About the story
The setting sun illuminates the lodge of a newly married Cheyenne couple. It is a tranquil time. Together, they will share many years of life. Their hearts are singing.
The new canvas lodge, a gift from the girl’s mother, with smoke flaps still white, will soon bear the coloration of many evening’s campfire. The red paint symbolizes the earth, the unpainted circles denote fallen stars. As their future unfolds, more symbols will be added that represent personal visions and events.
About the painting
As the idea of this painting began to develop I wanted to show the tipi as a dynamic visual, which it certainly is. I chose to use warm, bright, raking light striking one side while creating deep shadows on the other side. Setting the scene against a vivid sky enhances the composition. The tipi is so dramatic I placed the figures further away so the lodge remained dominant. Even though the figures are at some distance, I felt the viewer would sense their intimacy. An indication of a slight breeze adds a certain presence to the scene. The powerful sky with a band of light in the distance gives depth and frames the figures – dark against light.
I considered showing other lodges and figures but quickly dismissed the notion as I felt they would add little and distract a lot. When designing my paintings I often eliminate things that do not help to achieve the desired result. Conversely, if a piece needs more, I work to make it work. Most of these decisions are made as the painting is well underway. I can sketch, sketch and sketch more, think, contemplate and think more, but I have to be well into it to ‘read’ what the painting needs.