Native American Art
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Native American art featuring Donald Vann and Judy Larson - cherokee indian art at Great Smokies Fine Art Gallery in Cherokee North Carolina. Original art and prints pottery jewelry and western art.

Donald Vann
By combining his love for art and his Cherokee heritage, Donald Vann is able to create moving images that speak of the Indian way of life and capture the hearts of art collectors worldwide. He is recognized for his haunting images of his people's heritage, especially his portrayal of the Trail of Tears. He was proclaimed "one of the best known Indian artists working in this century" by the Cherokee National Historical Society. The Smithsonian Institution's Museum of the American Indian honored him with their top award for watercolor painting.

Judy LarsonJudy Larson
Judy Larson received a Bachelor of Science degree in Commercial Art from Pacific Union College in Northern California, then spent the next 17 years as a commercial artist, illustrator and art director. In 1988, influenced by her love of nature and animals, Judy devoted her time to wildlife art. Her primary focus in each of her paintings is the animal, with the horse as a recurring subject. Her unique approach to her work is through the use of scratch board—a technique that can render magnificent detail, but one that requires infinite patience. Scratch board, an old, but little used medium, consists of a smooth, thin surface of hardened China clay applied to a board. The subject is then painted solidly with black India ink to create a silhouette. Now the exacting work begins, engraving the image into the surface of the artwork. Judy works with X-acto blades, changing them every few minutes to produce as fine a line as possible. Once the subject has been totally scratched, it is a finished black and white illustration, ready for the artist to add color. Scratch board is a demanding medium, one that Judy has used masterfully in developing her unique approach to wildlife art.

David Behrens
David Behrens captures his audience with candid realism and a journey into Native American history. Born of Sicilian and German descent, he made his first connection with Native Americans and their history as an Illustration major at East Carolina University and seeks to use his art to bring forth a sense of healing. David resides in Charlotte, North Carolina and his artwork is displayed in galleries throughout the United States.

Michael Coleman
A native of Utah, Michael Coleman is a prominent Southwestern landscape painter whose traditional style is influenced by 19th century painters Henry Farny, Thomas Moran and George Inness and by 19th and 20th century animal painter, Carl Rungius. Coleman is known for his landscapes of rich colors in a combination of realism and atmospheric styles, often with animals depicted and the suggestion of natural harmony between the artist, the animal, and the wide world.

Robert Duncan
Robert Duncan was born in Utah and began painting at age eleven. He spent summers as a boy on his grandparents' ranch in Wyoming where his grandmother gave him his first set of oil paints. It was there that he grew to love the country, the open spaces, and the rural lifestyle depicted in his art, prints and posters. Robert has painted art, prints and posters professionally for about 25 years. He studied at the University of Utah and worked as a commercial artist before his full-time dedication to the fine art of the American West.

Martin Grelle
Martin Grelle’s work reaches far beyond his Central Texas home, conveying the spirit, drama, beauty and vastness of the American West.  Whether painting a Native American in a dramatic setting or a working cowboy on the range, he captures the essence of the West in his historically-accurate, picturesque, peaceful, yet compelling, images. He is proud of the Native American part of his ancestry and studies diligently to portray Native American culture accurately and sensitively.  Working primarily in oils on canvas, he combines his figures with the landscape in a painterly style rich in vibrant color. Martin has been profiled in many publications, including Southwest Art, American Cowboy, Art of the West, Western Horseman, The Equine Image, Art Talk, Persimmon Hill, and InformArt. His work has also been featured on the covers of several magazines and on various historical novels published by the University of Nebraska Press. Elected tothe Cowboy Artists of America in 1995, he is one of the youngest members and won the People’s Choice Award at the CAA exhibition in October 2002.

Robert Griffing
Robert Griffing describes himself as a painter of 18th century scenes that involve or feature the Eastern Woodland Indian. His paintings focus on a time that marked the beginning years of chaos and uncertainty for the Woodland tribes as they struggled to survive the encroachment of Europeans. Griffing hopes that his paintings shed some light on this time period that has been neglected through society's romance with the American West.

