by forrest fenn

These vignettes from Forrest’s collection are only to share. To see 294 additional pieces  please visit


paintericonI used to collect paint palettes. I had about twenty of those things and they looked so good hanging on a wall in our guest house that when we sold the business I just left them there, except for a couple of course.



Clark Hulings donated this one. He was a special friend whose work we sold in our gallery. Clark was getting a lot of publicity and winning awards at important shows, so his work quickly escalated in value. In the early 1970s, I gave my wife one of his paintings for her birthday. I paid $6,500 for it.

After a few years Peggy’s mother retired. She had been managing a ladies’ ready-to-wear store in San Angelo. My wife came to me and said, “You know, Honey, I really love that Hulings painting, but my mother needs a place to live and I’d like to help her.” So we sold the painting and bought her mother a home with the money.


Now I have just one small floral by Clark. It’s called “A Single Rose.” Wish I’d kept some of his larger works. My wife thinks this one is hers and I don’t have the guts to tell her it isn’t. Does that mean it is hers?

Ben Stahl was another special friend. He was the kind of guy you wanted to be around and just stay there for a long time. We had a show for him and one of the most popular paintings depicted a cowboy on a ladder who was about to climb into a hay loft. The title was “The Way the West was Won.” We sold it quickly, and could’ve sold it another ten times. Ben painted this condensed version and gave it to me.

One of Ben’s favorite subjects was saloon scenes. They had combustion and always included ladies who were familiar with the nighttime jingle of spurs. They don’t make artists with Ben’s flavor anymore.





65 thoughts on “Palettes…

  1. Clark Hulings attended Haverford college in Haverford pa, just outside of Philadelphia and about 20 minutes from my home….he studied physics and was going to work on the Manhattan project but was to ill to do that…
    Interesting guy to say the least…

    • Maybe you are onto something Philly with all the clues from Philadelphia??? Sure seems to be a lot… Thank you Forrest for more interesting pieces to ponder.

  2. Now Dal I know you are trying to up the blog’s ratings but pornography? Really!?

    Just kidding! – that is very nice Forrest – I love old Saloons – I still remember getting my first wooden nickel purchased in a deadwood saloon where Wild Bill Hickok was killed in Deadwood,S

  3. Wow great art work esp the palettes. The great thing about most art is that it is like you Forrest, one of a kind.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Interesting, I had no idea that artists made palette paintings. These are really great. I laughed at the one titled “How the west was won”. My vision of a cowboy climbing a ladder to a hay loft did not include the lady in the loft.
    Thank you Mr. Fenn for sharing, you put a smile on my face.

  5. Wow…these are really cool…is your condensed Ben Stahl palette The Way the West Was Won for sale?

      • True, although when I imagine them getting the hay, I imagine a long pitchfork they use from the ground to avoid having to climb.
        But I pretty much don’t know anything about a real farm or ranch. I had a horse as a kid and the hay was neatly delivered every day, although I did do my fair share of mucking out stalls to earn her board.

    • In this case, I don’t think “a little roll in the hay” means Pillsbury wheat dinner rolls. Ha!

  6. I am right there with you, Forrest, on taking care of the mother in law, though we are in a more direct care role in our case. She has been living with us for just over a year now. Currently she is in the hospital after having a strep infection go septic. She has a condition called lymphedema which causes excess fluid to build up in her legs making infections more likely. This trip to the hospital has been a bit of a blessing in disguise for her though. One of the doctors who was treating her is a kidney specialist who set her up for dialysis which has in just a few short weeks pulled over 100 lbs of excess fluid out of her legs. She should be back this week so I have just a few days to finish up the bathroom remodel I have been working on. Just need to finish up the drywall (had quite a bit of that this year) get the tile down and grouted and set the toilet. Hmm now that I think of it I probably should get back to work. At least it will help keep me busy till I can go hiking again in the spring, wonder what things I will learn next year.

  7. I love that illustrators have the ability to interpret life and tell us vibrant stories with a brush. I can hear the saloon ruckus! I wonder if Forrest has a photo of his wall of palettes – would be fun to see how the wall looked.

    The artists f represented were fortunate to have an equally talented writer showcasing them and knowing how to best market their work. I doubt artists ever complained about Forrest’s marketing skill.

    • 42, I’m going to go with “cleaning”.

      I’ll bet there is another untold story behind the “cart behind the burro”!!! 🙂 🙂

      • I concur…. on “Cleaning” also.
        Forrest is always cleaning something… Closets, silverware drawers, toothbrushes, dishes…people’s minds…

      • Loco & WiseOne, thanks for cleaning up the definition clutter. “I’m sure that you are right.” My husband and Peggy Fenn are teaching me to say that and stay out of the argument next door with GG. I’m no match for them anyway;)

          • WiseOne, Forrest said that Peggy says ‘I’m sure you’re right to him’. I’m just following suit since it sounds like a good idea to agree and keep peace in the house. That’s what I meant; I’ve never spoken to her.

