Thursday, August 19, 2010


Hi Everybody,
Here are three on location paintings done last week before I left on my Wyoming trip. All three are Arizona high country scenes.

Tranquility Lake, 9X12 oil/canvas panel


Seen Better Days, 9X12 oil/canvas panel


View from Table Mountain, 9X12 oil/canvas panel


"Tranquility Lake" was done early morning at a small lake on the property of a local cattle ranch. The people running the place have been so very nice and supportive about letting me roam around the place and paint what I want. It's this artist's dream come true.

"Seen Better Days" was done at the same ranch around noon. They have a number of great old buildings in disrepair, but just oozing with personality. This buildings days are numbered, I'm told, so I'll be back soon to do more of this one.

"View from Table Mountain", just behind our home is a plateau known as Table Mountain. The views of the valley and surrounding area seem to go on forever in 360˚. It was an extremely windy day on top of Table Mountain, and even my Soltek held down with boulders was blowing over. So I painted with one hand holding the easel in place. Wind that strong and constant is really disconcerting after a few hours, and I can tell you I was glad when I was finished with this one.

On a more personal note, I'm pleased to announce that my painting "Hell For Leather" was selected as a Finalist in Raymar's Art Competition for July 2010. The judge for this month was Randall Sexton. My thanks to Randall and Raymar for this honor.

Thanks for looking, Steve

Friday, August 6, 2010

Buffalo Heart Studio

Native Head Dress, Buffalo Heart Studio

Hi Everybody!

Today's post is going to be different from any I've posted before. As a western painter, I have to keep a good number of articles of western clothing on hand. Chaps, chinks, guns,hats..... anything I might need to use as reference in a painting. The cowboy clothing is easy to obtain. But the period pieces for Native Americans or mountain men are harder to come by. Harder to get still, are pieces that are historically accurate. I do my research and know a little bit about a lot of things (as the song goes), but I don't know enough to be an expert in period clothing. That's when it helps to have a "Guy". Someone who can take your request for a piece and give you exactly what you need. Today's collectors are a savvy bunch. Particularly ones who collect a certain period or genre, like Native American art. Not only do they require the work to be top notch, but they know what they're buying. I want to share with you my best kept secret and secret weapon, Dave and Jan Hagstrom at Buffalo Heart Studio. They've been doing this work for some time, but the website is brand new. This is what they write on their site about what they do,

'Buffalo Heart Studio has been owned and operated by Dave & Jan Hagstrom since 2000 however Dave has been making creations of this type since the mid 1970's. We create historically accurate, museum quality Plains Indian artifact replicas for collectors, western artists, reenactors, interior designers, a few selected stores and galleries, museums and the film industry. Everything is done in-house including our braintanning so we retain complete control of the finished piece. We are proud of our work and we take it very seriously. This is what we do...this is how we make our living'.

that's quite a claim, but they back it up! Their creations are nothing short of spectacular. I know of several world class artists who use Their services and trust in their expertise to deliver museum quality show pieces which they use in their art and display in their home. Recently they delivered to me a stunningly beautiful head dress. I will be using it for future paintings, but I also display it in a place of honor in our home. And no, I didn't receive or ask for a discount, to put up this post. I just believe in what he does. And I want the rest of you artist's out there, who are in need of a good affordable source for accurate Native American or mountain man costumes, to have one.


'Dave Hagstrom was born in 1947 in northwestern Wyoming not far from where he now lives which is 60 miles from the east entrance of Yellowstone Park and 15 miles from Montana. He was a taxidermist and tanner for many of his teen and adult years and has worked as a hunting guide in Wyoming and Tanzania. While Dave makes a living at creating these historically accurate artifact replicas, he is also a painter in acrylics and sculptor in bronze plus a Northern Traditional powwow dancer. They spend a good deal of time with friends and extended family on the Crow rez in Montana dancing, hunting and attending sweats.

Jan Hagstrom was born in New Mexico but has lived in Wyoming since the mid 1970's. She is an accomplished beadworker, seamstress and works on many of the pieces created by Buffalo Heart Studio. Jan is also an herbal healer and a multi award winning baker. Her talents and abilities are a large part of what makes up the business and she is the glue that keeps it all together.'


Here are a few examples of Buffalo Heart Studio's work, starting with the head dress they created for me.

Feather Headdress

Approximately 32 hand painted golden eagle feathers tipped with natural or dyed horsehair and ermine spots. Cap can be old felt hat (historically accurate from 1860) or buckskin. Back of cap has hand painted eagle body feathers and fluffs and Sun Dance plume. Lazy stitch beaded brow band with hawk bells. Split and tubed ermine drops and ribbons at the temples. Split and decorated buffalo horns available.


Now some pieces are very labor intensive and don't come cheap. Native American shirts are one of those. The amount of work that goes into one of these shirts in ridiculous! They can make you any tribal shirt you need. Dave will research it to make sure it's accurate.

