To create the scene that would become Heading for Higher Ground, artist James Bama called upon his friend Jim Williams. Williams, says Bama, is a “real modern-day mountain man. He used to trap and he lived in the Southwest in a cave. He had an old-fashioned porcelain bathtub and all that you would expect. He’s a terrific guy.” With Williams signed on to model for the painting, they traveled to nearby Rimrock Dude Ranch to borrow a horse for the day.
James Bama’s portraits of the denizens of the Southwest are renowned for their touching combination of Old West valor and modern reality. With Heading for Higher Ground, Bama hearkens back to both a legendary time, and a time that could have been only yesterday.