Ren - Western Indian Era
Gray Stone Press
|LIMITED EDITION COLLECTOR PRINTS
I learned a long time ago that if you pay attention to what makes a
successful person successful; it might come in handy later. In this case,
I had been following the career of a very successful western painter for
four or five years. He would alternate two subjects in print. A Calvary
scene and then an Indian scene. Most of them were action pieces. Both
subjects were selling out on release but the Indian prints were
appreciating on the secondary market much faster than the Calvary
I came to the conclusion that there was a much greater interest in the
Indian prints than the Calvary prints. I contacted several of my dealers
that also sold the other artist's work and they confirmed what I thought.
The collectors were buying the Calvary prints to ensure that they could
get the next Indian piece. One day when I was talking with Chuck I
mentioned that if we did a print of an Indian in a misty or snowy
background, we should have a big seller. He said that he had bought an
old book at a second hand book store that had a great photograph of an
old Indian on an old horse, that with a few changes could make a nice
painting. He said he would do a pencil sketch and send it to me. A
couple of days later I got a photograph of the sketch (since I can't find
the photo, Chuck's son Jon sent me a scan of the original sketch which
is still in his collection.
I called Chuck and told him I thought we had a winner if we could get the
right background. By this time, Chuck had moved to Sedona, Arizona.
He had a friend that was a photographer and asked the friend if he had
any good snow scenes of the area. Chuck found five that he liked and
sent copies to me. There was one that both of us really liked but there
was a problem. It was a photograph of a misty, snow covered mountain
but the mountain was so big that if we showed it in its entirety the Indian
and horse would become secondary to the mountain. We couldn't see
anyway to use that photograph and have a painting of an Indian and
horse. We decided on using one of the other photographs for the
background. A few days later Chuck called me.
"Joe, I think I've come up with a way to use that photograph that we
He went on to explain that if he put the Indian on this side of a chasm
and the mountain on the other side, the distance would enable us to see
the whole mountain and the Indian and horse would still be the subject of
the painting. And this is how Chuck Ren's first American Indian painting
and most successful print "Mystic Warrior" came to be.
After Chuck finished the painting and sent it to me and while we were in
the process of producing the print, I sent a black and white photograph
to all the Gray Stone dealers. The entire print edition sold out in one
day and was selling for seven times the issue price before we ever
started shipping the print. For the next ten years every Chuck Ren print
was sold out before the shipping date.
(an original painting)