I had so much fun working with Jane West in my previous painting that I decided to see where the Chief Cherokee action figure might lead.
The Chief has a big presence for a smallish doll – he stands about 11 inches tall – and that was something I wanted to enhance in my painting, Object (shown below). The other challenge he posed was about how to handle the Native American subject matter from the point of view of a non-native. While I'm horrified by the injustices inflicted on these people, I have no direct experience with it. I made a leap of faith trusting that the right story would emerge.
I keep most of the objects I use for paintings on shelves in my studio. I started playing around with the usual stuff like jars, bowls, books and figurines but I wasn't getting anywhere. I was having trouble finding a storyline from my limited point of view that seemed appropriate for the Chief. Exasperated, I decided to wander through the rest of my house in search of something meaningful that I could put with him without being overly heavy or presumptive on my part. As soon as I spotted the old camera we have on display in our living room, I knew that I was probably a good direction.
I'm usually very faithful to the accuracy of objects I depict but in the case of the Chief, I added a hint of a smile. I get the sense he's pleased with his role in my little still life.
Object / Oil on linen, 24 in. X 30 in.