Assorted ponies

Grey Hawk – This painting is based on a pony who possessed spirit, stamina, and speed. The Red Tailed Hawk feathers are strong medicine for the Cherokee Upper World and endow the bearer with strength and swiftness of flight. The Cherokee did not paint their horses with war paint.

Grey Hawk was chosen for the month of December in the 2002 Cherokee Calendar, hence his winter coat.

Price for Original: On request
(all copy rights retained by artist)

Additional Note:
The Southeastern tribes began riding and using horses for utilitarian purposes after introduction by Europeans. It is understandable that pride of ownership would develop for horses with particular abilities and personalities.

Brave Heart

Brave Heart – This painting was inspired by quotations contributed to Black Elk. “Many times my horse and I have journeyed far to the camps of my enemies. We have eaten together. We have slept together and faced many battles together. White men say a horse has no soul but I have often seen the soul of my horse in his eyes. My horse is as my brother. He has the soul of a warrior.”

Peace foal

Peace (foal) – In my mind’s eye all babies are images of innocence and most represent the spirit of Christmas and hopes of renewal for all people everywhere. White is the color most associated with peace. Purples and reds are the colors of passion. The straw bedding is a reminder that Christ shared his birthplace with the animals. Peace was chosen for the 2003 Cherokee Calendar, also for the month of December.

Buffalo Pony Dancing

Buffalo Pony Dancing (Boy) – This image came on a beautiful Oklahoma spring day, the kind of spring day that makes colts run and kick their heels for the sheer joy of living. Buffalo Pony Dancing is a small boy riding his “buffalo pony” stick horse. He’s decked out in his best regalia and feeling so good he can’t help dancing. In all probability a boy this age wouldn’t have been caught dead riding a stick horse but would have already been an accomplished rider. Sometimes artistic license is lots more fun to paint.

The Maghreb Cavalier

The Maghreb Cavalier – The “Zenetes mount,” prevalent throughout the Maghreb Desert in Tunisia, belongs to the fantasia riders. In the midst of such a harsh land, there rises a joy of life, a sense of beauty, even of the lavish, which has always inspired the Maghreb imagination. For the Berber, the horse is an indispensable companion, noble and blessed by God, in this very heart of the rural regions of North Africa. He wants a fast and strong horse, a tough horse, a warhorse; a Barb horse.

Emir Abd El~Kader, who headed the resistance movement against the Algerian Conquest, from 1832 to 1847, wrote:

“Ask the night how many times I tore its veil. Rode a horse with thinned sides and of stature. Ask the desert, the hills, the valleys and the plains. The distance I have covered. I wish only to fight the enemies. And to conquer their courageous cavaliers with mine”


Hand-made leather pillows

Please enjoy the video, “Sprits of Okoni“, as narrated by John Winterhawk. Spirits of Okoni are symbols of animal spirits honored by many Native American Tribes.

This video shows a new line of leather pillows. The pillows are made of brain-tanned deerskin, sewn entirely by hand, painted with earth paints and decorated with antique beads. The forms are goose down. They come with a protective muslin pillow case and include a certificate of registration as well as a card informing the buyer of the relationship of the animal to humans. These pillows are a limited edition of eight images, five copies of each design. These pillows add a unique touch to any decor and a spiritual connection to the animal world.

Horse gave us the ability to fly through the wind. Horse gives us strength and stamina. Horse is faithful. And in return, we honor it with sacred feathers and painted designs. Through living with horse, we learn compassion and caring. True power comes from sharing your gifts and talents.
Bear shows us the value of silence and of seeking the dream lodge. Each year as bear hibernates, it shows us the way to quiet our lives; to allow for intuition; to lead us to the rebirth as bear is reborn each spring. Bear’s strengths are in teaching us to know ourselves. Spending quiet time to evaluate our strengths and weaknesses.
Fish is a symbol of abundance and harmony. Though there are many species of fish, all live together in harmony and interdependence. Fish has also been given the name of “the long ones”; the long people that swim in the waters and rivers of our lives.
A gentle spirit is symbolized by deer. If you are drawn to deer’s image it may also be gently nudging you to new adventures. Deer is also known as the keeper of the path to Creator.
Eagle feathers are sacred and mystical. They are a powerful healing tool. Eagle embodies connection to the Great Spirit. It soars in the realms of the Great Spirit. But it is also grounded in life among all creatures on earth. Through its spiritual connection, eagle feathers provide valuable healing medicine to both our soul and spirit and everyday life.
The mysticism and magic of raven‘s domain. Raven is also a shape-shifter that can become another animal and speak it’s language. Raven teaches us to take those things in our life we wish to change and shape them into the form we would like them to take. Raven gives us the ability to become a magician.
Goose brings the traits of fidelity and fertility. The goose chooses one mate for life. It also speaks to us of telling stories to communicate and to inspire that childlike belief in stories and legends. Migration of geese calls to our sense of adventure or our spiritual quests. The unique message that goose brings to you can be found in quiet moments of meditation.
Mother Earth is embodied in turtle. As turtle cannot disconnect from its shell, neither can we separate ourselves from Mother Earth. Turtle reminds us that we are connected to all things. Turtle moves slowly, sensing all around her. She reminds us to slow down and listen, awakening our physical and spiritual senses. Turtle asks us to honor our creative abilities; to allow the time needed for those abilities to develop. Mother Earth provides abundance for each of us, if only we, like turtle, slow down and open ourselves to it.

