By now, most folks are used to the competition Tim (The Forester Artist) and I have with our original art donation to the Sierra-Cascade Environmental and Resource Fund annual education auction hosted by the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference. Up until last year, Tim kept coming out on top, but then I smoked him when my piece, Off-Highway Hauler, brought in double what his piece, The Fellers, did for environmental education in 2017. I had bragging rights for the year.
This year, we both received a special request for pieces.
Back in the fall, Tim was presented with an old photo of Buzz Eades. Buzz, a local legend in the timber industry, had contributed much to the forest products industry. Since Tim first met Buzz while working at LaTour Demonstration State Forest in 1984, it only made sense that he would do the painting.
It was looking like no requests would come in for my piece, until shortly after Christmas. One of the local foresters provided a shot of a heel-boom loader. The story was that John Miller, another local legend, of John Wheeler Logging, Inc. was the operator back in the day. The images were taken in 1975.
The race was on. I needed to paint the machine from the opposite side in order to show the operator. The Northwest Model 41 wasn’t a symmetrical beast, so I need more references. I reached out on social media and Eric Cole of The Rusty Grapple came to the rescue. I managed to track down a copy of “The Story of Northwest Engineering Company” it also helped for authenticity.
Tim was on his own mission trying to locate references for the saw Buzz used back in the day. Also using social media, Neil Gould, the son of logger Del Gould who used to cut with Buzz confirmed the model of saw used. The final detail was in place.
Finally, our finished pieces were ready. They were on display at the Red Tail Publishing booth across from conference registration up until they were whisked away for the auction. I could tell which painting was generating more buzz by the reactions of the people coming to see the art. It was going to be close.
Tim snapped this shot of the dueling art pieces just before the auctioneer took the stage. Our items were numbers 24 and 25. They would auction off together. The high bidder could buy one or both pieces at the high bid number. If they only chose one, the loser would go back out to auction again.
The bidding took off and quickly surpassed $5000. It was a nonstop climb to over $10,000. A table in the back of the room pushed through to over $12,000. People were craning their necks to see who the bidder was with such deep pockets. It wasn’t the usual suspects for stratosphere bidding. The gavel dropped at $12,500. A group of names was read off of a conglomerate of folks pulling resources to purchase their chosen art. The litany of names ended with the buyer’s consortium finalizing their purchase by rounding it off to $15,000 for Buzzin’ the Pumpkin in honor of environmental education.
Buzzin’ the Pumpkin was carried through the hall to the table where Muriel Eades, Buzz’s widow was seated. As they presented her with the piece honoring her beloved Buzz, warm memories permeated the banquet. Muriel thanked everyone who contributed profusely and asked for the artist. “Where’s the artist, is he here, I want to thank him.” She needed to search no farther, Tim was there to greet her.
In the afterglow of the winning art, the losing piece was put back on the auction block.
Timbermaster opened bidding at the midrange and quickly hit $8,000, bounced around and climbed to $9,500, then $10,000. I motioned upward, hoping against all odds that we could get the crowd rolling again for a higher number, the stall held.
Timbermaster sold for $10,000 in support of environmental resource education. Not too bad for the loser’s bracket. I’d call this a double win for environmental education.
Environmental and resource education is near and dear to our hearts. Tim and I find ourselves in good company. Timber people are good folk who look out for the future of environmental resources. All in all, the night brought in over $150,000 that will be used for scholarships and other educational opportunities through the Sierra Cascade Environmental Resource Fund.
Kudo’s to Tim for an exceptional piece. Hopefully, next year, you’ll get the loser’s report from Tim.