WUPATKI AND STELLA PESHLAKAI

After the Kachina Dance at Moenkopi, I drove south to Cameron for dinner, photographing the golden light of evening on the sandstone cliffs south of Tuba City on the way. The hotel at Cameron was full, so I camped again in Fordacho.

Back in the late 60s, my friend Dewain Maney took this photograph of Earl Carpenter and yours truly with Stella and Della Peshlakai. That’s Stella pretending to paint us.

I first met Stella when I was working as Preparator at the Museum of Northern Arizona and she was there demonstrating Navajo rug weaving. We became friends and I spent many happy days in her hogan, painting her and her father, Clyde Peshlakai and visiting with the family, her sister Della, brother Clark, daughter Helen, and others.


In 1969, I had my first one-man exhibition at the Stable Galleries in Scottsdale, Arizona. The gallery owner rented a flat bed wagon, team of horses and drivers. Stella came down and set her loom up on the back of the wagon. I set up my french easel and stood there, painting her, as a trophy winning entry in the world famous Scottsdale Parada del Sol Rodeo parade

Dewain called recently to say he had visited Stella at her home at Wupatki, that she is now ninety two, and that she sure would like to see me. So. That was the main reason for my trip to Flagstaff.



The next day, I went out to Dewain’s where he showed me his setup. Unlike many darkroom photographers, Dewain had taken to digital photography with a vengeance. He has mastered the software Corel Painter, and now creates beautifully rendered photographs like this one of Stella.

STELLA PESHLAKAI

By Dewain Maney

Click here to see more of Dewain’s work featuring people, wildlife and landscapes

After lunch in town, at La Fonda Cafe, my parents’ favorite for many years, and where I announced that I was returning to Greasewood Trading Post on the sponsorship that would launch my career, we drove out to visit Stella and Helen’s husband Anthony. We had hoped to join up with Earl and to recreate the old wagon photo, but neither of us had any luck finding Earl. Also, Stella no longer lives in the old family hogan, but in a lovely new house with running water and solar power, and wagons have been replaced by pickup trucks.

We had a great visit, though, sitting on the porch, talking over the old times and of the traditional native herbs that the government will no longer allow the medicine men to gather.


Clyde had lived at Wupatki and worked all his life for the Park. Untold generations before him had lived on that site. The National Park Service, though, in its bureaucratic wisdom, has decided that Stella will be the last of her family allowed to live there. Clyde once told me of the time he went with a delegation to “Washindon-di” and met “that man…what was his name? John, John Kennedy”.


I have to wonder what the Kennedy brothers, Jack and Bobby, would have to say about this National Monument no longer having room enough on its 35,000 plus acres for a single Navajo family that was there since before it was a National Monument.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/03/26/the-last-of-the-navajos-to-live-at-wupatki-national-monument/


http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2014/05/09/311119409/federal-goverment-jeopardizes-navajo-familys-ties-to-their-land


I camped at Dewain’s that night and we continued our catching up and plans for future endeavors.

Then I went to visit Rosa and John and on to Williams. Next, Gallup and the slow road back to Taos.

 

 

 

 

RACE THROUGH NAVAJO COUNTRY / Daily Painting #1132

Watercolor / 6 x 9 inches

If you would like to own today's painting, send your bid (Minimum $200) in an email to: farnsworthgallery@newmex.com, or call Thea at 505 982-4561.

If you would like some expert help with framing your purchase, just call Thea, 505 982-4561, and she will take good care of you.

Also, please remember that if you would like to:

  • Commission a larger version of your favorite subject,
  • Check on the availability of a given image, or
  • Schedule a workshop

We are just a phone call away, at 505 982-4561, or you can email us at: john@johnfarnsworth.com.

BORN FROM WATER (Navajo Yei Mask) / Daily Painting #1059

Oil on Paper Mounted on Panel / 6 x 6 Inches

This is Tóbájíshchíní, Born from Water, the Warrior Twin brother of Naayéé' Neizghání, Slayer of Enemy Gods. The Warrior Twins appear in the Night Chant Ceremony of the Navajo.

If you would like to own today's painting, Send your bid (Minimum $200) in an email to: farnsworthgallery@newmex.com, or call Thea at 505 982-4561

Touch here to see more confections.

Click Here to see my Daily Photographs

It’s time to start getting ready for THE KACHINAS ARE COMING. That’s the big Kachina show Thea wil be putting together of my Kachina paintings the first of September at David Anthony Fine Arts, here in Taos. I hope to see you there!

