Introducing new paintings from this last couple of years. Some of these new offerings demonstrate an evolution in my painting style and also encompass experimentation. Enjoy!
Two Grey Hills
Acrylic on Canvas | 48” x 36”
Wearing the traditional velvet blouse and crinkle skirt of the Navajo nation since their imprisonment at Bosque Redondo, this young lady stands in front of one of the Navajo’s most beautiful weavings called a Two Grey Hills rug.
A timeless tradition spanning almost 100 years, Two Grey Hills weavings have long been a source of pride and quality craftsmanship using natural, un-dyed wool, boasting intricate patterns, unique to the Navajo. Each of these hand-woven creations is a testament to the dedication and skill of the Navajo weavers.
This painting was fun to do and was the first time that I glued down cheesecloth onto the canvas with white gesso and then painted over it, creating a really unique texture.
Acrylic on Canvas | 40” x 30” | SOLD
Located on the western border of New Mexico with Arizona, the Zuni Pueblo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in North America.
This Zuni lady is wearing both the traditional blue embroidered manta and the famous petit point jewelry as well as a Zuni made squash blossom necklace of fine inlaid turquoise stones. She is surrounded by the Rain Bird motif that has been used by the Zuni to decorate their pottery for centuries. The highly stylized and geometric Rain Bird is known as “The Bringer Of Life” and represents wishes and prayers of the people for rain and snow in the arid southwest, a welcome blessing.
Acrylic on Canvas | 36” x 24” | SOLD
In the American Southwest lies the largest Native American reservation in the country, the Navajo Nation. Many Navajo still live today in small, scattered family groups, residing in traditional hogans, raising sheep, and producing magnificent art in their weavings and jewelry making.
One of the most important forms of Navajo and Southwestern Native American jewelry, is the Squash Blossom Necklace. Most are made of a string of plain round hollow silver beads, interspersed with more stylized “squash blossom” beads, and feature a pendant, or “naja”, hung from the center of the strand. Early squash blossom necklaces were mainly silver but later Native American silversmiths used more and more turquoise to create truly amazing works of art.
John and JM
Acrylic on Canvas | 36” x 36”
This handsome cowboy is a portrait of my father, John, and his sorrel quarter horse JM. This was such a nice portrait of both of them but I think that JM is actually looking for food in my Dad’s pocket.
Going back to a looser style, I almost exclusively used a palette knife to lay down thick, vibrant paint onto the canvas with just a little bit of brush work on the horse’s head and even some pencil sketching in the rope and gloves.
Joy of the Dance
Acrylic on Canvas | 30” x 48”
This is another painting of the Butterfly Dance but this time I again used the palette knife to put in quick dashes of color to evoke the motion and quick tempo of the dance while keeping the faces calm and peaceful. I chose bright sherbet colors for their regalia and background letting the colors flow into each other. The whole painting is beautiful with texture, motion and joy.
Ponokáómitaa (Elk Dog)
Acrylic on Canvas | 60” x 48” | SOLD
It was my pleasure to be commissioned to paint this heroic portrait of a Blackfoot warrior and his prized companion…his horse. Called “Elk Dog” by the Blackfoot Nation, the horse was seen as a mysterious animal that was larger than a great elk but could be tamed and used to carry a burden like a dog. Strong, gentle and beautiful beyond imagination, a swift and nimble horse was also essential to a warrior during battle or while hunting and the horse was even incorporated into certain ceremonies. Dressing your horse in as fine a regalia as yourself showed the intense bond between horse and rider as well as serving to imbue the horse with the same powerful medicine that is thought to be possessed in special articles of clothing. This horse’s fully-beaded mask in particular shows what high regard he is given.
Acrylic on Canvas | 48” x 36” | SOLD
This is another commissioned painting, this time of a Chickasaw warrior from the mid 1700’s showing many aspects of the historical Chickasaw Indian. This warrior is wearing a British red coat, most certainly a gift from his British allies who used the Chickasaw to great advantage in fighting against the French. Coming from the Southeastern Woodlands, this brave shaved and painted his head leaving one long scalp lock on the top to which a porcupine quill and deer tail roach is attached. A profusion of wild turkey feathers is arranged within the roach showing the ability of this man to be a proficient hunter as well as a fighter. His bandolier bag shows traditional woodlands floral beadwork and his three copper gorgets signaled that this man was a leader of his tribe.
Acrylic on Canvas | 36” x 24” | SOLD
This new painting is a bit of a departure from my usual heavily detailed and realistic style, where I was concentrating instead on the beauty of the paint itself; on vibrant colors contrasting with black; on the texture of the paint; and on a highly abstracted background of geometric shapes.
This image, taken from a late 1800’s photograph by an unknown photographer, shows a Taos pueblo girl holding a traditional black ceramic pot and wearing a traditional dark wool manta or dress with red and green embroidered designs running along the bottom. Covered in a shawl, she also wears a red woven sash and silver necklace of crosses. This painting means to convey the hot, arid climate of the summer months here in New Mexico, with relief coming from the contrasting strip of vital water flowing in the distance.
River of Life
Acrylic on Canvas | 48” x 36” | SOLD
Concentrating on a vivid background of a river, rocks and foliage, I focused again on the realistic details of the beauty of water as it flows over smooth river stones, as well as the beauty of the ancient Pueblo people.
This painting is a glorified rendering of the Jemez River that springs from the ancient Valles Caldera and meanders through the heart of the Jemez Mountains and Santa Fe National Forest to eventually join with the Rio Grande in the South. In this painting a young Jemez Pueblo girl comes to that river to gather water in her beautiful Zia jar, a trade item from another nearby Indian village. Dressed in a traditional dark manta and trade goods like the woven red Hopi sash and Kewa jewelry, the young girl pauses to enjoy the cool water before dipping her jar into the life-giving river.
The Butterfly Dance
Acrylic on Canvas | 30” x 48” | SOLD
Powwows are a celebration of heritage and traditions, and a way for Native Americans to connect with each other while keeping their culture alive through dance, song and storytelling.
In this newly commissioned painting of the women’s fancy shawl dance, the regalia worn is bright, colorful, well adorned with bead work or applique. Also known as the Butterfly Dance, this dance is an expression of renewal, and to give thanks for new seasons, new life, and new beginnings. The dance also symbolizes the idea of a young Native American woman transitioning from a child to a young lady just like a butterfly transitions and emerges from its cocoon.
Acrylic on Canvas | 30” x 24” | SOLD
This painting is again a departure from my classic style and shows a Hopi maiden wearing a distinctive hairstyle called squash blossom or butterfly whorls. She is rendered in sepia tones, and is set against a spiral of Hopi designs in old gold and turquoise evoking the ancient quality of the Hopi people who are considered to be the “oldest of the native people” within north America.
This young lady also wears turquoise mosaic earrings, necklaces of shell beads, coral and turquoise as well as Navajo silver, and a traditional black manta. All of which are highly valued and significant to the Hopi. The word Hopi itself is a short version of their name Hopituh Shi-nu-mu meaning “The Peaceful People” or “Peaceful Little Ones.” The Hopi Dictionary gives the primary meaning of the word “Hopi” as: “behaving one, one who is mannered, civilized, peaceable, polite, who adheres to the Hopi way.” Hopi is a concept deeply rooted in the culture’s religion, spirituality, and its view of morality and ethics.