Before moving to Sedona in 2003, and creating exclusively Sedona landscape art, I discovered Goulding’s Stagecoach in the late ’90’s when I stayed at Goulding’s Lodge, Monument Valley. After having breakfast at their “Stagecoach Resturant,” I walked out back and found this stagecoach, sitting among the red rocks of Monument Valley. When in 2003 I brought my original wall art watercolor with me, and that’s when the general manager purchased it. This landscape painting of the Gouldings Stagecoach now resides next to the museum at Goulding’s Lodge and is proudly displayed in their main dining room.
Goulding’s Trading Post
In 1921, Harry Goulding and his young bride Leone (nicknamed Mike) purchased 640 acres next to Monument Valley. They spent their first years trading with the Navajo people out of their tent. In 1928, the Gouldings completed construction of an old stone trading post with an apartment in the upstairs. Goulding’s Stagecoach now sits outside of the once trading post.
Hollywood Comes to Monument Valley
In desperation, Harry and his wife “Mike” got in their car in the summer of 1938 and drove to Hollywood. On the backseat was a binder of 8-by-10 photographs of Monument Valley taken by their friend, professional photographer Josef Muench.
Harry schemed to find the office of noted director John Ford, show him the pictures, and talk him into filming his next Western in Monument Valley.
As the story goes, Harry walked into the United Artists studios with the photos and his bedroll. When the receptionist, appropriately appalled, told him he certainly could not see Mr. Ford without an appointment, Harry said, fine, he’d wait and rolled out the bedroll.
Security summoned, but before they arrived, the location manager for Ford’s new movie “Stagecoach” happened to walk through the office.
“Where exactly is this?” he asked, noticing the photos Harry had propped up on the couch, and the next thing Harry Goulding knew, he was making his pitch to Mr. Ford.
Within weeks, the entire cast and crew of “Stagecoach,” more than 100 people, found themselves living in a tent city outside the Gouldings’ front door. Ford stayed in the Gouldings’ spare room. John Wayne, the film’s star, slept in a tent.
Hundreds of Navajos were recruited as extras, getting $5 a day (and $8 on horseback). The resident medicine man, who proved uncanny at forecasting the weather, was hired as the weatherman.
Sedona Landscape Paintings
While I love painting with watercolors, my current love is using acrylics, both heavy body, and liquid acrylics. Creating Sedona landscape paintings and any form of Sedona art is my current direction.