Native American Paintings by Sharon Brening

Sharon takes off on journeys back to Navajo land, Hopi or to pueblos and villages in New Mexico with the encouragement of her own family. She has formed lasting friendships with many of the families whose children she paints portraits of; some of whose portraits she has painted over and over throughout the years. Each portrait sold helps compensate the family as well.

  • Dyani was presented a perfect ear of corn in Shungopavi which is one of the first Hopi villages established on Second Mesa. Dyani is wearing a knee-length dress called a manta. A manta fastened at a woman's right shoulder, leaving her left shoulder bare. Missionaries did not think this dress style was modest enough, so in the 1900's many Hopi women started wearing blouses underneath their mantas. This style is still in use today. Unmarried Hopi women wear their hair in elaborate butterfly whorls, while married women wear theirs in two long pigtails. Hopi means “peaceful people”. Hopi is such a special place for Sharon Brening to visit. The Hopi are among the most ritualistic people in North America, with much of their ancient ritual still intact
    • Original Painting SOLD
    • Limited Edition Giclée Prints - 12 x 24
  • Gathering Traditions

    $495.00$6,500.00
    The southwest is full of wide-open beautiful space. This is the area around Shiprock, New Mexico, a hub for trading with local people. Many of the children I paint were born here at the Shiprock hospital. The people live so remotely and in such a vast area Shiprock seemed to be a central location. Skye Blue has been modeling me since she was an infant. In this painting she is with her sister Breezy Summer. Their outfits are made from elk hide, all hand fashioned by the grandmother and family. There is a blue-ribbon award on Skye’s dress. Breezy’s dress is now part of my Native dresses.
    • Original Painting Available - Oil on linen
    • Limited Edition Giclée Prints - 30 x 40 | 16 x 29
  • Another of my favorite gicleé prints titled “A Little Patience”.  Turtles are the oldest symbol for Mother Earth in Native American culture. I believe that a trusting attitude and a patient attitude go hand in hand. Patience is not just about waiting for something... it is about how you wait, or your attitude while waiting. Turtle travels his own path in his own time. Turtle also represent security, solid grounding, and support. Slow, steady, strong, wise with age, protective, and unshakeable, Turtle appears the very model of settled universal order. No wonder Thunder and Breezy’s Mother calls her family her “Little Turtle Clan”. Turtle travels close to the earth, intimately connected with the currents of Mother Nature’s energy. Moving slowly means it has all the time to appreciate all her creations. We can follow this example, when we take the time that is always available, when we move more slowly along our own paths and enjoy the journey. We can learn to ground ourselves in the nurturing and protective energy of the earth and to flow with its energies at a pace that ensures what we focus on can be achieved. Thunder Cheii and Breezy Summer reside in Northern New Mexico with their family.  They are also being taught their old traditional Native American ways that Mother Earth is governed by a set of principles, laws and values. I have a great respect for the families that I work with, trying to keep life in balance with the modern ways.
    • Original Painting SOLD
    • Limited Edition Giclée Prints - 18 x 18
  • "Grown men may learn from very little children, for the hearts of little children are pure and therefore the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss." - Native American proverb This painting is of Wild Shaunuwa at 2 years of age. He is clad in buckskin pants and moccasins that his Grandfather made him. Wild just caught his string of fish and ready to head home. Good thing for this adorable boy, he has the bow grandfather fashioned out of wood. Take a close look at the little bear cubs that are scampering around the waterfall. For the wood bows, the native people used oak, Osage, juniper, mesquite and other whitewoods and hardwood shrubs. A short, stout bow was used pretty much by all tribes. While it did not shoot as far as a long bow, that was not the idea. American hunters relied on stealth, tracking skills, and patience to get close to their quarry in order to shoot an accurate lethal shot. Breastplates had originally been worn as armor and for protection in both battle and hunting. In the hot climate of the Southwest, they were often worn over a bare chest. During winter months and in colder climates, they were often worn over a shirt. Many believed that, by wearing one made in a specific fashion, a spiritual advantage was obtained during hunting and battles. Breastplates are hand crafted from what is called hair pipe beads.
    • Original Painting SOLD
    • Limited Edition Giclée Prints - 20 x 16
  • Thunder Cheií is featured alone, at age four, in the forest with his bear friend. Thunder is Diné (Navajo) with Mother’s clan being ‘Cliff Dwellers’ and Father’s clan being ‘Mud Clan’. Maternal Grandfather’s clan ‘Nooda’; which is Ute tribe and paternal Grandfather’s clan is ‘Chi’shii’; which is Chiricahua Apache (Apache: `great mountain'). He resides with his family in northern New Mexico. The bear is a Native American symbol, being free in spirit as the great wind, and grander than its mass. To match that magnitude is the quality of unpredictability in the bear. The bear is a massive animal who forages seemingly peacefully in the woods on berries and bush. Then if provoked in certain ways, the Native Americans witnessed a ferocity expressed from the bear that (understandably) would produce terror. In one way we get a picture of tranquility with the bear, and on the other, it is a symbol for warrior and power. Even tribes inclined towards peace honored the spirit of a warrior, and witnessing the bear seemed to embody that somewhat blind, powerful surge of courage and strength that every warrior wants to tap into. Thunder was given a powerful name at birth. Therefore, it is in his nature to use his voice or make noise to always be heard when in need of something. His little warrior spirit is in connection with his bear cub totem.
    • Original Painting SOLD
    • Limited Edition Giclée Prints - 16 x 20
  • Eagle Child

