Kachina Dolls

Kachina dolls hopi southwest fine art painting roger williams

Maker of Kachina Dolls
24″ x 30″ oil on linen


Hopi, (literally translated) means a person who behaves in a polite or peaceful way. The Hopi are a communal farming people who reside on and near three mesas in northeastern Arizona. More than nine thousand Hopi live on a 1.5 million-acre reservation that encompasses a dozen villages.

The word kachina (kah-chee-nah) has long been used by outsiders to refer to any of the hundreds of spiritual beings central to Hopi religious life as well as to the dolls that depict them. However, according to the Hopi, katsina (kahts-ee-nah) is more correct and preferred. In English, the plural of kachina is kachinas, but in the Hopi language the plural of katsina is katsinam.

The first known kachina dolls were obtained by traders in 1857. From then on others were picked up sporadically until about the end of the 19th century. Little is known about these except that they were basically simple in style, with slightly detailed masks and simplified bodies. 

How Kachina dolls are made

Kachina doll making today involves both tradition and artistry. Kachina dolls are traditionally carved from the roots of cottonwood trees which once were abundant on and near the Hopi lands. The Hopi word for cottonwood root is paako, which means water wood, and the cotton-wood root’s ability to seek and find abundant water mirrors the ability of the katsinam to do the same for the Hopi people.

New Galleries

Williams-Canyon Moon-18x24 hopi southwest painting fine art nocturn

Canyon Moon 18 x 24 oil on linen

Just got back from Scottsdale AZ where I had a wonderful time hiking in the Sonoran desert and not painting! Artists do need to take breaks now and then to find some clarity and to get away from the solvents. At least this artist does.

Williams-Hopi Potter-20x16 oil painting fine art roger williams southwest

Hopi Potter 20 x 16 oil on linen

Touring around the gallery scene. I walked into Biltmore Gallery, which is located right there on Main St. just around the corner from the new “Scottsdale Museum of the West”. (A museum which, by the way, houses one of my paintings in their collection). I got to talking with the owner John who also owns the Broadmoor Gallery of fine art in Colorado Springs CO. He took a look at my latest book and we decided to create a new partnership selling my work. I am very excited about this new endeavor. The two paintings shown in the post, along with a few others, are featured in his gallery in Scottsdale. Well enough of this writing as I better get to work and paint!

Mummy cave

My recent trip Arizona rendered some wonderful ideas for paintings. I often visit Canyon de Chelly and have painted there for decades. I never seem to tire of the subject matter. 

After reading the Book “Blood and Thunder” by Hampton Sides, I took a new look at what has happened over the years in this spectacularly beautiful place.

The canyon was first occupied  by the Ancient Pueblo culture (Anasazi) around the birth of Christ. After they left sometime in the 12th century it was occupied by the Navajos who came from the north. The Navajo, or more correctly, the “Dine” still live there to this day.

This painting entitled “Mummy cave” was one of the pieces that came out of this series featuring Dine sheep herders.

Williams-Mummy Cave-24x18

Books reviews

Chamisa in winterI have had a number of people respond to my latest book with wonderful comments and I am truly grateful for everyone taking the time to express themselves. I found this on on Amazon books and wanted to post this. Thank you so much Tina!

By Tina P. Rischbieter on August 28, 2014
I have admired the work of Artist Roger Williams since we first met in the mid to late 1980’s. I have toured the Joe Wade Fine Arts in Santa Fe, NM and have enjoyed seeing Roger’s work in other exhibits and locations around New Mexico during my visits to this wonderful state. In the late 80’s I was fortunate to have the opportunity to purchase a piece of his work the ‘Hernandez Cemetery’ oil painting. This beautiful painting, purchased sight unseen, has been a treasure to me for almost 30 years. I treasure the opportunity to enjoy and share this piece of artwork on a daily basis. This painting comes alive with the addition of natural light making me feel as though I am sitting next to sagebrush and watching the sun peacefully set off to the west reflecting light onto this church and cemetery in Hernandez.
Unfortunately I have not traveled back to New Mexico in several years but have been there in spirit thanks to social media and frequent trips to http://rogerwilliamsart.com .
I am beyond excited to now have ‘THE BOOK OF PAINTINGS BY ROGER WILLIAMS’. I love my book and have just begun my journey as I travel page by page. I enjoy seeing and feeling the land I love, that is so dear to me. The colors of the sky, the mountains, and the trees bring me such peace and joy. I now live in New York and travel back west is difficult. Fortunately the works of Roger Williams’ allows me to see, travel and feel all of the things that I love so much. This book not only gives you a masterful collection of work but it shows you the spirit of the people, their customs, their daily routine and their hardships, Now if I could just find some decent green chili all would be well with the world!
This from the book “The artist gazes upon a reality and creates his own impression. The viewer gazes upon the impression and creates his own reality” ~ Robert Brault. So true.
Thank you Roger Williams for sharing your passion and your talents with the world.


oil painting of the indians of the southwest

30 x 24 oil on mounted linen

This commsioned 30 x 24 oil painting was quite a challenge to do. The client had seen many of my “Pueblo Historical” painting series before and asked if I could do a piece with an idea of a trading  scene with the Tiwa culture of Taos.

