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, natural parrot feathers combine with russet and darkly iridescent, exotic fowl feathers, and polka-dotted guinea fowl feathers.
The result is a controlled eruption of texture, form and color that echoes and frames the gourd itself.
In a curved oval, like the form of many of the feathers that surround it, the gourd “face” is painted to resemble richly patinated leather.
The ruddy hue warmly complements the cool-colored feathers, and repeats the russet ones.
Painted on the gourd is a large, black thunderbird figure, outlined with white dots that repeat those in the guinea fowl feathers.
A real turquoise is set for the eye.
Despite the traditional symbol of the thunderbird, this is not an authentic mask for any tribe, but a design of the artist’s imagination.
That artistic vision has created a strong, handsome three-dimensional wall piece, with a darkly earthy palette and vibrant design.
Alone, or as part of a gallery arrangement of various art work, this is spectacular.