The Warning–1985

25" x 31" inches
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Fine Art Edition on Paper

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This painting was chose for the cover of the catalog, for my one-man show at the Gilcrease Museum. I had taken some photographs of luxurious cool yellow-green grass at Yellowstone. I was intrigued by the way this grass sort of disappeared into the forested background. As I moved around, snapping frames for reference, I could imagine 1840s Blackfeet Indians emerging from the forest, but partly hidden by the tall grass. I composed some sketches. Well, years went by. And the idea returned. It would be an opportunity to present numerous, subtle clues to the identity of these individuals as old-time Blackfeet their hair style, the knife scabbard, their ornamentation. Originally I had two men on horseback. Then I thought it would be more interesting to have one man dismounted. I wanted to make that pinto horse's head almost jump out of the canvas, out of that extreme contrast, and that's what gives the painting such a three-dimensional quality. Obviously, these Indians are starting at something. But at what? Almost as an afterthought I painted in a Crow lance, dressed in war medicine, thrust into the earth as a warning.