Mvskoke-Creek Deity Masks

Art inspiring art.

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My friend Josh, his artist name is Dead Feather, created masks to represent different deities in the Mvskoke-Creek Native American tradition. Then this Summer he put together a fashion show complete with music, poetry readings and visual art. I was so taken by this photo he posted on Instagram from the event, that I felt compelled to paint it. It was a lot of work, but the painting came together rather easily which surprised me. It felt like something I was meant to paint.

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I did a few different sessions on it. Sketching it first and then painting it with layers of gouache. I'm still new to gouache, and find it tricky to get just the right consistency of the paint, especially with a palette of paint that has gone dry and has to be wet again. When it gets overly watered down it looks more like watercolor than gouache. So I'm working on that, as well as working on learning how to use a bigger brush to block in color to start and sticking with that bigger brush as long as possible, as suggested by Robert Henri in his book The Art Spirit.

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Overall, I'm very pleased with the results and happily passed it onto Josh. He asked to take a picture with me and then he showed it around to a few teachers and kids at the elementary school we both teach at, and it really made my day that he was so complimentary of my work. It is still a vulnerable thing for me to share my art with others. Perhaps it always will be.

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