War Pony Series

War Pony I – Sioux, is the first edition in a series of four prints depicting Native American war ponies. Markings painted on horses before battle had both physical and spiritual meanings and have been carefully researched for authenticity.

Quality print reproductions available for order.

Learn more about Painted Ponies.

War pony II

Two-Face, War Pony II – Cheyenne, is the second edition in a series of four prints depicting Native American war ponies. The red circle around the eye aided in improving the horse’s vision. The feathers tangled in the forelock are from the owl, Chief Spirit of the Night, and are symbolic of the courage, stealth and speed needed for war.

Medicine hat war pony III

Medicine Hat, War Pony III – Comanche, wears the red hand of death, signifying his rider has killed an enemy in hand-to-hand combat. A seasoned campaigner, he won the honor of displaying the down “breathing feather” and eagle feather roach worn between his ears to show his feats in battle. Notched feathers represent the number of times wounded and the red spots indicate slain enemies, one spot for each enemy conquered.

War pony IV

Wind Walker, War Pony IV – Apache, is a Palomino Paint Pony and the final edition in a series of four prints depicting Native American war ponies. The zig zag lightning marks on his neck are a symbol of great power. The strap around his neck is woven of leather strands with small stone amulets and sacred feathers. Its purpose was to protect the wearer from the enemy and to aid his prowess in battle.

Note: Wind Walker is a Palomino Paint…..the white was a small amount on his shoulder and sides which doesn’t show in the painting.

Painted ponies

An American Indian warrior often painted his favorite war pony with the same pattern and colors he used for his own face and body, when preparing for journeys into enemy territory. A painted pony always carried a message about his rider and sometimes about the quality of the animal bearing the marks.

Medicine hat war pony

Horses were painted on both sides, each side telling the same story. Painted symbols included circles around one or both eyes of the horse (to improve the horse’s vision) and long zig-zag lines symbolizing lightning (adding power and speed to terrify the enemy.) These combined symbols were understood to build upon each other… the horse’s improved vision giving access to draw upon the lightning’s tremendous power.

The total effect of a painted warrior and his pony was often stunning and made a striking impression upon all those who witnessed them. One such impression comes handed down to us from an aged Crow warrior, who vividly recalls a Sioux warrior he had encountered as a small boy. The Sioux warrior and his horse were completely covered in bright blue paint with white dots. It was a memory the boy carried with him all his life.

Different tribes evolved a few exploit symbols which were uniquely their own, but in many cases shared common symbols painted in different colors. For example, the Sioux Indians used red paint for hand prints while the Crow used white.

Golden eagle feathers were considered sacred and were often tied to the mane and /or tail of a war pony. It was a common plains custom to tie up a horse’s tail when preparing for battle. Horse tails were often tied in a simple knot, but sometimes folded and bound with buckskin thongs or red trade cloth. Fringes and feathers were added for a more spectacular effect.

The challenge of mainstreaming Native American art

native art

There is absolutely no doubt that Native American art forms have a rich and storied history. From ancient times to the present, from the people of Alaska down to the southernmost tip of Chile, art has been a huge part of the cultures since the days of rock paintings. The art from gas evolved though face and animal paintings, amulets and trinkets, woodworking and totems, breathtaking pyramids and so much more.

Even today, there is a growing number of well established Native American artists. However, they all have faced the perennial problem of getting their work viewed by a mainstream audience. But then came along the internet and the dissemination of information was truly democratized. No longer were we bound by arbitrary rules set by gatekeepers with unknown agendas. This very website is an excellent example of this. Since 1998 (yes that long ago) I have been able to sell my art to an international audience with just this website.

The challenge still remains though. Even with the massive advantage the internet accords artists who in yesteryears may have been anonymous local artists, the rapid growth of this medium means that it is getting easier to remain just another anonymous artist on the internet. Well now you get to be anonymous on a global stage. This may be a good or a bad thing depending on your world view.


Totem pole

This is where influencers come in. Love them or hate them, web personalities have become influential celebrities in their own right. They don’t just have to be singers and actors nowadays, but social media personalities from sites like Instagram and Youtube as well as review sites have followers that run into the tens of millions. Yes that is not an audience to be laughed at. A blog or social media update from one such influencer can reach a bigger audience than a prime-time television show.

So it is time that Native American artists identified their own influencers and got their art in front of new audiences. Natural ability and creativity just won’t get your art sold. We may want to be idealistic and say good art sells itself but the reality is that being “good” just isn’t enough anymore. If you just rely on the customer that come to you, you’re leaving so much on the table. you have to go to where your customers are. And increasingly, this just so happens to be on social media. And with the advances in e-commerce and shipping, getting your art to them is getting easier and easier.

So what can we, as cash strapped artists do to tap into these opportunities. You don’t have to pay an influencer to promote your art. However, you have to put some work into the promotion aspect. As long as you have a smartphone and internet connection, you have all the tools you will ever need for this new age promotion. All you need to do is to take photos and videos of your art and post them to social media. You have to be entertaining and creative in your presentation though. As a good artist, this should come easy to you. Once you have that down, you should easily stand out from the run-of-the-mill everyday social media posts.

Then all you have to do is keep it up daily and wait for the one post that will go viral. If you put as much into promotion as I suggest, one post going viral will lead to an avalanche of new viewers of your old posts that you have worked on. however, if you have been lazy and you get lucky and your viral moment finds you with just a handful of uninspiring posts, you mis your chance to turn those new viewers into long term fans. So you need to be strategic. But it all starts with that first step. Make it today.