art masterpiece: russell

Sun River War Party by Charles Russell

Sun River War Party by Charles Russell

About the Artist
Charles Marion Russell was born March 19, 1864 in Missouri. When he was a boy he was fascinated with Cowboys and Indians. He read whatever he could about them and was determined to become a real cowboy. Growing up he had a horse named Jip and got in trouble from his mother for drawing pictures of cowboys and horses on his walls. He is a self-taught artist.  Maybe that is why he painted things just as he saw them, REALISTIC. Charles Russell is famous for his detail, his storytelling and showing things in action.

What is happening in this painting? Indians are going to war

Who is in charge? We discussed what the Indian's are wearing to determine who was the chief and in charge.

What story is he trying to tell? This picture is a painting of Indians from a true cowboy’s perspective. This is how he saw them. Charles Russell told stories of actual events and people. Many stories of the West that he used in his work were legends he heard himself as a cowboy. Often his paintings leave you thinking “What will happen next?”

Here are some open ended questions I asked to spark discussions:
  • Can you imagine being inside this picture? 
  • Where is the light coming from? Do you see shadows?
  • What time of day is it?  How can you tell?
  • How does this painting make you feel? Sad, quiet, scared, why?
  • What kind of colors did he use? Warm or cool, do you know the difference?
Charles Russell is one the most famous western artists.  He was a real cowboy and is known as the "Cowboy Artist". He completed 4,000 works of art during his life.  I hope you liked Charles Russell’s work; realistic artwork made by a real cowboy.

Thank you for reading along with me today.

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