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I created this painting "backwards". Usually I draw a design first and then paint what I have drawn. For Heyoka, I painted the raven feather first by layering and glazing colors over colors to create the raven's beautiful black with its purple and blue sheen. Then I created the design by removing, "undoing", some of the paint I had put down. Heyoka was the first painting in the Medicine Feathers series, and was painted to honor the raven and the heyoka. For the Lakota people, the heyoka are the backwards people, the sacred clowns, the contraries. Most things in life move in a clockwise motion -- for better and for worse. Within our clockwise lives, we do things that damage ourselves and others. The heyoka move in a counter-clockwise motion, "backwards", energetically "undoing" the damage we have done and bringing the energy of life back into balance. While their presence can sometimes create an uneasiness within people, that angst is necessary to expose the truth of a person's heart, and urge a change of behavior. It shows where there is work to be done, so a healing can take place in order to set things right. The heyoka ease the seriousness of difficult situations by creating untimely laughter. To an outsider, the laughter might seem inappropriate, but native people know that this is a form of medicine -- to be too serious or sad for too long is out of balance. The heyoka bring a counter energy that creates healing and helps to restore balance to the nation. I continue to learn and heal daily from the teachings of the heyoka, and I hope this painting encourages you to look within yourself to find areas of imbalance, and inspires you toward healing in your life.

This is a 7x20 giclee print on watercolor paper, reproduced from an original watercolor painting. The inks and paper are archival quality to ensure lasting beauty. Additionally, this print is available in a smaller version of 4x10 and larger custom sizes to accommodate your particular wall space. Prints on canvas are also available, as well as note cards, all at corresponding pricing and shipping.

I retain the copyright to all of my art work. Buyers do not have the right to use my art work for commercial use or any other purpose beyond their own home decor. I do not give permission for my art works to be copied, altered, enhanced or changed in any way. Purchasing a print or other art work from me does not mean you are purchasing the copyright. All designs and compositions are owned by me.

Medicine Feathers series "Heyoka" sacred teachings for healing


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  • Handmade item
  • Materials: painting, watercolor painting, print, giclee print, canvas, canvas print, note card, note cards, watercolor print, archival print
  • Ships worldwide from United States
  • Feedback: 18 reviews
  • Favorited by: 36 people