Bonnie Marris
Bonnie Marris has taken an unusual path into art; she developed her talent by portraying animals “from the inside out.” While she was a student at Michigan State University, Bonnie illustrated several major books. One volume she worked on was a leading expert’s mammalogy text that contained several hundred drawings and detail studies. This massive project attracted the attention of noted zoologist George Schaller, who invited Bonnie to prepare the art for posters that would support his worldwide rare animal relief programs.
Beyond academic training and emotional involvement, art requires another element for which there is no substitute: experience. Each year, Bonnie makes two major trips, and countless smaller ones, to observe and learn about the wildlife she loves.

Gary Montgomery
Gary Montgomery lives in Oklahoma and is of Seminole heritage. He is a member of the Masters Category of the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee, Oklahoma. He has won numerous awards and is a participant in the prestigious Aspen/Snowmass Celebration for the American Indian benefiting the Smithsonian Institute's Museum of the American Indian. His artwork is exhibited throughout North America, Europe and Japan. His paintings convey emotions and gentleness, along with mystical and spiritual feelings.

Karen Noles
Karen Noles` oil paintings feature the domestic life of the 19th century Native American, especially the early reservation time period. For accuracy`s sake and in order to convey realism, Karen spends weeks and sometimes months researching each painting, collecting reference and museum books on early Native American life and visiting museums to photograph their exhibits. One of the aspects Karen enjoys most about painting this time period is the depiction of the bead and quill work for which the Native Americans are so well known. Another detail which adds realism to her work is her utilization of Native American models and wild animals in the photo shoots for her paintings.

Richard Red Owl
"My idea of racial harmony is expressed with an easel and a smile."
Born on the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota, Red Owl is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Red Owl's artistic expressions are self-taught. He prefers discovering for himself without formal instruction. Red Owl has shown his work in several states. He participates annually in the Red Cloud Art Show in Pine Ridge. Over the past two decades he has collected numerous awards, including the Best Depiction Award in 1993 and the prestigious Oscar Howe Award in 1994. In the late 1960s, he helped found the Oglala Sioux Artists Association.

Mary Roberson
Mary Roberson began to pursue a life of art in earnest in 1991 after raising three children. Lacking studio space, Roberson converted her van into a studio and painted extensively from nature. Roberson spends months at a time in Yellowstone National Park studying wildlife, and in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming painting the land.

Jeanne Rorex Bridges
Jeanne Rorex-Bridges’ formal training as a student under Master Cheyenne Artist Dick West began the development of her award-winning painting style. Combining this training with the unique history of her rural Eastern Oklahoma roots and her human interpretation of the traditional heritages and history of her Cherokee ancestors, her work has become nationally known and appreciated. Her distinctive use of color creates works which are strikingly bold, yet peacefully soft. Her paintings, while strong in subject and feeling, are surprisingly simple and calming. The quiet reserve of the women in her paintings conveys the power inherent in all women's contributions to history and to the future.

Sean Ross
When encountering Sean Ross's art, viewers are often struck by a tantalizing counterpoint. Images of Eagle and Booger mask dancers, purification ceremonies, and visionary fantasies stand side by side with religious symbols and rock musicians in the artist's studio. Many of his images reflect his Native heritage; as an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee, he is steeped in the ancient ways and traditions of his people. And yet, his images fit no conventional patterns.

Kirby Sattler
The work of Kirby Sattler is fueled by an inherent interest in the indigenous peoples of the earth. His current images evolve from the history, ceremony, mythology, and spirituality of the Native American. Kirby’s ultra-detailed interpretations examine the inseparable relationship between the Indian and his natural world, reflecting a culture that had no hard line between the sacred and the mundane. The methodology for Kirby’s distinctive style of realism involves the painstaking layering of multiple underpaintings with transparent washes. This technique results in canvases that are rich in defined textures and surfaces.

Howard Terpning
Howard Terpning worked prolifically and successfully as a commercial artist for 25 years. He became restless, however — though financially rewarding, the commercial work was no longer satisfying to him as an artist. In 1976, he moved to Tucson to become a Western painter, and in just a few years he won the respect and admiration of his peers, and a vast following for his works. Today, Howard is one of the most lauded painters of Western art. He has received countless awards from the Cowboy Artists of America, the Hubbard Art Award for Excellence, the National Academy of Western Art’s Prix de West and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gene Autry Museum.


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Great Smokies Fine Arts Gallery
828-497-5444
1655 Acquoni Rd. Suite 3, Cherokee NC, 28719

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