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These Boots Are Made for Stompin’

March 7, 2013

A grayscale painting of the profile of a cowboy boot.
© 2013, Dana Aubrey

This painting is the first thing I thought of when I heard about Stompin’ Tom Connors passing yesterday. I was compelled to dig it out of storage for nostalgia’s sake. Seeing it again has opened a floodgate of memories about old friends and good times that will forever be branded on my heart.

I lived out west in the late 1980’s. Time spent in two-stepping country would not have been complete without my favorite pair of cowboy boots – a mainstay of my wardrobe back then. They are long since gone but suddenly I’m grateful to have immortalized them in this painting, reminding me of a time and place that I spent 1/3 of my life. Back then, Tom Connors was the poster boy for kicking up dust about Canada’s small-town stereotypes, making him a hero all across our land. As I walked the western landscape his music was a big part of the soundscape. His style interested me most, being that of the quintessential rebel; a black hat, black shirt, faded blue jeans, and pointy toed cowboy boots. I supposed I tried to emulate his ‘cool dude’ vibe with my own pair of shit-kickers. But I was never as cool as that guy was.

Tom Connors was Canada’s Johnny Cash or Hollywood’s John Wayne. CBC wrote a great article about him, in it singer k.d. lang described him best: “Stompin’ Tom was dedicated to documenting life in Canada in a way that was unapologetic, uncontrived and uncompromisingly Canadian. We owe him our pride and respect.”

Rest in peace Stompin’ Tom Conners.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2013 9:41 am

    Sorry about your loss. The painting is breathtaking!

  2. March 8, 2013 10:12 am

    Hi Kaylas, thank you for your generous compliment. It led me to your blog – very nice, especially your treatment of light. Happy drawing!! 🙂

  3. March 11, 2013 9:35 am

    Awesome painting, I’m so jealous. I got so sad when I heard Chavez had died. Larger-than-life men dying all over the place, these days. What will we have left? The Biebers of this world?

    • March 12, 2013 11:45 am

      So pleased as always to receive a compliment from you. Cheers. This was done long ago; I have no idea if I could paint it today. Before design, I originally majored in painting until I came to the sad realization that making a living from it would be extremely difficult. To borrow a line from Finding Nemo; “fish gotta swim, birds gotta eat.”

      • March 12, 2013 8:50 pm

        Wish I’d studied painting when I was university-age, before my own cloddish, self-taught illustrative style became a habit that I am fighting so hard, now, to break.
        I make a lousy living, though I’ve got a pretty good life. 🙂 As for studying art, my brother’s the hardcore painter in my family, and he averages 800,000 a year, so I can’t use that as an excuse.
        Don’t you miss it? Painting, I mean. This painting’s definitely got ‘it’ (though I am still grappling with what ‘it’ comprises) ❤

      • March 13, 2013 3:44 pm

        I can’t remember where this idea came from but shortly after graduation, I heard, read, or was told (??) that the first thing I should do is to forget about everything I had just learned. As the years rolled out in front of me I began to understand what this meant. It’s almost as if we ‘seeker types’ need to perform a metaphorical lobotomy to the right side of our brain in order to make room for new growth. The fact that you didn’t study painting in a past life is probably more of a blessing then a curse; it means you have that much less to un-learn. Besides if we aren’t struggling with our chosen mediums, then we probably aren’t learning anything new. Your work is beautiful… grapple on.

        Do I miss painting? Definitely! Returning to it is on my bucket list. For now though I’m being chased by other demons…such as learning to un-learn drawing. 😉

        Now I’m off to continue poking my eyeballs out (re: our shisha embroidery comment thread). Aha ha.

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