Tuesday, March 27, 2018


This whole exercise in learning about the states revolves around painting an image found through cruising the state on Google maps.  This time I found the painting I wanted to work on the very first day I went cruising.

As in most things that involve aesthetic decisions it is unclear exactly why I was drawn to this image but it said 'ARIZONA' to me loud and clear and after a month of investigating Arizona it still does.  Once again half the proceeds from the sale of the painting will go to the ACLU.

Nancy Herman
12" x 24"
oil on stretched canvas


Friday, March 23, 2018


If you go to Arizona there are two hotels that look quite interesting.  The Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix known as the "Jewel of the Dessert" built in 1929 and designed by a draftsman of Frank Loyd Wright's, Albert Chase McArthur, brother of the owners.  Many thought that Wright designed it, but he claimed the credit should all go to McArthur.  Wright was brought in as a consultant for four months in 1928 to help with the Textile Block construction.  There certainly are echos of the Taleisin influence and actually some Wright features have been added over the years.  For instance, reproductions of the geometric 'sprite' statues designed by sculptor Alfonse Iannelli for Wright's 1915 Midway Gardens project in Chicago are placed around the property.

The other old Hotel is the WigWam, in Litchfield, also opened in 1929 as a guest ranch with enough rooms for 24 guests.

Since then it has been updated to fit the times

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


While traveling around Arizona I came upon the Arizona State Museum in Tucson.  I think you might like a bit of a tour around their collections.  

I noticed that they had some Katsina Dolls but few pictures, so I went Googling to see more. At the Heard Museum in Phoenix there is a large collection of these dolls and two videos about their history and information about their carving.  Since Katsina Dolls are the "messengers of the Universe", it seems worth while taking a careful look.  It is interesting that the dolls are carved by men and given to little girls in infancy to teach them the responsibilities of women.....hmmm.  Precursors of Barbies?
Here are some examples, not necessarily found in the museum.  They are quite beautiful, sometimes funny and sometimes scary as they were often used as threats to keep young women in line.

Saturday, March 17, 2018


Probably the biggest industries in Arizona are mining and cotton.  And in recent years tourism, as it is home to the GRAND CANYON.   If you have never been to the Grand Canyon HERE is a Smithsonian video that will give you a feel for the place.

Arizona was the last contiguous state to join the union in 1912.

Arizona has the greatest number of acres designated as Indian Tribal land of any state of the union.

Oraibi, a Hopi Indian village dating back to at least 1150 AD, is believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the United States.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Since we are in Cowboy and Indian territory I thought it would be interesting to find out when all this interaction between Cowboys and Indians actually took place.

First of all in order to have Cowboys you have to have cows.  They are not native to the United States but were brought into Texas around the 1700's by Vaqueros, Mexican cattle 

Check THIS site out for a funny and fact filled description of some of the popular incorrect ideas about Cowboys.

HERE is an interesting site about the Oregon Trail.  This link sends you to the Indian page.

Indians following wagon train

So, according to these sources, the Indians were decimated by the millions by white soldiers and disease.  They sometimes actually were cowboys, didn't attack many wagon trains at all, and actually guided and traded with the settlers moving west.

Monday, March 12, 2018


Arizona's original inhabitants were Indian tribes.  

THE HOHOKAMS who distinguished themselves by building system of canals which were later rebuilt my the Mormans around the Phoenix valley, and this lovely pottery which is defined by a distinct Plain, Red, and Decorated buffware tradition.

Hohokam Pottery from Car Grande

THE MOGOLLAN tribe occupying a very large area including Arizona.  These people lived in pit houses originally, but later developed pueblo style buildings.

A subgroup of the Mongolian is the Mimbres culture which is well known for this striking pottery.

The third group of Native Americans were the Ancestral Puebloans who, as you might expect are well known for their Pueblos which they constructed all along the four corners area.  And amazing structures they are accessible by rope or mountain climbing!  They also have some wonderful art work, apparently no written language however.  Here is a very interesting discussion of language as a reflection and then a determining factor in a culture's world view. ( Scroll down to LANGUAGE AND CULTURE)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


Where is Arizona exactly?  Well, it is in the Southwestern part of the U.S. with a 389 mile border with Mexico.  In fact it was at one time a part of Mexico.  It is one of the Four Corner states meaning that it borders Colorado, Utah and New Mexico at one point.  You would think this might happen more often but this is the only place it does apparently.  It also shares a border with California and a small portion of Nevada.

Most of the Four Corners region belongs to the semi-autonomous Native American nations, the largest of which is the Navajo Nation, followed by Hopi, Ute, and Zuni tribal reserves and nations.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


From the bone chilling cold of Alaska to the warm, sometimes blistering heat of Arizona,
we are off to investigate more of the great variety of our country.

Just to start off without any facts I put my little yellow figure down willy nilly into the state on Google maps and landed in Bylas, which turned out to be within the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation.

Here are some shots from my trip down the main highway.  I was pleased that I got some paint worthy shots so early in my trip.