This work overlaid with watercolor and gouache is Miller’s earliest drawing in the suite. The treatment of the trees, and what looks to be wagons in the background, suggests that this work may have begun as a field study. Although the background is amorphous, the figure is well-delineated from the tassels on his buckskin to his well-modeled face. He is dressed simply, with a full feather bonnet, richly draped blanket and full quiver of arrows, an ensemble that is made more elaborate in later versions of the suite. The figure’s relaxed posture is enhanced by the warm brown tones of the paper and gouache.
Many of Miller’s field sketches and early drawings were completed using toned paper and a corresponding palette of monotone colors. In addition to cutting down the effect of the sun’s glare on the paper, this choice allowed him to place his shadows and highlights more deliberately, creating a wider range of values in his composition. Setting the range of values in the field allowed Miller to work more efficiently from his studies once he returned to the studio.
Emily C. Wilson
LL: AJM. UR: “Indian Guide–trying the Ford”; formerly on mount: No 94
The artist; [?]; [Edward Eberstadt and Sons, New York, NY]; H.J. Lutcher Stark, Orange, TX, 1959; present owner: Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, Orange, TX, by bequest, 1965, accessioned to the Stark Museum of Art, 1978