Raymond Nordwall, Reflections of Horsemen , mixed media, 24 x 18.
By Bonnie Gangelhoff
For the 79th Santa Fe Indian Market poster image, Reflections of Horsemen, painter Raymond Nordwall, 34, drew inspiration from Native American history. “I looked a lot at the ledger- book drawings from the 1800s,” the Santa Fe artist says. “The books were kept by Native Americans who were sent off to prisons instead of reservations.” In the notebooks the prisoners portrayed various aspects of their lives including war exploits.
The ledger drawings were simple works depicted in colored pencils. Nordwall chose to paint the two horses purple and turquoise in his pastel and pencil monotype to evoke a similar spirit and pay homage to the past.
Nordwall, of Pawnee and Ojibwe descent, is known for his contemporary depictions of traditional Native Ameri-can cultures including warriors, dancers, and tribe leaders. For inspiration he travels regularly to visit the homelands of various tribes across the country. While on location he paints color studies in oil and then returns to his New Mexico studio to complete larger paintings, often employing vivid palettes and loose brush strokes.
Nordwall graduated with honors from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe in 1987. He has exhibited in galleries and museums across the country including the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, OK, and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City, OK. In 1999 he opened Nordwall Gallery & Studio on Canyon Road in Santa Fe, which features his Native American works as well as his landscape and wildlife paintings. The award-winning artist has exhibited at Indian Market for the past 12 years. “I love the act of painting,” Nordwall says. “That’s why I paint eight hours a day. It’s my therapy—the way I solve problems, and the way I get through life.”
Raymond Nordwall is represented by NordwallGallery and Studio, Santa Fe, NM.
Featured in “Portfolio: Tradition and Innovation” August 2000