The Comanches - Lords of the South Plains - were one of the most feared of all Indian tribes. In the late 18th Century it was estimated there were around 45,000, one of the most numerous tribes, but numbers declined so that by 1870 only 8000 were left. The low point came in 1920 with census figures of only 1500. Present day numbers are around 15000.
Comanches were renowned as magnificent horsemen, more at home on a horse than on foot, and had a reputation - in addition to that of ferocity and cruelty - as excellent horse breeders. Before the coming of the whites they waged war against the Spanish and later the Mexicans and took many captives, some treated as slaves others eventually adopted into the tribe.
At the high point they roamed an enormous area which covered present New Mexico, Southern Colorado, North-Eastern Arizona, Southern Kansas, Oklahoma and most of North-West Texas. Their home territory was known as Comancheria and they resisted white encroachment - often described as the Comanche barrier to settlement - for many years. The Comanches and Texans especially hated each other and dreadful hostilities continued between them until the final surrender of Quanah Parker in 1877. For a good history try Wikpedia. I have several books of which `Comanches' The Destruction of a People by T.R.Fehrenbach is excellent,and `The Comanches' Lords of the South Plains by Ernest Wallace and E.Adamson Hoebel another. Quanah Parker, son of a Comanche chief and a white captive woman is one of the most famous individuals, see `Empire of the Summer Moon' by S.C.Gwynne. He later became a wealthy cattleman and celebrity.
Left Hand - Comanche Warrior circa 1900
Edward Curtis the famous photographer and author of the monumental `The North American Indian', took most of his photographs beginning around 1895. By this time the Indian wars were over but memories were still raw. Much resentment remains to this day, especially on the present day reservations. This photograph may have been taken around 1900 or a little later. I know nothing of this individual other than he was a tribal elder.
Left Hand -Waterford 16" x 12" 140lb (300gsm) Not
I first made a careful pencil drawing using a mechanical pencil 07 with a 3B lead. Beginning with the eyes I painted the features first. Skin colours were various mixes of Cadmium Red Pale (Rowney), Quinacridone Rust (Graham PO48), Raw Sienna, Cobalt Blue and a little Burnt Umber all (mainly) mixed on the paper.. The fur hat is mixtures of Quinacridone Gold (Daniel Smith PO49), Raw Umber and Raw Sienna. The shirt is Cerulean Blue and Gold Ochre (W & N PY43). I wonder of Hap will approve of the skin colour?