David Halbach, CA Emeritus
In 1985, David Halbach was inducted into the Cowboy Artists of America, the same year his painting Chippawa Hunter won the Purchase Award at the Buffalo Bill Historical Museum in Cody, Wyoming. The year 1986 marked his first place award for Region 11 in the Arts for the Parks competition. David was honored in 1990 with the Western Heritage Award given by the Favell Museum of Klamath Falls, Oregon, for excellence in portraying the West, past and present, in watercolors. His painting Heading Out appears in The West, A Treasure of Art and Literature by Watkins & Watkins.
A graduate of Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, David worked on Lady and the Tramp feature Disney film, taught art in the Los Angeles Unified School District and joined other artists in many invitational art shows and galleries. On his first invitation to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, he won the prestigious Silver Medal for his watercolor, Story Teller.
In 1995 David was contacted by National Geographic to help complete a film project for children. His paintings were used to depict the life of mountain men. In the summer of 2004, the U.S. Embassy asked to show one of David’s paintings in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, with the Arts in the Embassies Program, and his painting Forewarned was purchased by the Museum of Western Art in Kerrville, Texas. In 2006, David was selected as one of the top 100 artists in the 2006 Arts for the Parks Show in Jackson, Wyoming.
During the past 18 years, David has won numerous CAA Gold and Silver medals. In 2010 he won the Gold Medal for Water Solubles for his painting Awaitin’ The Cow Boss.
Source: Cowboy Artists of America
Fire that Talks
Artist: David Halbach, CA Emeritus (b. 1931)Description: Watercolor | Image Size: 16”h x 24”w; Framed Size: 25”h x 32 7/8”w
In “Fire that Talks,” Halbach isolates Indians on a vast plain who are using smoke from a small fire to send a message to distant comrades. The Indians are shown in the center of the canvas in full light, but shadows indicate that daylight will soon be waning, making signals such as this one impossible. The white puff of smoke emanating from the fire in the very center of the painting captures the viewer’s attention and immerses him in the unfolding story.
Just Makin’ It
Artist: David Halbach, CA Emeritus (b. 1931)Description: Watercolor (1997) | Image Size: 13”h x 23 ½”w; Framed Size: 22”h x 32”w
“Just Makin’ It” took home the Silver Medal in water solubles at the 32nd Annual CAA Exhibition & Sale at the Phoenix Art Museum in 1997. Dave Halbach masterfully captured the reflective quality of water and easily combined other textures such as the weathered wood of the barn and wagon, the horses’ coats, and that of the hay. The painting though executed in muted colors, has quite distinct scene details. Halbach effectively presented a narrative that is representative of just one of the many arduous and necessary tasks of ranching.
Evoking Clouds - The Snake-Antelope Ceremony - Mishongnovi
Artist: David Halbach, CA Emeritus (b. 1931)Description: Watercolor | Image Size: 12”h x 16”w; Framed Size: 18 ¾”h X 22 ¾”w
The Hopi Snake Antelope Ceremony is the grand finale of ceremonies to pray for rain. The ceremonies, conducted by the Snake and Antelope fraternities, last 16 days. On the 11th day, preparations start for the Snake Dance. For four days, snake priests go out from their village to gather snakes. On the 15th day, a race is run, signifying rain gods brining water to the village. Then the Antelope build a kisi, a shallow pit covered with a board to represent the entrance to the underworld. At sunset on the 15th day, the Snake and Antelope dancers dance around the plaza, stamping on the kisi board and shaking rattles to simulate the sounds of thunder and rain. The Antelope priest dances with green vines around his neck and his mouth, just as the Snake priests will later do with snakes.
The last day starts with a footrace to honor the snakes. The snakes are washed and deposited in the kisi. The Snake priests dance around the kisi. Each is accompanied by two other priests: one holding a snake whip and one whose function will be to catch the snake when it is dropped. Then each priest takes a snake and carries it first in his hands and then in his mouth. The whipper dances behind him with his left arm around the dancer’s neck and calms the snake by stroking it with a feathered wand. After four dances around the plaza, the priests throw the snakes to the catchers. A priest draws a circle on the ground, the catchers throw the snakes in the circle, the Snake priests grab handfuls of them and run with them to turn them loose in the desert.
Artist: David Halbach, CA Emeritus (b. 1931)Description: Watercolor (1987) | Image Size: 13”h x 22”w; Framed Size: 23 3/8”h x 31 7/8”w
One of several depictions by David Halbach of this important Hopi ceremony, “Snake” combines the artist’s ability to authentically capture the customs of the Hopi and to expertly render the surrounding landscape and village. Halbach shows that he is both a student of these important customs and a keen observer of the natural and man-made environment. He gives equal weight to the ceremony participants and the unique elements and formations of their surroundings presenting a complete picture of the people and the landscape.
