by Eric Whollem
copyright by the artist
Back when I was in college I discovered the work of David
Villasenor, a Navajo sand painter. At that time I thought to
myself, 'These paintings show that there is hope for art.'
In 1973 I began gathering earth, bark, charcoal, iron pryrites,
sand and other natural materials to make paints from scratch.
I would use milk glue, beeswax, polyvinyl resin, and acrylic
emulsion for a binder for the pigments. I never used linseed oil,
the usual ingredient in artist's oil paints, as I never cared much
for the odor of oil paint.
I even explored inks made from berry juice and other vegetable
The stamp above shows a detail of one of my earth paintings,
painted in Feather Falls, California in 1976. Depicted is a
Native American shaman. I stylized the figure in a way to give
him archetypical power. Behind him in the rocks are red lines
that are based on the sort of design commonly seen in Rock Art
throughout California. The figure has a large head. This is a
reference to the Big Heads, who are sacred to the Maidu--beings
represented in their traditional dances. He hold forth one arm,
showing his one-pointedness.
A Maidu friend had given me a book on Aboriginal earth
painting; and I was inspired to return to the roots of human
The Maidu have traditions of earth painting, though such art
was usually found in body painting in traditional dance. Acorn
meal paint was used to paint the home in the old days. Ooti
is the acorn, a staple food of the Maidu.
Readers interested in my approaches to Earth Painting should view this link:
See my complete gallery of Artist Stamps here:
This link will take you to my posts on Shamanism:
Those interested in my articles on the Concow Maidu should check out:
Artist stamps, artistamps, cinderella stamps, cyberstamps, fantasy stamps, faux postage, mail art, micronation stamps. Shamanism; pictographs and petroglyphs.