PAUL RASPORICH, Artist

Remembering Billy the Longhorn

Paul RasporichComment

I'm still pinching myself from an incredible day of painting yesterday. I called Ian Tyson a couple of weeks ago, and told him that I had been thinking for a long time about painting the skull of his beloved Texas Longhorn, Billy that sits among some large rocks outside of his stonehouse studio. He said that I should do just that, as Billy needed to be memorialized.  Yesterday was an unbelievably warm March day in Alberta (a Chinook, Leonardo) - so I made the trek to the T-Y Ranch. As I walked up to his studio, I could hear him practicing his guitar, and trademark ropey riffs that sound very much like the guitar players I heard in Grenada, Spain a couple of summers ago - where the Cowboy came from. I didn't bother Ian, even though his door was open, and I set up my easel to do some watercolour sketches of his beloved Billy, in preparation for a bigger painting down the road. Ian came out of his studio, healthy, happy, and grateful that Billy was going to be immortalized. The best part of the afternoon, however, was spent painting in the sunshine, drinking coffee, and listening to the legend Ian Tyson sing and play many of his greatest songs, from his open studio right behind me, on the otherwise silent high prairie. It just doesn't get any better than that.

The Stonehouse, where most of Ian's greatest songs have been written (and recorded).

The Stonehouse, where most of Ian's greatest songs have been written (and recorded).

First watercolour sketch of Billy's remains.

First watercolour sketch of Billy's remains.

Oil Painting, "Requiem for Billy," 2016

Oil Painting, "Requiem for Billy," 2016

Ian inspects the framed up Billy Series.

Ian inspects the framed up Billy Series.