This small watercolor is similar in conception to Nez Perces, CR# 472 and to the series of paintings of a woman sewing a war or hunting shirt (CR# 472, 472A, 472B), but the composition is quite different. Here two women sit side by side under a bark awning near the shores of a body of water. Each bows their head attentively over a moccasin that they presumably stitch. The figure of the woman on the right is only vaguely sketched, suggesting that Miller used this as a compositional study. The woman at left is awkwardly posed, with a right leg that appears to be too small, and not coherently connected to her body. Miller has, however, spent time articulating the background and lavishly coloring it with bright shades of blue, green, orange, red, and chartreuse, perhaps in an attempt to work out color harmonies.
Although the overall composition appears successful, Miller does not appear to have repeated it, perhaps selecting the composition in CR# 472 because it prompted his narrative about war shirts, warfare, and a more stereotyped and sensational portrayal of Indian life.
On mount: Making Moccasins
The artist; by descent to Louisa Whyte Norton; [Old Print Shop, New York, NY, 1947]; [Edward Eberstadt and Sons, New York, NY]; William R. Coe, Oyster Bay, MD; present owner by gift