Please remember that if you would like to commission a larger version of your favorite subject, if you would like to check on the availability of a given image, or if you would like to schedule a workshop, we are just a phone call away, at 505 982-4561, or you can email us at: john@johnfarnsworth.com

 

MONSTER SLAYER Daily Painting #838

MONSTER SLAYER

Oil on Panel / 6 x 6 Inches

Navajo Monster Slayer (na'ye' ne'zyani) Yeii Mask of painted buckskin with horse hair and with olivella shells attached to eye and mouth openings.

You can learn more about Monster Slayer and his twin, Child-of-the-Water by clicking here.

Click Here to see my Daily Photographs.

Just like on A Farnsworth a Day, I hope you will help us out by clicking on the Google+, Facebook, Twitter and other Icons below. Share us with your friends. And, by all means, leave a comment. Thanks.

 

EVENING, CANYON DE CHELLY Daily Painting #782

Evening, Canyon de Chelly

EVENING, CANYON DE CHELLY

Oil on Paper on Panel / 6 x 6 Inches

If you would like to own this painting, just email your bid to: bid@johnfarnsworth.com

Navajo country is still on my mind. I spent my formative years as an artist there, and am always game to return.  I’m thinking of putting together a workshop again in Canyon de Chelly next fall. Anyone interested? Call Thea now, and get on the list. 505.982.4561

Click Here to see my Daily Photographs.

Please remember that if you would like to commission a larger version of your favorite subject, if you would like to check on the availability of a given image, or if you would like to schedule a workshop, we are just a phone call away, at 505 982-4561, or you can email us at: john@johnfarnsworth.com

Are you enjoying these daily paintings, photos and writings? If you are, please help us out by clicking on the Google+, Facebook, Twitter and other Icons below. Share us with your friends. And, by all means, leave a comment. Thanks!

NAVAJO WITH JACLA EARRING Daily Painting #781

Navajo with Jacla Earring

NAVAJO WITH JACLA EARRING

Oil on Paper on Panel / 6 x 6 Inches

If you would like to own this painting, just email your bid to: bid@johnfarnsworth.com

Something has me feeling a bit of  nostalgia for my days on the Navajo Reservation. What an experience that was. Continues to be. I’m thinking of putting together a workshop again in Canyon de Chelly next fall. Anyone interested? Call Thea now, and get on the list. 505.982.4561

Click Here to see my Daily Photographs.

Please remember that if you would like to commission a larger version of your favorite subject, if you would like to check on the availability of a given image, or if you would like to schedule a workshop, we are just a phone call away, at 505 982-4561, or you can email us at: john@johnfarnsworth.com

Are you enjoying these daily paintings, photos and writings? If you are, please help us out by clicking on the Google+, Facebook, Twitter and other Icons below. Share us with your friends. And, by all means, leave a comment. Thanks!

THE WEAVER Daily Painting #751

The Weaver

THE WEAVER

Oil on Paper mounted on Panel / 6 x 6 Inches

If you would like to own this painting, just email your bid to: bid@johnfarnsworth.com

NAVAJO

Once in my adult life, I went a year without painting. I had a job at the time working in an Indian Store and Private Museum in Scottsdale, Arizona, McGee’s Indian Den and Museum. I sold Navajo Rugs. Somehow, that satisfied the same need in me that painting does. Adding beauty to the lives of others. That’s what drives me.

For those who don’t know, I painted exclusively Indian subjects for thirteen years. That was my background. That was my focus and my interest. Landscapes, people, material culture, ceremony, Kachinas, all Indian oriented. Then my focus widened and I started painting virtually everything. I occasionally still paint an Indian subject, like today. Kachinas remain a major thread in the weave of my work, and those who would like to know more, about my work and my background, can click here and here.

Click Here to see my Daily Photographs

Please remember that if you would like to commission a larger version of your favorite subject, if you would like to check on the availability of a given image, or if you would like to schedule a workshop, we are just a phone call away, at 505 982-4561, or you can email us at: john@johnfarnsworth.com

Are you enjoying these daily paintings, photos and writings? If you are, please help us out by clicking on the Google+, Facebook, Twitter and other Icons below. Share us with your friends. And, by all means, leave a comment. Thanks!