      • Ya-sha-wa, thanks for that aha moment!
        How are you this beautiful afternoon?
        I’m busy cleaning and making Texas style brisket for an evening of friends and playing games.
        The windows are open and neighbors are yelling “what’s for dinner” over the fence. No kidding 😉
        God bless!

          • Mindy, the brisket smells like the pecan smoke it’s cooked in and the neighborhood dogs are howling. I would love to have a partner in the chase next door! And you are welcome for a home cooked meal if you’re ever in my area (Texas)

            Always enjoy when you’re online!! 🙂

  8. Thank you for sharing Forrest. I love color so this was a special treat for me. 🙂
    Life was hard and mostly short lived compared with today, I am sure that is why there were so many who lived like there was no tomorrow.

  9. I really like Clark’s paintings, and since Fechin is so often mentioned by Forrest, I could see a common touch between them.
    Just the same, looking at Stahl’s saloon scene, reminds me of Renoir’s (e.g. Ball at the Moulin…)
    I’m still impressed by Clark’s touch, dare I say envious 🙂
    Sometime I wish I could “see” the colors like artists of that calibre. To the point, the way he used green and blue in the donkey scene above.
    It could work without, but once you see them used, you realize that they just belong there.

    • @ liviu – keen perception on the green blue colors. I love the play of golden lighting shining down from the gold and yellow pigments on the palette. As you stated – they just belong.

  10. My guess is brand is very important in art, Fenn’s did very well…….. I also wounder how many searchers have climbed up to look in a spot and found it bare. 🙂

  11. Nice marketing idea. Accomplished artists painting on their palettes. Interesting how the used palette colors work well with the subject matter. Thanks for sharing more …

  12. destreza : skill, dexterity

    hace las jugadas con mucha limpieza

    he makes the moves with great skill

  13. Thanks again for introducing us to 2 more wonderful artists. I particularly love Carl Hulings works. His donkey palette scene reminds me of your story about the donkeys you rescued. That was a very informative article you wrote up on Ben Stahl. Was it for a magazine or a gallery exhibit?

    • Goofy, I confess to being confused by f’s statement regarding the painting. Why wouldn’t it belong to both Forrest and Peggy. After so many years of marriage everything in my possession I also consider my husbands, except my iPad! Lol

      • Well 42, that question should probably be posed to Fenn not me. But for what it’s worth here’s my thoughts on it.

        Around my house it’s an easy decision, everything belongs to my wife. 🙂

        I know what you mean; everything belongs to both in a marriage. But I think it’s good that each person has their own stuff. I think your Ipad is a good example, even though it belongs to both of you I doubt your husband would sell it; he may not be allowed to touch it. 🙂

        Most of us buy stuff to use or keep……Fenn buys and sells stuff for a living. There’s no telling how many times he redecorated their house with beautiful things that are actually for sale. Like he did his guest houses; everything had a price tag on it.

        Fenn is a salesman that loves to wheel and deal …..Sounds like if you didn’t want something sold you needed to bolt it down around Fenn. He did officially give Peggy stuff, like the painting she sold to buy her mom a house. It sounds to me like she confiscated the painting of the rose……and Fenn is smart enough to know that.

        He knows the two words that will guarantee a long happy marriage….. “Yes Ma’am”

        • Yes Sir Goofy, I imagine poor Peggy never knew for sure how long a piece of art or furniture would reside in their home. I now imagine her wearing a tool belt with large bolts, six penny nails and an electric screw driver! My Dad loved wheeling and dealing in autos [still does]. In four years of high school he bought 54 different used cars, fixed them up and traded up a bit each time. My poor mom never knew what car to look for in the parking lot. He was also a marble champ and still has 1000’s of antique marbles which fill his AF locker. Maybe ff will showcase his marble collection sometime.

  14. @ JC117, Re: Clydesdale Video,
    You always make me LOL! Very Funny!
    I grew up near Grant’s Farm in STL. They raise Clydesdales there, I always loved to see the young ones in the pasture, And I love to see them in Busch Stadium prancing around the field, They are so majestic,… except when you’re in a romantic sleigh behind one! 🙁

  15. 15 años de trabajo deshicieron en un año. Yo diría que eso es bastante bueno. Qué piensas ?

  16. Keep Calm
    I’m cleaning my TTOTC comment e-mails.
    Don’t, for a second, believe that I am out of the Chase. I’ve also been busy studying (or as some would say, chasing the nine clues). I’m going to have myself a hard cider now because I’m not in the mood for a cold one. Gotta go read me some Fenn…

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