Traversing a flooded river during a rainstorm brings with it many risks and few rewards. Therein lies the drama of G. Harvey’s Boot Top Crossing, showing a pair of cowboys in yellow slickers riding through boot-high water pulling a pair of packhorses. The Texas artist painted the rain slicing downward at a slight angle, with droplets splashing off the riders’ waterlogged hats. Harvey’s grandfather was a trail boss at just 18 years old, so he grew up hearing stories of cattle drives, blistering summers, numbing winters and dangerous river crossings. The painting resembles Boot-Top Deep from 1982, which depicts an even more perilous crossing amid churning rapids and a torrential downpour. Boot Top Crossing, on the other hand, shows the resolve of the subjects—the looks on their faces suggest they already have the river beaten.
“These modern cowboys are part of a tradition and way of life. They confront the same weather, stubborn cattle, ranch jobs, loneliness and fears as their great-grandfathers. G. Harvey thinks of them as living legends standing proud against the enticements of modern comforts,” Randy Best writes in G. Harvey: The Golden Era — The American Dream. “He has listened endlessly to the stories of cowboys breaking ice on water troughs before dawn and of digging new ponds to catch the shower of reluctant clouds, always mindful and protective of the year’s profit grazing beside their mothers.”
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Please note that the first unframed photo is most accurate for color. Framed photographs are to show the frame and are not color corrected to the painting.
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