An Artist’s inspiration can come from anywhere. It’s a matter of looking at the world and letting your imagination go.
One Saturday, while working on some canvases as his two young boys watched television, Leland Holiday glanced at the screen and saw Bugs Bunny with a blanket wrapped around him.
The Navajo people wore wearing blankets for a couple of hundred years. Even today when attending cultural gatherings, they often wrap themselves in Pendleton blankets.
Leland let his mind wander, thinking about how a blanket-wearing Navajo animal would look. As an established folk artist, he looks at the natural world through a slightly different lens.
Of course, the animal could not just be wearing a blanket, it would have to be wearing turquoise jewelry and to really make the statement, a traditional flat brimmed Navajo style hat would be important.
He played with the idea for a while and then decided that the concept would work using the carved board paintings he does of animals.
He began to work a design and to select an animal. One of his favorite animals to carve and paint on boards is the raven, but that required the raven to take a different stance. A Navajo Raven would have to be standing, holding the blanket with his wings. He went to work.
The first Navajo Raven was finished a couple of years ago. Leland continued to carve and painting a wide variety of animals on boards. During that time, he evolved the idea of the Raven, standing as a dignified Navajo elder might look, surveying the scene around him. Then one day, along with a group of animal paintings, he brought in something different.
We looked at the paintings, one by one, and unstacked them, until we came to the Navajo Bald Eagle. He was a majestic bird, captured in the robe of a man, joining the Raven as the second of the Navajo Animals.
Leland has thrown himself into the concept and today, we are releasing his first group of Navajo Animals, and yes, there is a Navajo Rabbit! He is joined by a Mountain Lion, a Deer, A Coyote (of course!) and many more. These are wonderful and exciting paintings, sure to bring a smile to your face, and to give you an appreciation of what can happen when you think out of the box!
Holiday is one of the most creative people I’ve ever known. He comes from a family of wonderful basket makers but chose a different direction for his art. His life has never been an easy one, but when he met an obstacle, he worked through it. Like most artists who succeed, he has been through his ups and downs.
When the art market was soft, he worked in the oil fields to take care of his family. His children are his top priority. Sometimes the pressures he has faced seem overwhelming, but his creativity and desire to create always pull him through.
We are happy to share these newest paintings with you!
If you go to the website to order one of the Navajo Animals and it is sold already, don’t despair. He will happily paint you the animal of your choice. It won’t be exactly like the one you missed, but it will be great! So don’t hesitate to give us a call and place an order!If you are interested in an animal that you don’t see and wonder if it could be depicted as a Navajo, let us know and we will ask him!