There are some artists who can capture a person as well as a photograph does, but because of the artist’s control of the surroundings and light, the painting better controls our focus and captures the imagination. Camila is such a painting. The artist is George Molnar. This young Navajo girl is decked out in a traditional dress, woven on a Navajo loom, with her patterned and hand sewn lace cuff shirt and her waist wrapped in a traditional woven belt.
She wears a traditional Navajo squash blossom necklace and a silver bracelet which, being a little large, has rotated on her wrist. She is enjoying a red sucker, but it her eyes, looking at something, that grab us. Is she waiting for the dances to begin at the Gallup Ceremonial or the Indian Market Children’s Traditional Dress competition? Maybe mom just told her not to get her hands sticky? Is that a look of defiance on her face? Is she saying, “You can’t have my sucker?”
George Molnar was born in 1953 and lives in Arizona. His art career has been defined by his control over the paint, creating reality on canvas and board. His oil paintings have captured many awards and his favorite subject, the Navajo people, reflects his desire to preserve images of a passing time.
I’ve never met him, but he has been one of my favorite artists for many years. Perhaps, it is the way he paints, but for the most part, I believe it is how he captures the essence and beauty of the Navajo.