The Man Behind the Art

The Dancing Pony pickup line of the week is….


A gentleman who is rather well-known in the local area

as a painter and sculptor of western art stopped by the Dancing Pony to give us a gift. He’s a friend of mine and we’ve known each other a long time. He’s shy and reclusive, and has been divorced for quite some time because his ex-wife didn’t believe he’d amount to anything. That was a stupid move on her part because I think it’s just a matter of time before he’s world renowned in art circles.

A few weeks back, his horse got out and wandered over to the ranch. To thank us for helping him get the animal back to his place safely, he brought us a painting of an old cowboy sitting on a stool, whittling. The subject matter is simple, but the details and the way he used light to set the mood makes the observer feel as though they’re looking at the real thing. I proudly hung it behind the bar right after he gave it to us.

While he sat at the bar talking to us, a lady was admiring the painting and asked the bartender where we got it. He pointed out our friend to her.

“There’s the man himself. His name is Bart and he’s a local artist.”

The lady walked up to him and introduced herself. “Hi, I’m DeAnne. I was told that you created the painting on the wall there. Do you by chance have a gallery I could visit?”

Bart gazed at her speechlessly and then turned red. Not because he knew her but because she was very pretty, and he’s very shy. He stuttered out a reply, “Uh, n-no ma’am. I just work from home. I-I m-mostly work by commission.”

“Well, I’d love to see more of your work if you wouldn’t mind.

I happen to have some connections in the art world. Do you have any pictures of your work with you? And please, call me DeAnne. That’s what my friends call me.”

It was obvious his tongue was tied so I interrupted. “I happen to have a few pictures on my phone of Bart’s best works.” I pulled up the photos on my smartphone handed it to her. Bart turned red again and spent a lot of time looking down at his boots while DeAnne silently thumbed through the pictures, so I said, “Bart is one of the most talented men I know but very humble about what he creates. Those pictures don’t really do his art justice but if you ask anyone around here, they’ll tell you how beautiful his works are.”

After she was done looking through the pictures, she gazed up at Bart and said,

“Do you have any idea how talented you are?”

Bart said, “Th-th-that’s very nice of you to say, ma’am. I-I figured these folks say things like that because they’re my friends. It’s nice to hear it from someone I just met.”

DeAnne paused for a moment as if weighing her words and then said, “I must admit the main reason I came over here was because of the painting, but…” She blushed and then it was her turn to stutter.

“I-I would love to get to know the man behind the art a little better. Would you care to have dinner with me sometime?”

Bart looked like he honestly didn’t know what to say. He looked over at me and I leaned in and whispered, “DeAnne seems sincere. You’re crazy if you don’t take her up on her offer.”

He nodded and smiled. “I’d love to have dinner. How about tomorrow night?”

Bart looked pleased when she accepted, and then pleasantly surprised when she mentioned she was here celebrating her birthday. Shortly after, a group of her friends arrived to celebrate with her, but I got the distinct impression she was being drawn back to him time and again. Finally her friends noticed and shooed her over to him and found plenty of cowboys who wanted to dance. Bart and DeAnne talked and danced the rest of the evening and parted ways at closing. Before he left, he came over to me and said, “Ethan, I’m not a good cook. What do I do about the date? I don’t want to run her off.”

“It’s already been taken care of. You have a reservation for 6:00 pm at Tessa’s.

All the employees pitched in and your evening is paid for. I’d suggest bringing flowers since it was her birthday tonight, but all you have to do is be yourself. Have fun, and I’ll see you soon.”

I’m sure we’ll get the details soon. I think DeAnne will appreciate him for who he is: A great guy who happens to be amazingly talented. I love my job.

©Heather Rainier 2018


PS: Happy Birthday, DeAnne! May you have many, many, MANY more.

Love, Heather



If you dance anything like you touch, you might have to carry me back to the bar…

She’s got a temper to go along with that red hair of hers…

Books in the Divine Creek Ranch Collection


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