    $495.00$695.00
    Thunder’s Mother titled this painting Eagle Child. She said, "Our Chei's (grandfathers) pray to the creator as the sun rises to greet a new day!" Thunder is always looking and pointing upwards to the sky and heavens. After finishing this painting, I noticed a magical eagle that appears in his face. Eagles have very spiritual meanings. The majestic Eagle totem is symbolic of being a supreme visionary. Possessing the power of exceptional vision, he is master of timing and accuracy. Each Eagle brings the essence of expanding your spirit flying high and free. When Eagle spirit animals appear in your life, you are being asked, if not challenge to go deeper into your spiritual quest. Eagle symbol meaning is challenging you to take your idea and bring it into reality; just as Eagle can spot it’s pray from very far distance and use its ability to remain completely on its mission. You must take action on your visions; this is your greatest destiny. Eagle spiritual meanings remind us to be victorious, proud and strong. Do all these things with great humility... that humility of nature that is beautiful and grand yet does not boast. This is the symbolic meaning of Eagle shown to us by Great Spirit.
    • Original Painting SOLD
    • Limited Edition Giclée Prints - 15 x 30 | 12 x 24
  • This is one of my favorite gicleé prints. The turtle is the oldest symbol for Mother Earth in Native American culture. Therefore, this story “Little Turtle Race” is a message or a reminder to all of us to slow down. Take care and honor Mother Earth, and to show our gratefulness. Turtles do not race, only us humans! Turtle travels his own path in his own time. Turtle also represent security, solid grounding, and support. Slow, steady, strong, wise with age, protective, and unshakeable, Turtle appears the very model of settled universal order. No wonder Thunder and Breezy’s Mother calls her family her “Little Turtle Clan”. Thinking back on the fable about the turtle and the hare - Faster, stronger and bigger does not always equal better, and is not always the best method to obtain a goal. If you are dedicated, focused and work hard to fulfil your aim, it is unimportant whether you are slow or not for eventually, you will succeed.  Turtle travels close to the earth, intimately connected with the currents of Mother Nature’s energy. Moving slowly means it has all the time to appreciate all her creations. We can follow this example, when we take the time that is always available, when we move more slowly along our own paths and enjoy the journey. We can learn to ground ourselves in the nurturing and protective energy of the earth and to flow with its energies at a pace that ensures what we focus on can be achieved. Thunder Cheii and Breezy Summer reside in Northern New Mexico with their family.  They are also being taught their old traditional Native American ways that Mother Earth is governed by a set of principals, laws and values. I have a great respect for the families that I work with, trying to keep life in balance with with the modern ways.
    • Original Painting SOLD
    • Limited Edition Giclée Prints - 18 x 18
  • My Brother