I did a few sketches  primarily for placement of figures in the composition that would make the viewer travel around the painting and create a design that would have the activity intended with out clutter. The next step was to hire the models and take a plethora of photos to use as reference. The piece evolved slowly and required more modeling as I got closer to completion.

I am constantly reading and researching information for this “Pueblo Historical” series so I can get as accurate to the history of these indigenous cultures of the past, here in the Southwest. The more of this series I do, the more I want to do! What Fun!

Vernon Filley Museum of Art Exhibition

I am happy to announce that we have finalized the date for a two man art exhibition this spring at the Vernon Filley Museum of art in Pratt Kansas. 

I will be showing my work with the nationally known Sculptor Robin Laws from Wyoming. Robin has been doing art professionally for over 40 years and has her work in various museums and collections around the globe.

My oil paintings and pastels will be featured in two bodies of work. In one room, I will present my pueblo historical pieces and in a second room, I will have a variety of paintings from all over including many I have painted around  here in and around Santa Fe NM.

The fine art exhibition will open at the museum on Friday April 3rd 2015. The show will be a fund raiser for the museum and all works will be for sale. I will keep all of you posted for the upcoming details.

fine art painting museum american indian

“The Healing” 48 x 36 oil– This is a larger painting of my Pueblo Historical series.


Art at “Scottsdale Museum of the West”

Roger Williams oil painting  in the "Scottsdale Museum of the West"

“Beneath the Sandias” 36 x 48 oil on linen

I am very happy to announce that the new museum “Scottsdale Museum of the West” has recently acquired one of my large paintings for their permanent collection. The Museum, located in Scottsdale Arizona will be opening its doors by years end. 

I am very excited to have a piece of work in this new art endeavor and I will be attending the opening this December when the date is announced. The painting is part on my on going “Pueblo Historical Series”


Workshop Fall 2014


12 x 24 plein air démonstration painting

12 x 24 plein air demonstration painting

We just completed our fall “Plein Air” workshop yesterday which was a 4 day intense landscape painting experience. I have to give “Kudos” to all those aspiring artists that attended this class. In spite of the rain, wind and other natural elements, these students stuck it out till the end and came up with great results.

I must admit that outdoor intense oil painting is not for the “faint of heart”.  If one wants to really learn how to paint well, one has to paint from life. Nature this time of year, offers up so much fodder for the artist to create his or her works and it is often difficult to organize all that color! 

I want to thank all you wonderful people who made the experience an event to remember!!


2014 show

I was honored last Friday to see so many people attend my opening at Joe Wade Fine Art here in Santa Fe.  Thanks to all of you that found the time to come to see my oil paintings.

I asked a few of my friends what they thought of the work and which pieces drew them in. The show had a huge variety of landscapes , figurative historical pieces and architectural as well. Everybody always comments and reacts to, what I call my dusk paintings. Well, one might say that they are really “sunset ” paintings and many artists and art critics would consider that subject very cliché ,banal or trite. One of those obvious subjects that is done by many artists everywhere on the planet. I would agree except, have you ever done one?

Dusk or sunset paintings are very complicated to do convincingly because you really cannot so it from photography. You have to be quick and on site to really pull it off. Its not easy and I have been doing “them” for almost thirty years and each time it is a challenge . 

I live in Santa Fe New Mexico where the skies are the most beautiful I have seen in the world. Every day is something spectacular! If you are an artist, how could you ignore this spender. I do not feel bad about doing this so called “cliché” subject matter.

It is not unlike saying something like,”oh you can’t go to Venice Italy because it is too touristy” Well why do you think tourists go there? Duh…… My little rant for the day!

Williams-Promise Land

Book Signing Roger Williams

We had a great turnout on Saturday for the book signing which took place at Joe Wade Fine Art here in beautiful Santa Fe New Mexico. My new book entitled “Roger Williams” contains 124 pages with 84 full colored plates. This book is available for 38 dollars plus shipping here on my website or at Amazon.com. What a deal it is! Introduction is written by my sister Kathleen Kondor and text by Mike Masterson. 

The book is divided into four chapters. The first chapter contains oil and pastel paintings of the Southwest. The second, contains pieces with an international subject.  The third, features Pueblo Historical images of the southwestern Indian populations. The fourth and final chapter, displays field work paintings or what we refer to as painting done “en plein air”.

book signing