I am an Oneida Indian Artist from Wisconsin specializing in watercolors. I work with American Indian subject matter and ideas. My painting style has been referred to as “magic realism”. I use a very controlled watercolor style, which is often mistaken for airbrush. Applying this style to my subject matter results in a peculiar mystical quality.
After initially working with more general American Indian and wildlife subject matter, I decided to explore stories and traditions from my own Woodland culture. I like to translate traditional Iroquois beadwork designs into patterns and borders in my paintings. I also try to use the traditional meanings of different designs in creating each piece.
I became interested in traditional medicines that resulted in my “Earth Medicine” series, featuring various healing plants such as sage, cedar, and trillium.
Among my more recent work is a series about the thirteen names the Oneida give to our grandmother, the Moon. I have also created a series of paintings commemorating the Treaty of Canandaigua of 1794 and celebrating the traditional Iroquois harvest festivals of the year. These incorporate raised beadwork and manipulated paper as well as significant words from the treaty.
My heritage is an important part of my work. I am a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, one of the six Nations of the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee), and belong to the Turtle Clan of that tribe.
The turtle, therefore, figures in all of my paintings, either prominently or, in some cases, hidden, but always present. Its symbol, signifying long life and creation, has become my trademark.