    $495.00
    I started painting Skye when she was just and infant so I am thrilled that I can now introduce her younger sister Breezy to all my friends and collectors. Wild and Thunder are the brothers whom I also capture on canvas. The siblings are Diné (Navajo) with Mother’s clan being ‘Cliff Dwellers’ and Father’s clan being ‘Mud Clan’. Maternal Grandfather’s clan ‘Nooda’ which is Ute tribe and paternal Grandfather’s clan is ‘Chi’shii’ which is Chiriquaha Apache. In the painting, there is a pitch pot on the left side of Skye. This is almost a lost art; these bottles are made of, or sewed with sumac, willow, or other pliable twigs. A small loop of plaited horsehair is woven into the jar at either side. An awl is the only instrument used, and no particular care is taken to weave very closely, as the jar is rendered watertight by a covering of pinon gum over the complete inner and outer surface. On the opposite side of the canvas are ears of corn, a sacred plant in the Navajo perspective. It provides not only food, but it also plays an important role in prayer. Corn is used to make many dishes in the Navajo culture, and it is used as sacrifices and offerings in prayers or ceremonies. The pollens and husks of corn are used for blessing and offerings for prayer. It is so important that the Navajos believe that if you lie down in a corn field, you will become sick. Corn is believed to be their second mother. Corn is their eternal mother from birth to death. The most widely known use for corn is in the coming of age ceremony for girls, where a fire pit is lined with cornhusks and the fire is cooking a large corn cake. Both Skye and Breezy are wearing traditional Navajo clothing. The three-tiered skirts made of velveteen represent the three stages of a woman, infancy, womanhood and the elder years. The sashes are hand woven and worn under the silver Concho belts. Both girls are adorned with the squash blossom necklace, given to them in early childhood.
    • Original Painting SOLD
    • Limited Edition Giclée Prints - 16 x 20
  • I feel honored to have won the gold award for “I Saw and Eagle Fly”, and excited to be the first female to receive the award from Western Artists of America at the Pearce Western Art Museum. This is a portrait of Aaron, he is the grandson of the late world famous artist Doc Tate Nevaquaya.. “Aaron’s grandfather was very accomplished and traveled the world, I feel Aaron will be the next Doc Tate”, Audrey Whitefeather, mother of Aaron. In the 1970s, the Metropolitan Museum of Art came to Apache, Oklahoma and did a documentary about Doc Nevaquaya and his flutes. Charles Kuralt has visited him for CBS. He has appeared at the Smithsonian Institution, as well as in concerts and lectures throughout Europe and the Far East. After Doc received the National Heritage Fellowship Award, he received letters of recognition and congratulations from former President Reagan. The Comanche people took pride in their hair, which was worn long and rarely cut. They arranged their hair with porcupine quill brushes, greased it and parted it in the center from the forehead to the back of the neck. They painted the scalp along the parting with yellow, red, or white clay (or other colors). They wore their hair in two long braids tied with leather thongs or colored cloth, and sometimes wrapped with beaver fur. They also braided a strand of hair from the top of their head. This slender braid, called a scalp lock, was decorated with colored scraps of cloth and beads, and a single feather.
    • Original Painting SOLD
    • Limited Edition Giclée Prints - 16 x 20
  • Are You My Brother Too?

    $550.00$795.00
    The painting is of adorable little Breezy Summer. For any of you that are familiar with my artwork of Native American children, she is Skye, Wylde and Thunder’s little sister. Little Miss Breezy is a delightful whole 3 years of age in this painting. Breezy’s family resides in northern New Mexico. The buckskin dress she is wearing is handmade and beaded by Elana Pate. It is intricately beaded with turtles as the cradle board and doll also. Breezy’s Mother has been teaching all her children at an early age that all God’s creatures must be respected because “we are all related.” Breezy is captivated with Mr. Turtle. . . Are You My Brother Too?
    • Original Painting SOLD
    • Limited Edition Giclée Prints - 30 x 20 | 24 x 16
  • Nourishing Kindred Hearts

    $650.00$1,400.00
    I started painting Skye when she was just and infant so I am thrilled that I can now introduce her younger sister Breezy to all my friends and collectors. Wild and Thunder are the brothers whom I also capture on canvas. The siblings are Diné (Navajo) with Mother’s clan being ‘Cliff Dwellers’ and Father’s clan being ‘Mud Clan’. Maternal Grandfather’s clan ‘Nooda’ which is Ute tribe and paternal Grandfather’s clan is ‘Chi’shii’ which is Chiriquaha Apache. In the painting, there is a pitch pot on the left side of Skye. This is almost a lost art; these bottles are made of, or sewed with sumac, willow, or other pliable twigs. A small loop of plaited horsehair is woven into the jar at either side. An awl is the only instrument used, and no particular care is taken to weave very closely, as the jar is rendered watertight by a covering of pinon gum over the complete inner and outer surface. On the opposite side of the canvas are ears of corn, a sacred plant in the Navajo perspective. It provides not only food, but it also plays an important role in prayer. Corn is used to make many dishes in the Navajo culture, and it is used as sacrifices and offerings in prayers or ceremonies. The pollens and husks of corn are used for blessing and offerings for prayer. It is so important that the Navajos believe that if you lie down in a corn field, you will become sick. Corn is believed to be their second mother. Corn is their eternal mother from birth to death. The most widely known use for corn is in the coming of age ceremony for girls, where a fire pit is lined with cornhusks and the fire is cooking a large corn cake. Both Skye and Breezy are wearing traditional Navajo clothing. The three-tiered skirts made of velveteen represent the three stages of a woman, infancy, womanhood and the elder years. The sashes are hand woven and worn under the silver Concho belts. Both girls are adorned with the squash blossom necklace, given to them in early childhood.
    • Original Painting SOLD
    • Limited Edition Giclée Prints - 30 x 40 | 24 x 32 | 18 x 24
  • High Alert

    $695.00$3,400.00
    Wylde is featured in this delightful painting. The scene takes place in Colorado, near Steamboat. One never knows what is out in the forest. Thank goodness Wylde has the little Woodchucks watching out for him.
    • Original Painting Available - Oil on linen
    • Limited Edition Giclée Prints - 18 x 24 (Limited Edition of 25)

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