Over the past five or so years that I’ve been on a hiatus from making fibre art, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about my Muscogee ancestry all the way back to the Mississippian period. The Muscogee, also known as the Creek Confederacy, are descendants of the Mississippian culture peoples, who flourished between 800 AD and 1600 AD. The Muscogee were a confederacy of tribes consisting of Yuchi, Koasati, Alabama, Coosa, Tuskeegee, Coweta, Cusseta, Chehaw (Chiaha), Hitchiti, Tuckabatchee, Oakfuskee, and many others.
I have been influenced by much of the artwork that has survived and been documented. I have also read many of the stories and legends which have survived orally and were collected throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Alabama Indians’ creation story tells of the beginning of things –
“Once, long ago, before the time of the oldest people,
water covered everything.
The only living creatures above the water
were some small animals and birds
who occupied a log raft
drifting about in the great ocean. . . . . . .”
First World, Neocolor crayons on paper, 25 x 25 cm, 2014
I began this acrylic painting last weekend on a rainy Sunday. In the summer of 2015 I took a painting workshop led by Nocona Burgess in which we learned about painting onto a canvas primed with black gesso. I found a couple of blank black canvases recently during a studio tidy up.
One of the tips I learned from Nocona was how to mask off the canvas to get a super straight and crisp line.
A crisp tip
I surrounded this first world with colors from the Medicine Wheel.
In the Beginning there was only Water, Acrylic on canvas, 40 x 40 cm, 2017
For my current work in progress I’m using Sennelier Oil Pastels on 250gsm mixed media paper. I love working with my fingers and how the colors can be blended.
Water covered everything, Oil pastel on paper, 30 x 30 cm, 2017
I’m going to the art store tomorrow to get some turpentine so I can see what that does to the pastels. I also plan to pick up some more square canvases.
I suddenly have a lot of ideas and images for paintings and works on fibre waiting patiently to come out. It is as though everything I have been taking in over the past five years has had a chance to settle, find roots and is growing once again towards the light of day.
Sources: Creek Confederacy :: Muscogee