Monday, April 1, 2013

Scale Model Figure Painting – Shawnee Chief Pucksinwah:

One of the hobbies I enjoy the most is painting these resin or white metal cast figures of historic personalities.  This one is of a Shawnee War Chief named Pucksinwah, the father of Tecumseh.  Not someone you would want to meet in a dark alley.  He was an avowed enemy of the white man.
His village was Chalahgawathaor Old Chillicothe, just north of Xenia, Ohio, along the Little Miami River, east of Dayton where I grew up.  We used to go camping and canoeing on that river.  My mother lived in Springfield, Ohio so I would always drive past the site of this village north of Xenia on my way to visit.  U.S. 68 is historically a Shawnee trail running the length of Ohio.  It is also part of the old stage coach road and is still a nice road to drive.
Both Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton were held prisoner at this village and Kenton was forced to run a gauntlet here. Pucksinwah waged war on Daniel Boone and his friends for invading and settling into the great and sacred hunting grounds of Can-tuc-kee to the south.  Much Tomahawking and scalping ensued.  He actually captured Boone once and took him and seventeen other Kentuckians back to his village.  Most were executed in not very nice ways.  Boone escaped when the Shawnees took him to Fort Detroit to sell him to the British.  The British who wanted to hang him as a rebel.  Pucksinwah was killed at the Battle of Point Pleasant October 10, 1774 fighting Lord Dunmore’s British volunteers from Virginia.

“Pucksinwah shook his head sadly. To the very marrow of his bones he knew there could never be a true peace between whites and Indians. As surely as summer follows spring, the whites would not stop at the river valley of western Pennsylvania. Inevitably they would spread down the Spay-lay-wi-theepi -- Ohio River -- to settle in the great and sacred hunting grounds of Can-tuc-kee. The Shawnees from the north and Cherokee from the south might share the bounty of that land below the great river, but no tribe -- nor white man! -- must be permitted to take up permanent residence there.“

The figure was given to by my mentor Bob Knee, who was giving me figure painting lessons.  Bob was a Grand Master with the Atlanta Military Figure Society and the author of the book Color Theory and Application.  Bob passed away in 2007 and we miss him dearly.
 I’ve been a member of the society for over fifteen years now and have learned a great deal about oil painting from all of them.

The finished bust is about four inches tall and was cast in resin by a company called Pony Soldier.  The figure was first painted in acrylics as a base color and then painted over with artist oils to give it life like flesh tones with shades and shadows.  The eagle feathers were cast out of resin and came with the kit.
The Native Americans of this period and this area and period wore jewelry in the form of large earrings, nose rings and necklaces made of shell, bone or glass trade beads.  I was inspired by the  paintings of Native American by Robert Griffing.  I scratch built the earrings out of brass wire formed around metal tubing and then soldered them together and painted them.  The conical points or cones hanging from the bottom of the earrings were made from the metal foil that comes wrapped around wine bottles.  The paint I used was designed for model jet airplanes with a polished aluminum finish.  I painted the beads of the necklace in flat pastel acrylic colors.
It was a great figure to paint and enjoyed to process.  A big part of the fun for me was researching the history and learning about the area where I used live.  I think I’ll go watch Last of the Mohicans one more time.


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