Indigenous Cowboy

I’ve joined the art journal challenge group over at, though I’m not likely to get most of the challenges in on time.

The first challenge subject was Cowboys (an interesting, and tough, challenge).  Color suggestions include yellow ochre, sepia and dusky denim blue, with a material challenge of walnut ink.

reservation cowboy

I took the approach of Native American cowboys, because I’m drawn to the contradictions embodied in anything that disturbs traditional dichotomies (in this case “Cowboys and Indians.”)  These indigenous cowboys, among the first hired by Spanish colonizers in North America, and still working today, are representations of contested identities breaking down traditional colonial ideologies and hegemonic values.  (And yes, I’m a little of an academic at heart….apologies!)

I started with yellow ochre, followed by walnut stain and sepia washes.  Added some squares in the bottom half of the pages with a dark denim-ish blue, followed by another walnut stain wash. The moon, stamped text, and coyote utilize coffee stained papers (smells good!).  The cowboy and the coyote are drawn with various sizes of pitt pens (India ink) from reference images.  The scrap at the bottom is a used baby wipe.

I reference the coyote-trickster because there is an almost “shape-shifting” attitude required when one lives simultaneously in two cultures, or (alternatively) when one trying to understand another recognizes the complex contradictions inherent in who they really are, above and beyond any stereotype.

Below is a close-up of the Native American cowboy.  He is based on a photo of an Apache-cowboy taken by controversial photographer Edward Curtis around 1903.

Ostoho Apache Cowboy

cowboy close-up


6 thoughts on “Indigenous Cowboy

  1. Hi Elizabeth I love this page and your explanation, great work 🙂
    Someone started a game of blog tag and I tagged you! You can see my blog for more info – there is absolutely no obligation to play along, I am sure you are busy, but I love your blog and just wanted to share it with others.
    Big love

    • Thank you so much, AJ! And I am honored for the tag and your sending people my way. I’ll start thinking on the tag questions and try to answer in the next few days. 🙂

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