THE FOUR GUARDIANS ACRYLICS ON CEDAR W/RED OAK FRAME SUMMER 2018
I could have died that night on the Hoko-Ozette Road in the summer of 1976. But luck, or fate, played a large part in saving my life. I had hitch-hiked from Shelton back to Ozette and made it part way down the road on the way back home to the site before night fall. I knew that I needed to find a place by the road to unroll my sleeping bag and bed down for the night. I thought I had found a perfect place, a wide spot by the bend in the road under a large rock outcrop. Once in my bag, I got a funny feeling that something just wasn’t right—so I got up and moved my bag a little ways off to the side, and then went back to sleep. Sometime in the night two cars came racing down the road and one of them quickly turned into the wide spot where I had initially placed my bag. I think they were playing “car tag” and the first car pulled in to evade its pursuer. Had I not moved my bag I would have definitely been killed in my sleep—and the people in the car would have never know what they had done. Now, I happened to have four pieces of Oregon grape root with me (it has many medicinal properties) that I was carrying back to Ozette since it doesn’t grow there. Once I realized I had been spared, I gratefully looked to these roots as my “guardian angels”. This painting was inspired by that night’s event. I painted my four guardians in the guise of whalebone club heads, like those found at Ozette and commonly used by warriors in Makah/Nuu-chah-nulth territories. I made the frame for this painting out of red oak using pegged, hand-joined, mortise-and-tenon construction methods. I used the Japanese technique (shou-sugi-ban) of charring and oiling the oak to finish the frame.