Working from his own inspiration, this famous artist creates paintings based on Navajo mythology and stories.
His great-grandfather, a medicine man, raised him, imparting the stories and lore of Navajo tradition.
After art school and college, David returned to his home in Keams Canyon, and began a notable career depicting memories of those childhood teachings.
He expresses his vision with great care and respect, because his always aware of the sacred nature of the symbols and information in his paintings.
This exquisite painting is inspired by the winter ceremony of the Nightway Chant, featuring Blue-Faced Yebechei’s.
It is an immensely solemn and important ceremony, extending over nine nights: The dancers and participants gather around a large bonfire, during the cold evening and night.
Here, the artist has shown a Yebeche’i at the left, and a female to the right.
These figures are the only clearly defined parts of the painting; the rest is a colorful and agitated impression of heat and light, dark skies, smoke, and mystery.
The technique is expert, the confident result of an artist is full control of his medium, and how to use it to express the subject and emotions he is portraying.
Seeming to rise out of the mists below, the chanting figures are beautifully detailed, with feathers, turquoise necklaces, blankets, hair and faces – even their breath, in the cold air – real and natural.
Down below, in the mists that suggest the spiritual quality of the figures, signs of the four sacred mountains of the Navajo, in colors that are meant to refer to the four seasons and geographic directions, stand out with razor-sharp clarity.
A spiral symbolizes the path of life, and water.
Above and around the chanters, the splendidly painted canvas explodes in gorgeous color and churning movement.
The work is impressionistic, expressionistic, and realistic, all at once; a tribute to the artist’s talent and skill.
To gaze at this painting is to fall into the artist’s world of mesmerizing spirituality and beauty.
It is a remarkable painting.