All three of these paintings were painted by a technique of freehand airbrush using hand-held stencils.

ouray miners


"The Ouray Miners Invade Telluride"

1985, 48”x48”
Acrylic on Linen


In 1901 and in 1903 miner's at Telluride's Smuggler mine struck for more equitable pay. There was a gunfight at the onset of the first strike which took four lives. The aggressive resistance of management to union organizers led to numerous violations of civil rights. A sympathetic Governor Peabody even built a stone shelter on Imogene Pass so militia could oppose invading organizers. Recently I have been told by a descendant of a miner that the invasion of the Ouray miners, recounted in my paragraph below, is simply not true. I was impressed by the miners' durability and energy and believed the books I read. What follows is the tale behind the image I painted.

Union miners from Ouray sought to organize the miners in Telluride. During the strike at the Smuggler mine, Ouray miners would get off work, fill their packs with sticks of Hercules dynamite, climb thirteen thousand foot Imogene pass in the dark, descend into the Tomboy basin, and proceed on over to the Smuggler. There they would fling dynamite at the management men protecting the mine. Then they would return over the pass, go to bed and rest up for another day of brutal and dangerous work underneath the ragged peaks of the San Miguel range. Governor Peabody called out the militia and built a small stone building above the pass. The miners then had to run across the barren pass under gunfire. The remains of Fort Peabody still stand.



harry orchard




"Harry Orchard Blows Up The Independence Colorado Train Depot"

1986, 48”x48”
Acrylic on Linen

(This painting is missing. It was lost or stolen in New York City in 1988, while in transit from the DiLaurenti Gallery in Soho to storage. Please let me know if you see it.)

In 1904 mild-mannered western-mining terrorist Harry Orchard took his explosive career further when he undertook Big Bill Heywood's mandate to shake up the second Cripple Creek labor strike. Many people died when he blew up the depot. The act did not polarize the miners and strengthen the strike as intended. In fact it demoralized the strike. Harry was never caught for this act. He was finally arrested for killing a governor in Idaho, tried, defended by Clarence Darrow in a nationally noted trial. He went to prison and became a very good gardener.


Link to an article
about this painting in e-Vision Magazine at James Madison University

virginia city



"The Sports Fight It Out With The Respectables While Virginia City Burns"

1987, 48”x48”
Acrylic on Linen


In the Comstock Lode mining town of Virginia City, Nevada, fire protection was handled by clubs of merchants and businessmen. In 1863 there was a fire in a carpenter’s shop which drew the attention of two such clubs simultaneously. The Engine Company No. 1 & Hook and Ladder Company was composed of members of the “sporting” community, who lived off brothels and other related business. The Young America Engine Company #2 was made up of local shop owners. Their mutual disdain led to a heated fist fight for the privilege of putting out the fire. One man was killed and a quarter of this city of mostly wooden buildings burned to the ground.