our own horses in the big woods.
I frequently ride a horse over to John’s, have a cup coffee, and visit he and Martine. Several times I’ve watched DVDs of old cowboy shows that I haven’t seen since I was Martine’s age with she and her dad. One time I was visiting when Martine was almost two. Nowadays, she can get off and on and ride that spring horse no problem, but it was a challenge for Martine then. She led me by a finger to show me how she could get on her horse. It was a big deal. She was very careful and nearly got hung up a couple of times but she managed it and with justified pride she received my praise. Once on board she needed her gun which John handed her.
As she was mounting, I had a very clear flashback of myself back in the sunroom of our old farm house in Iowa. I had a spring horse probably made out of the same mold as Martine’s spring horse only my horse was a Pinto. I remembered how scary it was to negotiate past that big spring and I was afraid I’d get pinched. As I watched Martine I thought, “Even little Martine and I have a lot in common!” She plays with her horse and gun and I play with my horse and gun. I expect that Martine will go on loving both horses and guns. Today she is a five-year-old. She is already riding her own real horse and hunting with her dad.
Martine was about four when I did these portraits as a duet, she with her horse and gun, and I with my horse and gun.