Large Lightning Gourd Mask

D.R. Nance, Lumbee


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He started making masks of his own design from found, natural gourds when he worked the oil wells of East Texas.

Now, this gracious and charming artist lives in New Mexico and spends all his time creating these wonderful wall decorations.

This powerful example started with an unusually large gourd – still natural, although now he has to find farmed ones of the right sizes and shapes.

After locating a gourd (which is time-consuming, and not inexpensive, anymore) it has to be carefully sliced in half, and the inside seeds, etc. carefully scooped out.

Then, it must be dried, painted, decorated, and finished.

Oh, and he has to find the right natural feathers to decorate it, before even attaching them.

Here, long, blue-violet, parrot feathers combine with russet, exotic fowl feathers, polka-dotted guinea fowl feathers, and one vivid red parrot feather – all natural.

Pale, natural horsehair cascades down either side of the gourd “face”.

The result is a dramatic, but controlled, eruption of texture, form, and color that echoes and frames the gourd itself.

Part of the round gourd is painted to resemble richly patinated leather, and the ruddy hue warmly complements the feathers.

Above this, the gourd is painted a glossy black, with metallic copper paint outlining the rectangular eyes.

Dividing the black and ruddy areas of the gourd, are Two dynamic lightning shapes, in golden ochre, with bright red in between,

this is not an authentic mask for any tribe, but a design of the artist’s imagination.

That artistic vision has created a compelling, handsome three-dimensional wall piece, with a vibrant palette and design.

Alone, or as part of a gallery arrangement of various artwork, this will be spectacular on your wall.

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