Sunday, March 29, 2009

Enemy Way Ceremonies

The Navajo believe that words should paint an image in ones mind...if not then you are using the wrong words. When I'm creating my art I want the pictures to tell a story. The Navajo singers, what we may think of as a Medicine man or woman use intricate sand paintings in ceremonies such as in a healing ceremony. The Enemy Way ceremony is used to eliminate ghosts and to discourage evil spirits, that may surround an individual or an area.

The sand paintings were done on the ground and the designs were made with colored sands, created by blending crushed corn pollen, cornmeal, charcoal from a burned tree and powered minerals gathered in the red and pink sandstones found in canyons and on the buttes that make up Navajoland. Usually the Yei are dipicted in the sand painting, the Holy Ones. the Ye'i were ususally drawn with long straight bodies seeming larger than life. If the sand painting was not drawn correctly both the Singer and the "patient" could be bring demons into their lives. A Singer is paid to preform these ceremonies, and they last from a few hours to a few days. The singer would bring an entourage of family with him and the host hogan would have to feed and house all of them!..this could be very expensive and maybe I should learn how this craft!$$?

For me sand painting is not a ceremony, but the precise lines the Singer is an artist and his craft is a work of art...this image I created makes me think of sandpaintings on the hard desert floor.
Sand paintings were usually gathered up and brushed away at the end of the ceremony. It was taboo to walk across a sand painting and the one who did may be infected by a ghost, and then a curing ceremony would be needed to return this person to harmony or Hozho ( the balance of man to the Earth)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Chocolate and other Peachy things

I just finished creating some new designs and although they didnt come from the heart as most of my art does, I am hoping for some freelance money from them. We shall see. It sometimes takes a an enormous amount of time from my drawing to the paycheck arriving, therefore I cant say this is steady employment... Most of my artwork reflects my love of the natural world around me. Yesterday I traveled to a wildlife area not too far from where I live...they were burning, which was a disappointment to me, I saw only 2 geese nibbling the green shoots around a pond. There were some sparrows here and there but not the waders or the waterfowl I came to see...the water level was high also. They have built a new photographers blind, and only turtles were sitting around waiting to be photographed. I was not totally disappointed though, the peach trees of McLeod Farms were in full bloom. And I snapped a few photos of those. I had my camera set wrong and most of my shots came out tooooo bright. I just cant see the digital screen in the sun. I must get some sunglasses.

 My new artwork although it has the pretty pink tones of the peach blossoms was inspired by CHOCOLATE BON

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The 4 Directions

I always look to nature for inspiration. Lately Ive been in a slump as the seasons change from the death of winter to the birth of spring... In the Navajo Nation the seasons are part of the special meaning of fours. the 4 directions, the 4 mountains in the 4 directions that surround Navajoland. , I find that old familiar feeling of creation creeping into me. Without this rebirth each year we would not see the nesting of birds, the budding of trees, and the water moving more swiftly swelled by the snow melts up river.

The 4 sacred Mountains are Mt. Blanca to the East, Mt. Taylor to the south, to the west its San Francisco Peak, while Mt. Hesperus points the way north. Each of these 4 directions and these 4 mountains are represented by the 4 colors. . . White Shell to the east, Turquoise to the south, Yellow Abalone to the west, and Jet Black to the north. These colors make a beautiful color pallette.