This is the second print in the “Remembering Series”.
There are examples of the Appalachian people in popular media representations. Many of these are stereotypical, either romantic, bucolic, pastoral or nasty, brutish, and violent, but none historically accurate or realistic. I chose, due to much research and investigation of my own people and cultural background, to faithfully depict a true mountain man. I used the props; guns and dog, the costume; hat, shirt, pants, shoes that are true to the period in time selected. The guns, and clothing had been faithfully and carefully preserved for almost 150 years by a family whose ancestors were one of the first permanent settlers in what was to become Pike County, Kentucky. The model who posed was chosen from this particular family and also being still small in stature (compared to today’s typical man in his 20’s) the clothes fit his figure. Therefore when completely dressed and outfitted he appears as a man would have who hunted, fished, gathered herbs and provided for his family from the mountain forests of the day.
I chose to pose my model on an outcrop of rock (that no longer exists) on the side of the mountain in the “Gorge of the Breaks of the Sandy” where the viewer is looking east into Virginia. The Breaks Interstate Park; a joint venture between the states of Kentucky and Virginia; lies at the farthest eastern tip of Kentucky and the far western edge of Virginia in a geologically unique area. The “Breaks” is called the Grand Canyon of the South and the Gorge is the result of a geological fault of upthrust limestone and sandstone that has been eroded away by the action of the Russell Fork of the Big Sandy River. With Mountains, Man, and Dog the painting looks into the true world of the Appalachian Mountain Man. Neither romantic or rustic but true to the determined and hard working peoples who chose to make their living and raise their families in the rugged, beautiful mountains of the Cumberland Highlands.