Another powerful portrait of a Plains Indian, by this gifted, award-winning artist and activist.
Bennie’s wife is Kiowa, and he often uses her heritage as inspiration, as here.
Front and center, the figure confronts us with a stern expression, ceremonial paint, blue-beaded necklace, and a voluminous feathered headdress.
Seemingly in close-up, as if we were nose-to-nose, he holds our attention with an unflinching, steely gaze.
Given the title of the painting, this impressive figure may be a warrior, or a medicine man, intent on bringing rain, and thunder in a time of drought.
As always, the painting technique is impeccable in every detail, including the facial features and the piercing eyes, the blue-black sheen of the feathers, the delicate strands of white hairs among the black, and the little white feathers that dangle from each large feather, like rainfall.
His gorgeous purple blanket is beautifully draped over his shoulders, adding a touch of rich color.
The predominant darkness of the painting is illuminated by the highlighted face, in hues of yellows and reds, which are complementary colors to the purple.
The spotlight, however – or, perhaps firelight – is on the intense expression of the figure.
His powerful stillness is emphasized by the cascade of feathery lines and white accents that seem curl and fall, almost dancing, all around him. He seems oblivious to their movement.
That majestic and determined expression is mesmerizing; we are caught in his gaze.
Whether the thunder he conjures is literal, or the noise of hundreds of hooves riding to battle, the figure is strong and confident, and the painting is, also.
A masterful composition, with flawless technique and color.