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In William Robinson Leigh Western Artist, D. Duane Cummins wrote, “Leigh’s expeditions to western America were very demanding and filled with difficulties typical to all western artists who sought to view their material firsthand. Their food was provided by nature, and Leigh wrote in his ‘Wyoming Diary’ how tiresome weeks of trout, sage hen, and squirrel could become. In neither Wyoming nor the Southwest could he sketch on an overcast day, because the coloration was distorted. Also, if the oil sketches were not well-protected, a sudden downpour could ruin weeks of work. Indians were often uncooperative subjects, refusing to model for either photograph or sketch, because they had been warned by tribal leaders that doing so would result in the loss of part of their souls. Insects were a constant bother. ‘After a day of sketching,’ complained Leigh, ‘my palette was thickly strewn with dead, dying, or famished insects; I ignored them. After work it took me an hour, with the point of a penknife blade, to pick the dead mosquitoes off my studies.’ Learning to survive in the wilderness was a matter of course for the western artist.”

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