I have been often been asked how I create my historical indigenous paintings. It can get very complicated and each situation or painting idea is always different. However, I would like to write this blog to impart at least one example of a painting I recently did and how I did it.
First and foremost, I come up with an Idea. These ideas come in many forms through thoughts or feelings that often are triggered by some experience, book or simply an inspiration.
In this case, I was inspired by an ancient photograph I saw in the Hopi museum in Arizona. I decided to call in one of my native models and recreate a similar image from which to paint. Because of the nature of representational art/realism of sorts, I have to have good material from which to paint. Sometimes I will paint the painting entirely from life, however, I find it more productive most of the time, to paint from a series of photographs I take.
Below, is an example of the general photo I took with a recreated costume of the period. (Manta) Personally, I like to keep my paintings true to the history I study from the given culture and period. There is always some innovation but for the most part, I choose to stay as true to history as possible.
Usually when I hire a model, I try to set up more than just one idea because of the expense and time it takes to plan modeling sessions or photoshoots.
I must mention that when I paint larger paintings, like the one featured here, “Tradition”,I almost always do a smaller study as well as sketches while the model is still posing. There were details taken of every portion of the model’s pose as shone in the detail photograph below.
I then finished the painting with the initial idea of fire light in a pueblo setting. this portion of the process was the innovative part. I have studied fire light on figures for many years so the palette was familiar.
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