Researching for a new clay, Down from the High Lonesome (3/10/08 entry), is time consuming. It can take days to gather all the material I need to proceed to the next stage, and that's creating the characters in the new piece, or clay.
Above you can see just a few of the photo's I've gathered from researching the web. Researching the web can be frustrating. If you don't know the exact terminology to put in the search window, you get a lot of bad returns in your results. I also photographed a local lady, Lea Ann (Otter Banks Gallery, Ennis Mt), who is part Indian, for the head of the Crow or Blackfoot woman, who is riding behind the mountain man. Haven't decided yet on Crow of Blackfoot because I'm still gathering material. I've found more on the Blackfoot than on the Crow, so I'm leaning more for the Blackfoot woman. It's all part of the formulation process.
I have tons of books as well. These really help. Mostly though, you spend many hours of gathering photo's of clothing from at least near the period of the clay, around 1830. There's a lot of speculation and imagination involved in coming up with costuming. You can look at paintings done by George Catlin (1790 - 1872) and Carl Bodmer (1809 - 1893), but they were artists, not archeologist's, so you have to just take their paintings at face value.
I've taken photo's of clothing in Museums such as the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody Wyoming. I've used models dressed in authentic reproductions of clothing from that period as well. The maker of the clothing does his or her research as well as to design and construction of clothing from that period. 1830s, there isn't much that has survived. So there's a lot of educated guessing, and artistic license involved in designing the clothing for a sculpture.
I feel pretty confident in what I come up with.
Well back to the researching part. Time to try and find paintings of Mountain Men from that period. Believe me, that is almost non-existent.