The Western Art of Virgil C. Stephens, pencil drawings, western art, wildlife art, cowgirl drawings

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Howdy Kids! 

Figured it’s about time to up-dated my newsletter.... first off we are proud to announce the birth of my TWIN granddaughters, Makenzie and Madison, born to Stephani and Matt, our son and daughter in law on April 4th, 2018. They are so NOT identical it’s mind boggling.  Totally different from each other; Maddy is very loud squeaky toy referred to as Mariah Carey, and Makenzie never gives up a meal. They were almost 3 pounds different when born and one is a blonde, and one is a brunette. Their mama says that people think she is pulling their leg when she says they are twins.  Having three kids under 3 is a challenge as we remind our son Matt that we had 4 in a row as well as did his sister Trenna and her husband, Aaron.  We made the trip out to Mansfield, Texas just after they were born to hold and goo- goo all over them. Their brother Graden had to get used to not being “numero uno” for the first time in 3 years. That took him a while to get used to. We got to see them again eight months later, this past Christmas, when the whole family came here for the holiday season.  Sixteen people here at the ranch all at the same time! Thank God for teenagers and travel trailers!  The grandsons slept out in the camper enabling the rest of us to bed down in the house on floors and couches, oh and a few beds for the lucky ones.  It was like wedding day at the asylum.  In addition to that, there was a total of 30 INCHES OF SNOW the day they all arrived and it was 9 degrees! Not everyone in the family has 4-wheel drive, so with the help of Aaron, my son-in-law, who has the only truck that could plow through that much snow, we were able to make a few trips to tote the rest of the family up to the house from the highway.  Have you ever put 4 teens, 4 adults, twin 8 month olds, a 3 year old, and 3 large dogs into a pick-up truck?  They looked like modern day Beverly Hillbillies coming up the road, but we were sure glad to see them. The trips for both Aaron and Trenna and family, and Matt and Stephanie and family were several hours delayed due to the massive amount of snow.  The dirt road is 2 ½ miles up hill all the way, and of course, there were neighbors all along the road who had slid off into the ditch and, of course, it is our Godly duty to get them out.  We were all so twitter-pated about that truck of his that I am making a set of 4 tire chains for him out of some old dually chains off of a semi-truck and trailer rig that have been laying around the ranch here for decades. He will be able to climb a tree when I get done with them!!  The only reason I haven’t made some for me is because I CAN’T EVEN PUT CHAINS ON MY ‘O5 F-150!! Can you believe that? F%&$#!@ FORD!! Those Ford engineers and designers are, obviously city boys, and need to spend some quality time getting down and dirty with hunters, farmers and ranchers and such. I can’t even put a finger between the tire and the brake cylinder!  They don’t have a clue!! (Now, I have always been a Chevy man…. but I got talked into buying a Ford the last time ………I’m jus’ sayin’……….).

As a lot of ya’ll know, my wife Emily likes to can fruits and veggies that she picks up in Michigan from the local farmers there. This year, however, she tried her hand at putting up Salmon, Northern Pike, and Bass that we caught and boy, let me tell you, as a result, we are grazing all winter long on some good grunts here at the Notevena Ranch.  Along with all of that, AND her ho-made salsa, I am as happy as a puppy with a full belly and two tails! She got a fancy dehydrator for Christmas from the kids, and has already decided to add dehydrated strawberries and blueberries to the list for next summer’s project.  Mmmmmmmmmm……………!

