Hosteen Etsitty grew up on the Navajo reservation and learned the art of sand painting at age 17, from elders. He has been perfecting this art for more than 25 years. In order to create permanent forms of these sacred, temporary designs, he had to perform Navajo ceremonies and prayers. The Holy People had to bless his wish to create sand paintings similar to the sacred ones, in order to provide for his family. Hosteen uses naturally colored sands and gathers the different colored materials from various parts of the Navajo reservation. His designs hew closely to the traditional ones, but, of course, differ from those used in actual ceremonies.