Ingomar Roundup: Animals

Above is an image of a petroglyph carved in the hills of Ingomar resident Morris riding Frank.

Above is Morris and Frank again, this time more naturally colored and with a cow. Same carving, different coloring.

Above is an image of an antelope to mark this years hunt. The Mighty Kipper shot a pretty good buck antelope on opening weekend. (This is the first year in 3 years that nobody shot Kip’s truck.)

Space Petroglyphs

To compliment Rebecca Horne’s post at the Visual Science Blog at Discover Magazine here is an array of other space petroglyphs I’ve made around the country.

Below are two Space Shuttles carved in North Dakota during the STS-132 mission in May 2010.

This one is on a small bolder near a field approach.

Below is the Shuttle and the Chandra X-ray observatory, both on the Keniston Road in Burke County, ND. The carved images are colored from making impressions (see further below)

This is the ESA’s Jules Verne satellite carved in Telluride, CO

This is an impression of a Jules Verne satellite.

First Shuttle carving:

Below is the Chandra featured at the Visual Science blog. This is the first time I have employed gold leaf (21 and 23 carat) to mimic the materials shielding the observatory.

My Host’s Folks

Everywhere I carve I ask the people who own the land if there are any important family images that might be good to carve. This stumps most people. The son of my current host asked, “Do you carve people?”
“Ah, I guess so”
“How about carving my granpearents?”
“Ah… OK”
So, for the past week I have been working on the grandparent’s wedding photo. They were the original homesteaders of the land where I am working. After the man got set up he sent for the woman in Czechoslovakia. They were married about 95 years ago.

I printed this image, and prints are available for sale here.


Today I carved and then painted Lester, the 1955 Chevy step side pickup. It is the fencing mending rig, and it is stocked with tools, wire and posts. It belonged to the son, Lester (or Les), of the Jersey Lilly’s previous owner Bill Seward. I included some of the text written on the trucks side, “Les’s Welding”.


On top of the sand rock is a ‘cap stone’ that is dark brown and quite hard, so it is good for carving. It is sedimentary rock and flakes off in layer from the top down. Most of the ‘cap stone’ is inaccessible but I found one readily accessible place which is big, dark brown, smooth, and easy to find and view.

This image is of two cows and Morris, and Ingomar resident who is a busy and accomplished horseman.

Second Pictograph

My second experiment features my host’s current rig, a Toyota Tacoma. I employed a few more painting tricks on this image, like highlights and reflections. To confound future archaeologists I used the most exotic colors in my palette, a mix of cadmium reds. Not local color by any means.


Most of the rimrock stone here in Ingomar is not suitable for the carving I like best. It is soft, and more conducive to pictographs. I saw Barrier Canyon pictographs in Utah that are 2000-3000 years old, so pictographs on sand rock *can* be archival. The Ancients though had the benefit of a hundred generations to figure out what are the good spots for painting. My study of the subject suggests that south facing overhangs, preferably very tall overhangs, are the best. The petroglyphs that I found near Musselshell were on south facing sandrock faces. The oldest faces seem to have a redish hue to them, the Montana version of desert varnish. I re-canvassed the rimrock where I am working and found a few south facing rocks with a slightly redish hue and set to making experiments.

Here is the first sand rock pictograph I’ve made. I asked my host what his favorite vehicle was of the many that he has owned. He said, “Oh, probably the 1982 Ford Courier.” It has 270,000 miles and had required almost no work over the years. His kids all drove it to school, and now his wife drives it to work everyday.

I carved with a sharp stone the outline and painted the body of the truck. Hard to say how it will last…

Story in the Telluride Watch Newspaper about Kevin Sudeith’s Petroglyphs

Marta Tarbull wrote a story about the two petroglyph panels I carved in July in Telluride, Co.

Sudeith’s fascination with petroglyphs began as a boy, canoeing in the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota, which soon led to his discovery of “pictographs of moose and canoes and Xs” painted into the rocks along the lakes, all carefully recorded in a journal.
And while his petroglyphs today document relatively high-tech industries – oil frac’ing and agribusiness in North Dakota; sheep- and horse-ranching and elk-hunting in Colorado (and all the attendant vehicles) – his work ultimately suggests that more things change, the more they stay the same.