Crow Hair Shirt

Approximate replica of a Crow hair shirt. (Please note that this shirt has been sold and we are now in the process of making a new one which will have some differences. Description is of the new one) Braintan deer. Fringed with about 100 real human hair locks wrapped with colored thread. Many ermine drops split and sewn into tubes. Shirt is painted with earth and mineral paints. Crow style beaded arm and shoulder strips. Beaded tradecloth and buckskin neck flaps front and back. Back of shirt is very close in appearance to the front. Only a very important man in the Crow Nation would wear a shirt such as this.


Northern Plains Bowcase & Quiver

This one is a Northern Cheyenne style replica bowcase/quiver made with braintanned deer. Lazy stitch beaded panels at both ends of quiver and bowcase. Please note that beaded panels and the fringe on both the bowcase and quiver are on one side only which was not uncommon in the old days however some were on both sides and we can do that as well. Both seams wrapped with tradecloth and laced with braintan deer. Tradecloth backed carrying strap has two beaded panels. Three historically accurate, sinew wrapped, iron trade pointed arrows and non-shooter bow. Altered commercial buckskin model is also available. Other tribal style and designs are available.


Painted Buffalo Robes

This one is painted with acrylics however we can and have painted them with natural pigments. Good soft robes. As you can see this one is of a buffalo hunt but we can also paint horse raids or battle scenes or anything else you might want. Subject matter is historically accurate. A design like this can be done on
deer as well. We also offer painted elk robes. If you prefer braintanned robes let us know and we'll check on current prices and availability at that time. Stake holes can be added for slight additional charge.


Split-Horn Ermine Headdress (Blackfoot style replica)

Several tribes used the split-horn ermine headdress but the Blackfoot headdresses were different in some ways. For example, most used split buffalo horns and other horns were made of wood and wrapped with wool tradecloth. Two other identifying qualities are that all ermine pieces are split and sewn into tubes including those on the cap and side drops which is very time consuming. The other is that very rarely did they use a beaded brow band. Trailers were usually full length but some were shorter like this one and others had no trailer but used extra long ermine skins instead. Please note, this one pictured here was a custom order created for a well known western artist and we agreed not to make another exactly like it for other artists. Pronghorn antelope horns are available instead of split buffalo horn. Full trailer instead of half length with approx. 50 hand painted in-line golden eagle tail feathers available for an additional charge.


Gros Ventre Style Shield

Approximate replica of a shield that belonged to Bull Lodge. This is the only shield we've done that is a very close reproduction of an original. Most shield designs came to men through dreams and visions so we don't like to copy them closely. There are some changes on this shield that are not like the original for that reason. Buffalo rawhide wrapped with red tradecloth on a willow hoop. Twenty-one hand painted golden eagle feathers, two beaded medicine bags, hawk bells and two horsehair locks. Hand and arm carrying straps. Paints are ground up earth and charred wood pigments applied with willow and porous bone brushes in the old way. Deer rawhide over willow hoop version also available.


Well, there you have it. I hope you've enjoyed this posting and will visit Dave and Jan at the Buffalo Heart Studio website, not only to buy, but just to browse. Please pass this info along..... I believe it's important that we support those people who make it possible for us to create accurate works of art.

Thanks, Steve

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Rancher

The Rancher, 14X11 oil on linen panel

Hi Everybody,
I decided to take an afternoon and do a quick portrait study. Something that wouldn't take a week or two to finish and throw caution to the wind. In my latest painting, The Rancher, I worked quickly and with more paint than I'm used to putting down. But in the end, I think I got the look I was going after. There is nothing more exciting for me to look at than a painting in which it's pretty obvious that the painter enjoyed him or herself while doing it...


I have to thank my sister-in-law for being responsible for this painting happening at all. Ann's brother's family came up for the Prescott Rodeo on the 4th of July and we were all having lunch at a local BBQ joint, when I spotted this gentleman having lunch with his family too. I leaned over and quietly told them that he had the look I was looking for and that I would love to paint him. But I was too shy to go up and ask a perfect stranger if I could paint a picture of him, so we left without saying a word. We spotted him again when going into the rodeo, and again a few rows away from us in their seats. On the way out, I had stopped to get a refreshment, but my sister in law spotted him again, and taking it as a sign from the Gods, went up to his wife and introduced herself and asked if Jim ( I later learned was his name) would be open to meeting me, an artist who would like to paint him. She came up to me and asked if I would like to meet my model. Jim was as nice as could be and we talked for a while. He is a rancher and roper and was very gracious in granting my request for some photos. It was too crowded there, but we met up at the local courthouse square, where we got to know each other a bit and he posed for me. Thanks Jim for being so willing to help out an artist... your print is on it's way. And thanks to Danyelle too for being my nerve on this one. I now have a specialty business card that I give away to prospective models so that they know I'm on the level and ain't some kind of crackpot. The front of the card has a portrait I've done so they can see my work, and the back not only has my info, but also a short model release that they can sign and date for my records.

original photo

I kept the background more abstract but also retained the greens of the pine tree in the background. It's a nice neutral color which compliments skin tones. The colors are broken and unmixed in the thicker passages. Also I worked in some of the reds/pinks from his shirt into the background. I did that same mixing into the figure, adding some of the background colors.

Detail 1

Detail 2

Detail 3

Detail 4

Detail 5

Thanks for looking and let me know what your thoughts are. Happy painting, Steve