Sunday, 22 August 2010


Shot-in-the-Eye Oglala Sioux 1898 courtesy

Shot-in-the-Eye was an Oglala Sioux who fought in the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, where he was wounded and lost an eye. What he was called prior to this battle is unknown. This was the famous battle in which General George Armstrong Custer, a very controversial figure in American history, was killed together with nearly 300 troopers of the 7th Cavalry. The Sioux, with some Cheyennes and possibly Arapahoes,, amassed a huge force of several thousand warriors and overwhelmed the numerically inferior cavalry. Custer had earlier split his force for which he has been heavily criticized. This was the last desperate attempt by the plains indians to maintain their traditional ways and within less than two years they were confined for ever more to reservation life. The above photograph, which has been edited, was taken at the US Indian Congress Trans-Missisipi and International Exposition in 1898. He died about 1910.

My initial drawing together with  work on the features and skin tones.

Shot-in-the Eye. Waterford Not 16" x 11"

I used Cadmium Red Light and Yellow Light together with Ultramarine Blue plus Cerulean for the features and skin tones. The red colour is Windsor and Newton Permanent Carmine, otherwise, Raw Sienna, Quinacridone Gold (Maimeri), Raw Umber and touches of Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna plus some Viridian (Rowney), Brushes used were nos 2, 4, 6 Kolinsky sable plus my Da Vinci Artissimo 44 Kolinsky mop.


Mick Carney said...

First rate Peter. Great job on this one.

hap said...

Hello Peter,
Wonderful technique! I have only two criticisms both minor technicalities. first American Indians are darker complexioned both naturally and from a life in the harsh sunlight. Second is the blue eye, More nordic than indian I'm afraid! The painting itself is magnificent and thank you for sharing it with us!

Peter Ward said...

Thanks Hap. One of the problems with painting from black and white photographs is that they are very dark generally and are difficult to interpret. The ones I am using are also very old when photography tecniques were in their infancy. One of my interests is the North American Indian and my understanding is that complexions varied with some lighter skinned ranging to very dark. I've also read that some Indian tribes had blue eyes, but I know that didn't include the Sioux.On the photo Shot in the Dark appears lighter than some others. As for the eyes I take your point and that is easy enough to remedy but I'm not tampering with the rest! Generally though I'm not aiming for an exact, highly realistic finish.

hap said...

Hello Peter!
I've never seen a Native American with blue eyes (at least one that was full blooded)nor heard of any tribes where that is a trait. While complexions will vary somewhat, Native American's are almost always darker than Caucasians. Some almost have a weathered copper tone. Your work is magnificent, and I would not tamper with what you've already accomplished! I love your style, loose and suggestive. Keep up the good work!

Penny said...

Like your style very much, it's a lovely lively piece of work, but am amazed that you have managed to keep the colours clean although using some opaque. I paint a lot of watercolour portraits, but always stick to transparent colours and encourage my students to do so too. Keep up the good work.