Friday, November 10, 2006

Gorbatov's Visit

We have just been graced by a visit from Russia's greatest wildlife artist, Vadim Gorbatov, "guided" by our friend Peter Reshetniak of the Raptor Education Foundation in Denver. It was a whirlwind -- we attempted to show him all of our corner of New Mexico in one- and- a- half days, plus cook two good dinners, visit the Spur etc-- but we had fun.

Vadim is well- known in Russia but not here so far, which I am slowly trying to change. Interestingly, the Soviet Union, if for all the wrong reasons, preserved classical art training long after the West seems to have abandoned it for modernism and post- modernism. Could a romantic realist like Vadim have made a living here?

Like anyone of his generation (he is 66) he has horror stories. His dissertation was delayed three times and he was repeatedly threatened by the KGB, as was his brother, because he was seen in possession of one banned "Samizdat" book.

We were able to find quail scuttling along in the dirt tracks on Lee Henderson's ranch, a Ferruginous hawk, hawk nests including the notorious metal one, herds of antelope, and the Water Canyon Peregrine eyrie, all of which he sketched.

Another high point was drinking with Lee at the Spur. We taught him how to toast with vodka shots Russian- style; Vadim sampled good tequila ("Mexicanski vodka"); Lee showed Vadim what spurs were, and other cowboy lore.

I'll put some of the "people" shots here and some art in the next post so as not to overwhelm Blogger.

A strange Central Asian- looking raised well where we saw the Ferruginous.

Libby and Vadim take pics of Peter and me. We did a lot of this..

Vadim examines a Swainson's hawk nest on the ranch. Ladron peak in the background.

Peter and Vadim taking out the girls for a hunt. Alas, no hares.

(P& V Girls--pic coming up....[Matt])

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