RIDING FREE Daily Painting #708

Riding Free

RIDING FREE

Oil on Panel / 6 x 6 inches / ©John Farnsworth

If you would like to own this painting, just email your bid to: bid@johnfarnsworth.com

RED ROCKS

Here’s a third in the series of paintings of the red rocks near Gallup, New Mexico. Usually seen only from speeding cars and trucks on I40, the old Route 66, these beautiful formations are familiar to millions, yet not known in the way that more accessible, much touted areas like Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly. Many westerns were filmed here during their heyday in the 1940’s and 1950″s, and the formations are visible from the Super Chief on Amtrak.

LA PAMPLONADA Daily Photograph #1,677

I love doing street photography and no where better than Mexico. I love people watching, too, and in this case, watching someone else people watching. San Miguel de Allende, where this image was shot, must be one of the most photographed towns in Mexico, and with good reason. Colorful, welcoming, and filled with great restaurants, it is the home of many Norteamericanos, yet remains a very Mexican town despite the presence of so many from north of the border. It was in San Miguel de Allende that I first photographed a Charreada, or Mexican Rodeo, and I’ve been hooked on them ever since, attending several National Championships, and spending many happy and fruitful weekends at the Lienzo Charro (arena) at Chapultepec Park, in Mexico City.

La Pamplonada

La Pamplonada

Are you enjoying these daily paintings, photos and writings? If you are, please help us out by clicking on the Google+, Facebook, and Twitter Icons below. And share us with your friends. And, by all means, leave a comment. Thanks!

AN EVENING IN NOVEMBER Daily Painting #701

An Evening in November

AN EVENING IN NOVEMBER

Oil on Panel / 6 x 6 inches / ©John Farnsworth

If you would like to own this painting, just email your bid to: bid@johnfarnsworth.com

HOME OF THE NAVAJO

Dwarfed by the sandstone cliffs northwest of Gallup, New Mexico, this, typical small Navajo family compound, with its traditional hogan, still used for religious purposes,  blends gently into the beauty of its surroundings.

 

BATHROOM MONDRIAN Daily Photograph #1,671

All around us there are interesting compositions just waiting to be seen. Waiting to be captured. Waiting to be shared. This would make a fine painting, but I like it as it is. Then again, who’s to say it can’t be both a photograph and a painting?

Problem is, if a painting is good enough to stand on its own, it’s not much of a challenge to paint. Just duplicate it and be done. But that’s no fun. Now, a photo that suggests possibilities as a painting, provides a framework of an idea, or enough detail to tease the creative impulse, that’s a photo to make a painting from.

When I see a photo or an area within a photo, and think, wow, I wish I’d been closer, had a better camera, or known how to use the one I did have; man, I can smell the sage, feel the cool air, the hot sun, hear the sounds of the birds, the trains, the wind, that’s a photo to paint from. A photo that stirs memories, tickles the imagination, intimates the future, or begs translation, but falls short technically, or that contains unnecessary elements can be an excellent starting point for a painting.

Bathroom Mondrian

BATHROOM MONDRIAN

Just as with paintings, I prefer the found still life to the formal. While this might appear to have been set up, I assure you it is just as I found it. Nothing was moved, nothing arranged. Aside from a bit of a trim, a little straightening to make up for lens aberration, and values correction, this is the scene just as I found it.

The Kachinas are Coming

It’s time to get ready for THE KACHINAS ARE COMING. That’s the big 43rd Annual Kachina show Thea wil be putting on of my Kachina paintings the first of September at David Anthony Fine Arts, here in Taos. I hope to see you there!

David Anthony Fine Art, 132 Kit Carson, Taos, New Mexico, September 01 to October 05, 2012. Reception September 1, 5 t0 7pm

See the August/September issue of the SANTA FEAN magazine, page 90 for a write-up on the show.

 

Are you enjoying these daily paintings, photos and writings? If you are, please help us out by clicking on the Google+, Facebook, and Twitter Icons below. And share us with your friends. And, by all means, leave a comment. Thanks!

NAVAJO RIDERS NEAR GALLUP Daily Painting #700

Navajo Riders Near Gallup

NAVAJO RIDERS NEAR GALLUP

Oil on Panel / 6 x 6 inches / ©John Farnsworth

If you would like to own this painting, just email your bid to: bid@johnfarnsworth.com

SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT OIL PASTEL

A friend and former student has been experimenting with oil pastel and emailed an example. The following thoughts are excerpted from my reply and answers to a couple of her follow-up questions.

