Sturgis Rally Celebrates Its 80th
I’m sure we can all agree that 2020 has been a very strange year. It was upsetting for us and many others, when the world shut down and worrisome for small towns like ours when we were unsure if we’d be open for summer. Businesses in The Black Hills have anxiously been waiting for the big 80th Sturgis Rally to come because the large crowds help get us through our slow and cold winters.
Scott has had this painting concept for YEARS and chose to complete it for a big anniversary year like this year. He was forced to hit pause on the project until we heard whether or not there would be a Rally at all… It wasn’t until June that the Sturgis board met and voted for Sturgis 2020 to occur.
When Alexa and I were little, we didn’t see our dad a lot because he was traveling around the world promoting his art career. It’s all we knew, but it didn’t make it any easier saying goodbye to him at the airport.
“When my daughters, Olivia and Alexa were young, all they knew was their father leaving every couple of weeks to travel somewhere in the world for work. I don’t know whose idea it was, but one of them came up with the idea to leave notes in my suitcase, toiletry bag or in the pockets of a coat. When I would arrive at my destination, it was a pretty amazing experience to open up my toiletry bag and see a Snickers bar with a note from my daughter saying ‘I miss you, love you!’
I would also leave each of them a kiss on their hands for each night I was away. Olivia was a lefty so I did it on her left hand and Alexa was a righty so I kissed her right hand and they did the same on mine. They had strict instructions to take one kiss from the palm of their hand when they went to bed because I would be doing the same when I went to bed too.”
Determining The Who
When my dad first told me about his idea and his desire to find a cute little girl, I instantly thought of my friend, Melissa and her eight-year-old daughter, Hudsynn.
“I know the cutest little girl! She would be PERFECT!” I exclaimed.
I reached out to Melissa and mentioned the idea of using Hudsynn in one of my dad’s paintings. She seemed enthusiastic about meeting Scott to see what he thought of her personality.
The meeting must’ve gone really well because my dad couldn’t stop talking about how charismatic and adorable little Hudsynn was. He was even more excited about the painting now that he had the perfect model.
Determining The Where
In the winter, Scott, Alexa and I started scouting for locations in search of an old shed to use as the backdrop – similar to the one in “Caught in a Daydream“.
I reached out to a few friends that I figured would know a cool location and sure enough, I was put in touch with a ranch manager who took us on a tour of their thousand plus-acre properties.
We pulled into the second location and instantly fell in love! It’s a historic ranch with a stone house and a few barns tucked away in a beautiful meadow. The horse barn sits near a spring house which the homesteaders used to keep milk cool before hauling it up to Deadwood to sell to the Gold Rush crowd.
As the months passed and the temperatures started to rise, Scott visited the location one more time to make sure he still loved it and to project where the sun would be. From there, we coordinated with Melissa and Black Hills Harley-Davidson to bring their 1937 Knucklehead.
The Photo Shoot
On the day of the shoot, temperatures were in the mid 90s with no rain in the forecast – yay! The motorcycle arrived the same time Hudsynn and her mom did. We got the old barn doors open and started setting up the motorcycle while Scott explained to Hudsynn what he was hoping to get from her in the shoot. We tried different angles, facial expressions, as well as love letters to take advantage of everything being here at the same time.
After a couple hours, we felt confident we got what we needed so we said goodbye and thank you to Hudsynn and Melissa, then made our way back to Deadwood to go through the hundreds of photos. Somehow during the shoot, Scott managed to buy the Knucklehead, so we ended up parking this beauty in the gallery where it will be admired by many visitors.
Once we found our favorite image of Hudsynn and the motorcycle, we had to find a model for the dad. I set up the correct angle to shoot from and grabbed my dad to use as the model. After a few shots, I told him bluntly he had Old Man Butt and that we needed a younger guy! 😛
I called Jacobs Brewhouse and asked our fit bartender, Brandon if he’d be interested. He came over a couple minutes later, ready and willing to model his hind end. Once captured, we sent the photos to Danial James who photoshopped Brandon and a work bench with tools into the background so Scott had an accurate photo to reference.
When he finished blocking in, the painting really started coming to life! It also started to make Scott emotional as he was reminded of the hidden letters he’d find while traveling.
“They were what helped me get through my time on the road” he remembered fondly. “This painting means a lot to me and I’m sure it will mean a lot to parents that have to travel away from their families.”
There were plenty of difficulties throughout the painting – one of them being the intricate parts of the engine. Luckily, because my dad impulsively purchased the bike, he was able to examine questionable areas any time he wanted!
The final piece of the painting was Hudsynn’s face and I have heard for years about how difficult faces are, especially when they’re this small in size. To achieve the desired accuracy, Scott blew up a photo of her face to have next to him while he worked. He also traced her features in Sharpie on a clear plastic sheet to make sure he wasn’t losing her features once he covered the pencil lines in paint.
Now that a personal memory like this has been painted, I know how impactful our notes were to him while he was on the road. Even though the notes were probably a quick thing to do, the importance of receiving that unconditional love without asking meant more than I can ever understand.
I’d like to thank everyone that made this beautiful painting possible.
Black Hills Harley-Davidson for lending then selling their motorcycle, Melissa and Hudsynn for spending hours with us as we shot, Frawley Ranch for allowing us to use their facilities, Danial James for helping us achieve the desired background, our fans for supporting us through this hard year, and my dad for believing in my photography and blogging skills to share with you his story.
We are eternally grateful.
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