Heritage, Volume 2, Number 4, Fall 1985 Page: 13
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Paint Rock. Copied June 22, 1934. No. 5 and 6 are the only designs at Paint Rock painted on the
undersurface of the rocks. The most distinctive drawings of humans at Paint Rock are in angular red style
characterized by arms sharply bent at the elbows and bi-triangular bodies, the apexes of the triangles
meeting to form wasp-waisted figures. Animals are often portrayed on isolated rocks and none of them seem
characteristically to accompany the various kinds of human figures. Watercolor by Forrest Kirkland,
courtesy of the Texas Memorial Museum. (Acc. No. 226I-I02)
design were copied accurately but no attempt
was made to draw to a scale or include
every figure in a design. . . The designs
Lula had copied in pencil, I later
worked up in watercolor to match the two
I had made on the spot . ..Every time I
looked at these copies. . .this question
came to mind: Why shouldn't I return to
Paint Rock and carefully copy every picture
still remaining on the cliff and so
save them for future generations? Lula
and I talked it over. She thought it was a
good thing to do. . . What was at first
merely a suggestion in my mind soon became
a solemn command. I am a trained
artist, able to make accurate copies of
these Indian paintings. I should save them
from total ruin.
From that moment on, until his death in
1942, the Kirklands spent many weekends
and most summer vacations searching
for rock art sites. They reconditioned
HERITAGE * Fall 1985
their 1929 Ford Model A with a camp refrigerator,
chuck box and a make-shift
table on the running board. They carried
with them their cots and mosquito netting
to be self-sufficient even in the most desolate
countryside (Fig. 6).
They decided that Forrest would do all the
drawings and paintings to keep them consistent
(Fig. 10). He used linen-covered
paperboard cut to uniform 11 x 14 inch
rectangles. He described his method of
copying the paintings as such:
My procedure was first to measure the
rock on which the paintings appeared,
then to draw the outline of the rock to
scale on my board, then to measure the
principle figures in the design and draw
them in pencil to the same scale. . . The
remaining parts of the design were carefully
copied freehand. This procedure
was continued until two boards were
filled with pencil sketches of the paintings.
Then returning to the first group and
preparing my watercolors, I painted in all
the backgrounds which represented the
rocks on which the paintings were made.
These backgrounds were given only general
color. . . Then sitting before each
group of paintings I carefully checked my
pencil sketch to see that it was accurate
and colored the drawings as nearly like
the original paintings as my skill and colors
would allow. This procedure was followed
until the last group of paintings
had been copied.
At certain sites, where the designs were
simple and clear, he could fill two boards
in a few hours. Other sites had complex,
polychrome designs that had been overpainted
again and again for hundreds of
years; these sites required the better part
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 2, Number 4, Fall 1985, periodical, November 1, 1985; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45445/m1/13/: accessed January 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.