“Spring Awakening” Sandpainting

Zachariah Ben


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Zachariah Ben, son of the famed Joe Ben Jr., is a young artist that is following in his father’s footsteps in more ways than one.  Not only is he learning the traditional ways from Joe, he is learning the artistic ways as well!

From the precise lines, to the beautiful, natural minerals that he grinds into the fine sand for his paintings by hand, his talent and technique are unmistakable hallmarks of his family’s name.

Here, in what Zach has titled “Spring Awakening”, you can see the love that he pours into each of his paintings.

In Zach’s own words, “This is a design that derives from ‘storm pattern’ from Navajo textiles. I put my own story behind it.  The zig zags are lightning. The stars are the spring constellations.  The red leaves are hibernating plants waking up to the rain and sound of lightning.”

On the edge of each of the four storm patterns, there are bits of vibrant blue Lapis Lazuli, a new material for this young artist, that Zach ground into a fine sand.  The blue symbolizes the rain, which is bringing the hibernating plants back to life.

The deep red of the sandstone leaves stands bright against the creamy salmon background of the storm pattern, which was achieved by mixing sandstone and dolomite together.

The yellow around the star in the center of the painting, and the orange of the artist’s signature in the bottom right hand corner, are varying shades of ochre, again ground by hand by the artist himself.

This is a wonderfully contemporary version of an age old symbol, and would be the perfect addition to any collection (or the perfect beginning to one!)

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