I love meeting unique people.  Those that are not afraid to be who they are- no matter what that is– gets my highest respect.

It is so easy nowadays to get caught up in the “keeping up with the Jones” mentality.  Especially here in the States.  So when I got the chance to go to an official “powwow”  last Fall of Native American Indians,  I jumped at the chance.  I was hoping to meet people in costumes, yes, ( for painting material…..) but also just anxious to meet new people that say, “this is me, this is what I do, this is what I love…..”

There was a dance being performed when when I entered the stadium, (it was indoors) and I have to say that I was taken aback by how loud the drums were.  They pound right through your chest and take up residence in your heart.  It was comforting, really.  Like maybe how babies feel when they hear their mom’s heartbeat?  Anyway, I found it quite emotionally soothing.

Here is a painting that was started from the people I met that day.  I have not been able to finish it yet, but maybe posting the beginning drawing will get me motivated to get back to it.  He is a traditional flutemaker and the flutes he made are unbelievably beautiful. Handcrafted out of many different woods, the flutes are so exquisitely crafted you can’t see where one wood stops and another begins-  just the beautiful patterns.   He said one flute can take many months or even a year to to create.  Where will this painting end up?  I am not sure.  Maybe that is why I stopped.  Sometimes paintings seem to talk to me and say “hey, wait up!  Think for a bit here….maybe you don’t need to paint all of this….”   So I might keep a lot of this underdrawing.  I might not.  I like the idea of the brightness and “completed” part of the painting to only be going down the main diagonal from top left to bottom right.  I moved the feather to focus more on that line.  If I finished the rest of the shirt, the image could become unbalanced, so I need to think about it for a bit.  Thanks painting, good advice…

Here below is one I did finish.  He was a very kind gentleman that sat with my dad and I for a while and he talked and talked to my son.  He said he was dressed as a traditional “Crow” Indian and he made most of the costuming himself including the beading.   He was so nice to let me take a few photo references of him and then drag him out to a doorway in natural lighting to take some more.  He gave me permission to paint him and I usually get contact information from those I photograph, but for some reason I didn’t – we were talking too much I guess.  If anyone recognizes him, please let me know!

I spent the day eating flatbread with cinnamon and listening to sounds/music like I have never heard before.  I asked questions of all the people I met and I was grateful to anyone who would take the time to teach me all about their clothing, jewelry, creations, dresses, food, dances, drums, headdresses and shoes.  I even stalked a few children (with the mom’s permission) so I have a few more references that I think might be worthy of pursuing in a painting.  Hopefully, I will get time this summer to finish some more…