Updated: May 15

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 with the composition. 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 aware and sensitive to the injustices carried out on these people, I have no direct experience with it. Working with the chief was more of a leap of faith than usual and I had know idea where he would lead me.

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. There was no 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 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 I was headed in 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.

Contemporary oil painting of a Chief Cherokee doll with and old camera and postcards of western landscapes.
"Object" | Oil on linen, 36 in. X 40 in.

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