As most of you know, this is a hunting and fishing family.  I grew up on venison and raised my family the same way, and they have continued the tradition.  Granny and I are proud to show off photos of our grandkids 2018 fishing trips at the lake house, and hunts here at the ranch in N.M.  Our granddaughter Aurora (AKA the ‘Pook’) caught her first Northern Pike this summer.  It wasn’t a monster but she’s only 11 years old, so a 27 incher was a pretty good score! Our 14 year old grandson Devin got drawn for his first Bull Elk and first Mule Deer this year, which, in of itself, is pretty hard to do. Everybody in the family despised him for a while, because some of us have been waiting DECADES to pull that a Bull tag! But, you know how it is; you want your kids and grandkids to experience the joy you’ve had, and so we hunkered down and got to work on helping them fill their tags. Every morning, granny and I sit outside in the mornings with our cups of Joe, and glass the mountain, spotting game for the upcoming hunts.   As a result, both Devin and his brother Kaeden were successful on all fronts.  Kaeden, a year younger than the Devin, harvested a large cow elk, (lots of meat) which was the second one he has taken. Devin was the overall lucky one this year. Opening morning, he took this beautiful 6x6 bull that granny had just spotted for him, and he put him down on a 486 yard shot!!  He’s 14 years old!! We never expected him to top that, but sure enough, opening day of his deer hunt, he took his magnificent 13 point muley with one shot at 498 yards…. WHAT!!!!  It was his FIRST DEER!  Of course he has been hunting since he could hold a BB gun.   He has taken 4 cow elk, first one when he was 9 years old, one shot.  Needless to say, we are very proud grandparents!

Emily said that ya’ll might be interested in some of my hobbies when I’m not making art.  Being raised on ranches, miles from civilization, one learns to become pretty self-reliant on ones abilities to build and repair things. Some things require carpenter skills and some things are made out of steel, and therefore, you need to become familiar with welding techniques, big and small.   Our family likes home-made stuff and since I have learned to make knives out of old cross-cut saws and deer antler, Em suggested I make a steak knife set for my daughter JiJi and her husband Mark.   A photo at right shows the finished product.  I’m pretty proud of them as I get better each time I make one. 

Our family is HUGE on Christmas presents. We all put in time and effort throughout the year to make sure everybody has a great one.  A couple years ago I was trying to come up with some good stocking stuffers for my bride.  I saw these tiny easels at the Wal-Mart and got an idea.  I drew a portrait of her lap dog, Paco, on a small canvas, and a portrait of my 1 year old grandson, Graden for my daughter-in-law, Stephani.  When they pulled them out of their stockings, they freaked out!  Em said I need to do more of these little boogers and that’s how my Mini’s became a part of my collection on the website.  She reminded me that we have tons of customers out there that would love to own an “original” and this gives them the opportunity to do that.  I am trying to cover all the bases by doing different subject matter, in color and black and white…. What do ya’ll think?  I only do two shows a year now, and both are in my hometown here in Ruidoso, NM.  The “Vines in the Pines” is a new show added 2 years ago and is always on Valentines weekend.  All of the wineries, breweries, and distilleries, here in Lincoln County and the rest of the state of NM set up at the convention center offering samples and sales of their ferments. I am set up there, also, offering sales, (no samples), for those that want to imbibe in art.  It’s a great show, a gathering of the local towns’ people and tourists hanging out at my booth for two days. The dates this year are; Ruidoso Convention Center February 16-17th.   I have those dates on my show schedule page.  As always, I am continually producing new artwork…(artist never retire). These new pieces can be seen on my “originals” page of the website.   I am also adding prints to my site, which are under either western prints, wildlife prints, or cowgirl art.  If you don’t see something you’re yearning for, by all means, email me as I am always willing to do something new that I have not done before.  If it is something personal that you want done, like family or pet portraits, I still do commissions.

Well, enough of my hot hair, I hope you enjoyed the newsletter and the new artwork.  Virgil




February 8, 2019

Madison Stephens with Aunt Trenna

 Makenzie Stephens

Arrival of the Stephens and Gilberts
Christmas 2018 "30 incher" snow storm in one day

Graden & Fisher catching up on some much needed zzzzzzz's

Jiji and Mark with their new knife set, and Uncle Daze looks on...

My daughters knife set that I made

Mules enjoying the snow, not so much for the cars

Devin's first bull elk (6x6)

Devin with his bull mounted up on Big Red for the trip home

Devin and his dad Aaron with Devins monster buck (13 points!!)

Kaedens 2nd cow elk!

Pooks Northern Pike!

Aarons big day on Lake Michigan

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