Navajo Chicken Pull – Painting by James King

I am doing this new exciting oil painting titled; Navajo Chicken Pull. It’s an old Navajo pass-time with the winner on horseback pulling the chicken out of the soft ground first while he (she-in this painting) is still on the horse.

Navajo Chicken Pull – Painting by James King

Speed and Horsemanship is the key. I have heard stories of this event and have put this painting together thru the story from my aunt Lucy. Painting is 50% from completion with more people looking on..

Happy Valentine – Painting by James King

James King (Woolenshirt)

James King with youth navajo name Biee’Di’cloo’ (Woolenshirt) from Bit’ahnii birth for Naaneesht’zh’ clan.Raised on a farm along the San Juan River.

In 1951 he was born in Shiprock, New Mexico
As a young member of the Dine’ (NavajoTribe) I started experimenting with shoe polish and housepaints.
The outhouse wall was artistic drawing board. Soon it was endless what you can do with house paints.

James King (Woolenshirt) Website:

Center of Attention Painting by Patrick D. Hubbell

Center of Attention Painting by Patrick D. Hubbell

Nizhoni Fine Arts Competition Winner – 2nd place

Navajo Nation Fair 2012

Happy Valentine – Painting by James King

Happy Valentine - Painting by James King

Honorable Mention – Nizhoni Fine Arts Competition
Navajo National Fair 2012

Navajo Hostin Nez painting by Carl Moon

Navajo Hostin Nez painting by Carl Moon

Hostin Nez painting by Carl Moon

ca. 1937-1943
Born: Wilmington, Ohio 1879
Died: San Francisco, California 1948
oil on canvas
29 5/8 x 23 3/8 in. (75.1 x 59.5 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of Mrs. Florence O.R. Lang

Harrison Begay – Patriarch of Navajo Art

Harrison Begay who’s Navajo name is (Haashké yah Níyá, that means “Warrior Who Walked Up to His Enemy”)

He was born in White Cone, Arizona on the Navajo Reservation in White Cone, Arizona sometime around 1914 to 1917. He said He’s never been sure about the date.

His mother belonged to the Zuni White Corn Clan, and his father was Walk Around Clan / Near Water Clan. Young Harrison herded his family’s flock of sheep near Greasewood, where he still lives.

In 1933, he entered the Santa Fe Indian School to study art under Dorothy Dunn.
He is correctly known as the patriarch of twentieth century Navajo art.

In his art he depicts religion, life and animals of the Navajo native American people.
He painted children, animals, shepherds, weavers, and native American ceremonies, including the “Squaw Dance” and several Yei Bei Chai spiritual dances.

Navajo Squaw Dance by Harrison Begay

Painting of Navajo Squaw Dance – Date created: circa 1990 by Harrison Begay (Haskay Yahne Yah [Warrior Who Walked Up to His Enemy]), Diné (Navajo) – Media/Materials: Watercolor from an acrylic base.

His favorite medium was watercolor from an acrylic base.  This medium enabled him to capture the soft pastel colors for which he is so well known.

In 1936 Begay painted Navajo Horse Race at the school and sold the piece to Charles Mc C. Reeve for twelve dollars.  It is now in the Southwest Museum connection in Los Angeles.

Begay won two grand awards at the Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial and has been a consistent winner at state and tribal fairs. In 1954, he was awarded the French Ordre des Palmes Académiques. In 1995, he was awarded the Native American Masters Award by the Heard Museum. In 2003, he won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, the organizers of the annual Santa Fe Indian Market.

Begay returned to the Navajo reservation in 1947, and has made his living as a painter ever since. Begay has continued to paint in the Dorothy Dunn “Studio style” throughout his long career – he was still painting (in acrylics) in 2004, at age 90.

Works from his career are in permanent museum collections around the world almost every important public and private collection of Native American art, including the following:

  • Museum of the American Indian
  • Smithsonian Institute
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Museum of Northern Arizona
  • Heard Museum
  • Museum of Indian Arts and Culture
  • Wheelwright Museum
  • Southwest Museum
  • Philbrook Museum
  • Gilcrease Museum
  • National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
  • The Museum of Western Art
  • Desert Caballeros Western Museum
  • Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
  • Great Plains Art Museum

Begay was awarded the 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Southwestern Association of Indian Artists, organizers of the annual Santa Fe Indian Art Market.

His portrait was featured in the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum of the American Indian in 2004.

Harrison Begay biography from Encyclopedia of World Biography
Harrison Begay at Indigenous Research Center
Harrison Begay in the Grove Dictionary of Art
Biography at Medicine Man Gallery

Talking God Painting by David John

Talking God by David John - Navajo

Talking God by David John – Navajo
Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum

Navajo creation story – the Talking God
This, the Talking God, is the chief character in Navajo mythology. In the rites in which personated deities minister to a suffering patient this character invariably leads, carrying a four-piece folding wand, bala­l, and uttering a peculiar cry.

As yet there was neither sun nor moon to shed light, only dawn, circling the horizon in the four colors ”white in the east, blue in the south, yellow in the west, and black in the north. Deeming it necessary that they should have light to brighten the world, and warmth for the corn and the grass, on their return to the earth’s center one of the chiefs made a speech advocating the creation of a sun and a moon.

Navajo creation story – the Talking God
Navajo creation story – The First World “Nihodilhil” (Black World)

Navajo creation story – Nihodootlizh – Second World (Blue World)

Navajo creation story – Nihaltsoh -The third World (Yellow World)

Navajo creation story – Nihalgai – The Glittering or White World


Navajo Creation Story – House God