See more “Peek Behind the Curtain” posts in Andi’s Attic >>
The Justin Quiz launched yesterday, so in honor of Justin, I’m sharing a fun Peek Behind the Curtain. Near the end of Price of Truth, Justin tells Andi about a birthday gift Chad has picked out for their mother’s upcoming birthday. He asks if she would like to have her name included on the card. This prompts Andi into leaping from the buggy and running back to Goodwins Mercantile to recover the music box she left there the Friday before. Not finding it, she returns to the buggy disheartened but feeling “stuck” about the birthday gift her older brothers have bought, as usual.
When Andi finds out Chad has bought their mother an oil painting of an Indian “buffalo hunt,” she can’t hardly believe it. How could her mother possibly be happy with a painting of Indians chasing buffalo around the prairie? Good question.
So, where did I come up with such a silly idea as this? Not on my own, I confess. Sometimes I see something on TV that tickles my funny bone and I think to myself, “Store that idea away to tweak and use sometime in a book.” That is what I did. You can see the one-minute scene (which actually has no relevance to the show’s story plot of a forest fire) by scrolling down. I have no idea why it’s even there except to provide some humor.
After you watch the scene, feel free to go to Price of Truth and learn how I took a general, funny idea and turned it into my own scene. You have to be careful with this kind of thing when you are writing. First of all, I used a different oil painting! I added my main character (and Rosa) to the scene, left out the other brothers, and tweaked the dialogue to fit my own story. But you will also see the similarities. This post was created in answer to the question, “How do you come up with your ideas, Mrs. M?”
Before watching the scene, however, here’s a little Blast from the Past about the real artist that Justin mentions in the story.
There really was a western painter named George Catlin, and he really did paint a “Buffalo Hunt” in the 1800s. Chad insistence that the artist’s paintings would be worth a lot of money some day turned out to be true. Mr. Catlin was born in 1796 and died in 1872, and he was a famous (well-known) painter. Chad probably paid plenty for the one painting, but he didn’t pay what it is worth today. Below are two of George Catlin’s “buffalo hunt” paintings. Depending on which of the many, many Old West paintings he created, one of these could fetch a price tag today of up to a million dollars. So, Chad was so right!
Peek Behind the Curtain
So, the original idea came from an episode called “Explosion.” I changed the artist’s name from the TV scene, and a good thing too. When I looked up Charles Russell, who was mentioned as the artist, I discovered that the TV show got it wrong historically! The Big Valley TV western is set in the 1870s, but Charles Russell did not paint his pictures until the late 1800s and into the early 1900s. Oops. Who was the fact checker on the TV set before letting this episode go into production?
For myself, I found an historically accurate western painter, George Catlin, for my story. I also researched and found one of his paintings that would have been available in 1881, “The Buffalo Hunt.”
Anyway, here is the original scene, a 1.5-minute clip. It’s funny. After watching it, if you are interested, find the scene in Price of Truth. Can you tell what I changed? What I left the same?