How One of the Navajo Nation's Most Important Artists Got His Start

Acts of kindness are usually done without any thought of personal gain or any idea of what they could lead to. Sometimes they are simple, solitary gifts; sometimes they can change a life. 

Jimmy Toddy was born in 1928 near the Wide Ruins Trading Post in Arizona. As a young child, he developed an interest in drawing, initially copying and adding to rock paintings found on the canyon walls near his home. 

When he was in grade school, he met Bill and Sallie Lippincott, the trading post owners at Wide Ruins. He was the kind of kid who was always drawing something, and the couple wanted to encourage him.  They set up a small table in the trading post and provided him with paper (usually pieces of butcher or wrapping paper) and colored pencils.

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The Other Half of Maria Martinez

Thursday, September 20, 2018 10:46 AM

The Other Half of Maria Martinez

Maria is deservedly considered the “Potter of San Ildefonso” because of her long and illustrious career and her part in creating the black on black pottery that made her famous. Her polishing technique created the first “gun metal” finish and her legacy is etched in clay. 

 Not much is said about Julian, her husband, who was also key in created the beautiful pottery that he signed with his wife. He worked with anthropologist Edgar Lee Hewett researching traditional designs. He later modified these designs to create unique patterns that he used to paint the mat black finish designs on Maria’s pottery. 

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The World's Master of Oil Wash Painting

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 9:31 AM

The World's Master of Oil Wash Painting

When Albert Dreher began painting fine art, following a successful career as a commercial artist, he was looking for something different, something that would make his work unique. 

He found it when he developed the “Oil Wash” technique. The simple thing to know about this style is that it allows him to create beautiful paintings that jump from the paper. His favorite subjects are Ancestral Pueblo (that is the politically correct name for “Anasazi”) ruins. His work is a combination of free-flowing paint and precise images.

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"A Celebration of Life"

Wednesday, July 4, 2018 3:17 PM

For several years, Peter quit painting and focused on canvas art, sewing animal figures out of canvas and decorating them with feathers, beads and acrylic paints. He still makes these fun pieces and we are proud to carry them. 

I kept asking him when he was going to start painting again and last year he broke out the easel and reached into his bag of creativity. His new pieces are happy and fun and reflect his positive attitude.

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An Artist You'll Be Glad You Heard About!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018 11:30 AM

An Artist You'll Be Glad You Heard About!

This last year I met an amazing, interesting and talented artist that we are looking forward to sharing with the you. This young man and his talent are for real. I would like to share his fascinating journey towards becoming a great artist.

Shawn was born in 1978. His early years were all spent at Cove, Arizona on the Navajo reservation. When he started first grade, the family moved to Newcomb, on the highway between Shiprock and Farmington. It was here that he has his first memory of drawing.

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More on J.B. Moore and his Disappearance

Monday, April 30, 2018 8:30 AM

More on J.B. Moore and his Disappearance

After our email last week where I stated that J.B. Moore sold the Crystal Trading Post in 1911 and disappeared, possibly as the result of a scandal, I received a couple of emails. This one is from Mike Ryan, co-author of “The Great American Turquoise Rush 1890-1910.

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Peter Ray James Returns to Painting

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 6:47 AM

Peter Ray James Returns to Painting

We met Peter Ray James nearly thirty years ago. Not only is he an incredibly talented artist, he is an amazing human being, always reaching out to help other people.


We had our first show in the gallery for this Navajo artist back in 1990. He is a graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and also attended the Parson School of Design in New York. At the time, he painted large, colorful canvas paintings that dominated a space. He was a successful artist at Indian Market and the Heard Museum show. Peter had the world in front of him.

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Shonto Begay, Painting Navajo Life and Making it Universal

The first time I really took the time to look at Shonto Begay's work was in the 1980s when I was judging Navajo weaving at the Santa Fe Indian Market. Back in those days, and really, still today, there are not many Navajo weavings entered at the Market. 

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40 Year Old Art Collection

Wednesday, July 6, 2016 1:07 PM

40 Year Old Art Collection

In May of this year, a collector we have worked with for many years contacted us about a small collection of very nice Indian art that he had decided to sell. We picked the paintings up in Denver and are featuring them this Thursday night, along with a few other unique paintings we received about the same time. Most of these paintings were collected 40 years ago. They range in price from $250 to $2500.00 and include works by Pueblo Indian artists, Navajo painters and even a few Plains pieces.

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