My guess is that every artist has a favorite kind of trope or subject matter that they run to as something that is easy and enjoyable. For me, that's my Native ponies.
There's something serene to me in them just...being: an idealistic moment in a make-believe world, where native horses with feather and war paint prance around in early morning light or in overly bright sunsets.
No, as far as I know, I have no Native American blood personally. But my husband claims Cherokee, on both sides in his family and therefore, I hope I have a small claim in loving Native American culture and art.
In fact, let me plug a wonderful little store in my town called "Wings of Eagles", which sells almost primarily Native made art by skilled Native artisans. Here's their site: https://wings-of-eagles.business.site
Sometimes, as an artist, I find that things are just too painful to express with words. And a picture comes that expresses better than I can, what I am feeling.
The painful story of Elijah McClain is expressed better elsewhere. If you are unfamiliar with it, I recommend reading The Cut's version of events entitled "The Killing of Elijah McClain". As you scroll down the story, you will see a photo of Elijah playing the violin for stray cats at a shelter.
This painting, "Where is Elijah?" is a tribute to his memory.
Rest in Power.
I've shared before how I will often be inspired by the people I meet in my art creation. This painting is definitely one of those.
I was working on Jack o' Mines, a bunny in miner's clothing, when I met a wonderful local in my town of Golden, named Judy Denison, who shared an incredible story. She told me how in the 1990's, Nike Corporation was interested in buying the gorgeous mesas that frame the background of our town, for a large corporation, unknown to most of the town's residents. Judy and another local named Don Parker, formed "Save The Mesas", a citizen group determined to inform the town to let Golden locals make this decision themselves, rather than the decision being made for them by the town counsel.
Long story short, the group ended up buying the mesas and donating the land as public open space. Now, every weekend, you can walk the wild mesas, sometimes meeting an elk or two, and if you're lucky you might see a fox or coyote. In summer, the rattlers sun themselves on the tops of the rocky cliffs. And suddenly, the germ of an idea for a painting was born, a tribute to the protestors of the 90's who saved our beautiful open space for current and future generations.
At first, I wanted to call the painting, "Judy Saves the Mesas" to give credit where it was due, but she objected, stating humbly, "There were many people involved in that. It wasn't all me." So, we decided on naming the snake "Suzy", but the bucket hat on Suzy is inspired by the style of the 90's, and this painting was definitely inspired by Judy and the protestors who devoted their time, money and determination so that everyone can still experience Golden's Table Mountains.