When Up is Down
Artist: David Halbach, CA Emeritus (b. 1931)Description: Watercolor (1986) | Image Size: 12”h x 19”w; Framed Size: 21”h x 28”w
Halbach’s knack as a storyteller and visual historian of the West is fully evident in this picture of a frontier photographer setting up a portrait of a Plains Tribal Chief and his family. While the photographer tends to his subjects, curious onlookers surround the camera equipment. Note that the chief’s image appears upside down as it would during that time. Halbach has cleverly titled the #watercolor “When Up is Down”, a subtle nod to period authenticity.
As always, Halbach is careful to add these authentic details of the era, the location and the culture depicted. The carefully chosen colors range from vibrant to neutral and have been used advantageously to artfully depict the glancing sunlight and full shadows. Each element is handled well with the result being a fully realized vignette from the historical West.
Artist: David Halbach, CA Emeritus (b. 1931)Description: Watercolor (1997) | Image Size: 16”h x 24”w; Framed Size: 27”h x 35”w
When Talk Fails
Artist: David Halbach, CA Emeritus (b. 1931)Description: Watercolor (2004) | Image Size: 21.5”h x 29.5”w; Framed Size: 36.5h”h x 45.5”w
Artist: David Halbach, CA Emeritus (b. 1931)Description: Watercolor (1999) | Image Size: 22.5”h x 39.5”w; Framed Size: 37”h x 53”w
The Wuwuchim ceremony is part of the traditions of the Hopi Indians of North America. The history of this and other Native American cultures dates back thousands of years into prehistoric times. According to many scholars, the people who became the Native Americans migrated from Asia across a land bridge that may have once connected the territories presently occupied by Alaska and Russia. The migrations, believed to have begun between 60,000 and 30,000 B . C . E ., continued until approximately 4,000 B . C . E . This speculation, however, conflicts with traditional stories asserting that the indigenous Americans have always lived in North America or that tribes moved up from the south.
The historical development of religious belief systems among Native Americans is not well known. Most of the information available was gathered by Europeans who arrived on the continent beginning in the sixteenth century C . E . The data they recorded was fragmentary and oftentimes of questionable accuracy because the Europeans did not understand the native cultures they were trying to describe and the Native Americans were reluctant to divulge details about themselves.
The Hopi Indian ceremony known as Wuwuchim takes place in November and marks the beginning of a new ceremonial year in the Hopi calendar. The name is believed to have derived from the Hopi word wuwutani, which means "to grow up," and the initiation of young men into the sacred societies that oversee this and other Hopi ceremonies is an important part of the celebration. The tribal elders close off all roads leading to the pueblo, all fires are extinguished, and the women and children stay indoors. The initiation rituals take place in the underground chamber known as the Kiva , where the adolescent boys are gathered and where they participate in secret ceremonies that introduce them to Hopi religious customs and beliefs. Although visitors and even other tribe members are not allowed to witness these rites, they are overseen by a tribal chief who impersonates Masau ' U , the Hopi god of death and the ruler of the underworld. After they have undergone their initiation, the young men are treated as adults and allowed to dance as kachinas in other Hopi ceremonies throughout the year. Wuwuchim is therefore essential to the continuing cycle of Hopi ceremonial life.
The kindling of the new fire is the first ritual to take place during Wuwuchim. Other tribes observe this ritual around the time of the Winter Solstice , but the fact that it is part of Wuwuchim underscores the latter's importance as the start of the Hopi New Year. As the ceremony draws to a close, there are prayers, songs, and dances designed to ensure the safety and success of the Hopi people in the coming year.
Artist: David Halbach, CA Emeritus (b. 1931)Description: (1998)
Pelts for Provisions
Artist: David Halbach, CA Emeritus (b. 1931)Description: (1986)
When Up is Down
Artist: David Halbach, CA Emeritus (b. 1931)Description: Watercolor (1986) | Image Size: 11 ¾”h x 19”w; Framed Size: 20.75”h x 28.25”w
Artist: David Halbach, CA Emeritus (b. 1931)Description: Watercolor (1992) | Image Size: 16”h x 24 ½”w
Artist: David Halbach, CA Emeritus (b. 1931)Description: Watercolor (1987) | Image Size: 14”w x 16”h; Framed Size: 23.5”w x 26.5”h