I used to work on plain old bond typing paper, scrubbing and working rather loosely, then using a palette knife laid flat to remove all the excess. Really liked the effects I was able to get. I also did some large, 40 x 50 inch pieces on canvas. On some I used medium to make them slippery and to cover large areas quickly. I don’t remember what medium. Probably some awful thing like odorless thinner. On others, I just used the softest oil pastels I could find. They went on fast enough and the friction kept them soft enough to fill the interstices of the canvas.

My favorite, though, is working on raw masonite. I use the smooth side, and, in fact, I don’t think you can buy the kind with a textured side any longer. This ground allows for all sorts of different effects, depending mostly on the amount of pressure applied. Impressionistic effects, with strokes in opposing directions, crosshatched, or lain side by side can be very effective. Glazing is possible and really nice when using complementary colors. Heavy, bold effects are possible, too. When dry, they are quite durable, and in my experience extremely permanent, although I’ve not found any reliable information regarding their permanence.

I really liked working on small masonite panels with the edges roughed up by dragging a knife blade across them repeatedly, working in a thick, built up technique, then spraying them until they just begin to liquify and blend together using Krylon Spray. Several coats. They ended up looking almost like ceramic tiles. But be extremely careful using the Krylon. I can’t tolerate it now, even when used outdoors and in very small amounts. I never tried melting them with a hair dryer, but that would be something interesting to try. Encaustic-lite, huh?

I don’t do them much anymore, as I’m having so much fun with oils, but oil pastel is still my favorite sketching tool. There is a particular color, a warm, sienna shade, that I prefer, and I buy the smallest box of Pentel Oil Pastels, just to get this one color that I can’t seem to get in single sticks. I find them to be similar to in effect Conte, another favorite drawing tool, but far less messy.

The last time I did any oil pastel work, I had purchased a small photo album from Artisans in Santa Fe on Canyon Road. (That store has been closed since they moved to Cerrillos Road several years ago.) Anyway, I bought it because I liked the look of the paper. It was warm and contained scattered bits of wood or bark or something that gave it an interesting texture. I filled it with oil pastel paintings and sketches of Kachinas. One day, while playing with a scanner, I scanned one of the pages, a Mudhead Kachina, and printed it out, enlarged to eight by ten inches, and hung it on the wall of the studio to think about it. When Thea saw it, she borrowed the album and had prints made. They have turned out to be very popular! Meanwhile, I get to keep the album. I’ve had it now for several years, and it seems to be holding up beautifully, with no unusual care, just hanging on the wall, occasionally turned to a different page.

I have oil pastel paintings that have been hanging in various rooms in my home and studio since the early 1980s, without benefit of glass or any sort of spray or varnish. They are all just like the day I painted them. An occasional gentle rub with a damp, lint free cloth to remove any dust accumulation seems to do the trick. The only ones I would be concerned about are those early pieces done on bond paper. Even glazed, I am sure the paper would have turned quite yellow by now. Unfortunately, I have mislaid the few I still have, so can’t say just how yellow.

Try every brand you can. You will find that they vary considerably in softness, ratio of pigment to oil, covering power, etc. I’ve found Stabilo colored pencils to be similar in makeup and occasionally useful for controlled detail work when used with the oil pastels.

Try different papers, fabrics, grounds, panels, etc. Experiment, play, have fun, be fearless. Maybe try using a little walnut oil, or walnut oil Alkyd with them as it is solvent free.

Any thoughts or questions, anyone? Just drop me an email at john@johnfarnsworth.com.

PHILOSOPHICAL AGREEMENT Daily Photograph #1,670

As you can see, Atticus shares my philosophy, Play ’til you drop!

PLAY 'TIL YOU DROP!

PLAY ‘TIL YOU DROP!

The Kachinas are Coming

It’s time to get ready for THE KACHINAS ARE COMING. That’s the big 43rd Annual Kachina show Thea wil be putting on of my Kachina paintings the first of September at David Anthony Fine Arts, here in Taos. I hope to see you there!

David Anthony Fine Art, 132 Kit Carson, Taos, New Mexico, September 01 to October 05, 2012. Reception September 1, 5 t0 7pm

See the August/September issue of the SANTA FEAN magazine, page 90 for a write-up on the show.

 

Are you enjoying these daily paintings, photos and writings? If you are, please help us out by clicking on the Google+, Facebook, and Twitter Icons below. And share us with your friends. And, by all means, leave a comment. Thanks!