The Art Of Virgil C. Stephens Western Artist

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Howdy Folks!

 Well, it's time again to update the news page!  This year was an awesome year for us as a family. 

In May we took another road trip to Colorado Springs, to spend some time with some good friends up there and dang if it didn't snow 10 inches the day we arrived!  We were thinking maybe we were jinxed but realized that it was a blessing, as the photos we took for me to use in my art work were perfect for winter scenes as a setting for my elk and deer drawings and paintings…speaking of which, this year we were blessed to draw out for deer and elk tags. I drew a bull elk tag; the first one in 17 YEARS!!!...and I bagged a good 6x6; Em got a nice 6 point buck, and I got a big 8 point. ( Em and my son-in-law, Aaron, also got their turkeys!) More bout that later.  

In June my wife and her brother headed to Michigan a bit early to address some septic issues at our lake house.  We wanted to get that done before the family showed up :) however as we all know the regulations regarding such things are sometimes tricky, and needless to say, a little bitty repair job is now a major undertaking, (and expense), which is still going on.  My daughter and kids and I came in mid-June, and then the rest of her family joined us as well as my son Matt and his wife Steph, and baby Graden now being the youngest family member to ever visit the lake house, came as well.  It was a pretty crazy 10 days with all of that action there at one time, but we had a great time with perfect weather, lots of fishing, eating, and S’mores-loaded campfires.  We celebrated two fake birthdays as we always do, which has also become a tradition, since we can't be with Aurora (the Pook) and now Graden (the little man). Both of their birthdays are in late summer and both of their moms are school teachers so we started the tradition some years ago and now it's expected! 
After the family left in late July, Em and I spent several days on the river, kayaking, (and beer-ing), the Pere Marquette river.  We also took a road trip up to the U.P. this year to visit good friends and do some MORE fishing, with Bill and Cheryl, who have a lake house on the Big Lake Manistique.  Em had her first “Pastie”, which is a common staple up there, and now Em is an expert on the process of making Pasties with deer and elk meat. When she really likes something she ate at a restaurant, she goes home and duplicates or improves upon the recipe in question. (I eat like an emperor!).  

In August Em canned for 3 weeks solid, putting up everything that was harvesting at the time, before heading home in mid-September, and we now have a massive amount of tomatoes, salsa, peaches, green beans, pickles, apples, applesauce, and apple butter on the shelf, (again, eating like a Henry the VIII), which brings me to my next bit of news;

My October bull hunt, was short and sweet, as I was fortunate to bag him opening morning. My grandson and son in law got to experience a bull hunt for the first time in their lives.  We have hunted a lot of cow elk, but they had never hunted a bull. It took us 4 hours with the help of Francine and Big Red, my mules, just to get him off the mountain, and another few hours to get him hanging in the barn.  It was a great adventure for the family, including Paco, mama’s lap dog who made the trip up the mountain. so he could get in on some fresh meat, as we were loading the panniers. (He’s my hero since his legs are only 6” long!)

We like to “age” our meat by hanging for a couple weeks before butchering and packing our freezer with meat that will be enjoyed throughout the year.  I believe in butchering my own meat so that I know exactly what I'm eating.  I was raised “old school”, and dad taught me how to take care of that animal once it is down, and how to hang it as long as possible to get that good flavor.

This Thanksgiving, my grandson, Devin, hunted cow elk and AGAIN was successful! It too was a short hunt but that was a good thing since it was Thanksgiving weekend and we wanted to enjoy eating too much, and getting into fights playing games. The grandkids love to make a fort out in the back pasture, (lots of trees), and it was perfect weather to do that this year.  Our other grandson Kaeden didn't get his elk this year due to weather. He hunted cow in the Valle Vidal, which is a once in a lifetime hunt, and although he saw a bazillion elk, , it was either too foggy, too rainy, or snowing, which was a huge disappointment since last year he hunted under the same conditions and didn't harvest an elk last year either.  You just never know what to expect in November here in New Mexico. One day it can be 60 degrees and beautiful and the next day it can be 9 degrees with an ice storm. That is exactly what happened last year on this same date.

Christmas time is always a balancing act ‘cause after Jesus, it’s all about family. Trying to get the families all together from two states is harder than Chinese math! We spent a few days up at Trennas & Aarons house to celebrate the actual day of Christmas up there, and then headed to the ranch for the rest of the Christmas and New Year’s. (The first of Jan. is bow season!). We didn't have any snow this year but we sure had a great time eating bad and playing games.  Our son Matt and his family in Texas was supposed to come out here for Christmas, but had to cancel out due to sickness, which seemed to be going around this winter, so we are hoping to make a trip to our other favorite state, the great state of TEXAS, to visit them, and of course our little man Graden, who is now walking and jabbering 24/7.

As for ART news, we added a new show this year. On Feb 11th and 12th, in our little mountain town community of Ruidoso is having its first annual Wine Festival called Vines In The Pines There were 10+ wineries represented there along with a few food booths and artists and at the Ruidoso Convention Center. We like being a part of the functions of Ruidoso and it's a great time of year for a show! Crazy as it seems, it was in the 70's on Saturday for the show, and tons of folks came out of nowhere!  Sunday it snowed.  Go figure  If you don't like the weather in Ruidoso New Mexico, wait a few hours and it will change.

As some of you know, I am an artist that also has a itch to do music now and then.  I have two galleries that rep my music art, and although I don't do it as often as I want, I am starting a series called "The Endangered Species & Friends, All Star Band"  Even though I am a hunter, I believe in protecting any animal from extinction. I plan on adding to this series, but as for now I have 4 completed. You can view them by clicking the pages originals or giclee prints, and if you want to see details, click on the image of the one you want to see.

Well, that’s about all I can come up with for now… stay tuned for any new artwork that I post first on my
Facebook business page or my personal facebook page,  and then on my website. Remember, nobody is getting any younger, so try to stay vertical and vascular as you will be doing yourself a favor!........God bless...Virgil



April 25, 2017

Bass Fishin' this past summer!

Enjoying The Beach with my grandkids

Family fishin' at the channel, Pentwater MI

Paco having a stogie

Virgil, Devin and Aaron posing with his 6x6 bull elk

Heading out for the ranch with our elk

Em's Buck
Virgils Buck 2016
Virgils Buck

Devins Elk Hunt 2016
Devin's Cow Elk hunt 2016

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