History of the Cowgirl Opera

Ideas often take the long, scenic road.

Such is the case with John Thomas' folk opera "The Ballad of the Hanging Judge's Daughter." Had Thomas been happy painting cowboys in the classic western tradition, none of it ever would have happened. He might have been another successful, but obscure SouthWestern artist making a good living off painting cowboy and Indian scenes, as many do.

But that's never been the John Thomas route. Why would you want to do anything that's been done SOOOO many times before. Wouldn't it be more fun to paint cow-GIRLS?! The problem was there wasn't much to go on. Not too many models to work from. So he made his own.

Working with friends as models and using old-west garb from a local tourist-photo shop, he stages some classically gritty, bawdy, and real-looking photos of the girls. From there, his imagination told him to apply the images to furniture. Along the way, songs popped into his head and started to be heard in local restaurants and clubs. The rest is history....