There were some extraordinary things that happened when THE LITTLEST BULL went to the artist, Justin Wells. Over the course of several months, many discussions, and getting to know one another, Justin decided one day to send me 14 watercolor illustrations he’d completed even though he was not finished with the book.
A week later his home burned down. Among his disastrous losses were many, many wonderful paintings he had done over the years, but none of the illustrations he was doing for me, for I had all that he had painted for me in my possession. Justin moved into an apartment. He continued working on the book.
About a month later I received a call from a man by the name of Jack Wells. He asked me, somewhat confusedly, if Justin had been working on something for me. I said, “Yes.” I was also confused. I soon learned that Justin had died the day before. I was very sad. He had become my friend. Jack said that the only way he’d known about me was that there was work on Justin’s easel and some notes nearby with my name and telephone number on them. Jack said he would call me again after Justin’s funeral in Oklahoma City. He hung up and it was then I realized that with Justin gone, THE LITTLEST BULL would not be finished.
To my surprise, Jack did call back a couple of weeks later and I learned something amazing ~ like his brother, Jack Wells was also a Western artist. He said to me, “I’d always hoped that Justin and I would get to work on something together again, so I’d like to finish the book for you.”
Here is the rest of the story as written by Jack Wells for the dedication page of the book: THE WELLS BROTHERS - Justin and Jack Wells started scribbling stick horses when they were just four or five years old. Whatever one brother drew, the other brother would try to do a little better. This sibling rivalry helped speed up the development of their talents so that by the time they were in the 5th and 6th grades they were already selling their drawings to their classmates. That was 50 years ago and the Wells brothers never strayed far from their roots. They ranched together, rodeoed together, and worked on several projects together. Justin was completing the two dozen or so pieces for this book when he suffered a fatal heart attack. The book was not finished. It was only fitting that his brother Jack would furnish the final few paintings for this work. We hope you enjoy them.
Jack's photo above is showing him standing outside his store in historic Stockyard's City, Okalahoma City, Okalahoma.
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