Jeanne Rorex Bridges is an award-winning artist of Cherokee ancestry. She lives on a hill in rural eastern Oklahoma, part of the farm and ranch land where she was raised. Here she paints and runs her successful art business with her husband James. Jeanne’s work has become nationally known, winning many awards in Native American art shows. For several years, she has incorporated paintings depicting the shared history of Southeastern Indians and African Americans with her Native American work. The story of Crossing Bok Chitto was a perfect fit for her first illustrated book.
I am of Cherokee Indian descent and have been a professional artist for 25 years. I am best known by collectors of Native American art. Most of my awards were in Native American art competitions.
My art education began at age 28 when I attended Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma, a private junior college known as the Indian College. My classes included courses in Indian art. This flat style of painting, originated by the Kiowa Five was immediately natural for me. To produce Indian art, you should understand the human anatomy, the tradition and history of Indian people, and be able to portray your feelings in the work. Indian Art is not just a “pretty picture.”
In the Oklahoma Flat Style, you apply solid color in the shape of what you’re drawing. Think, for example, of a woman in a blanket. To create that initial shape, you must understand the position of her shoulders, her arms and back under the blanket. Pure Indian art would only allow fine lines of another color and/or gradual changes of flat colors to “shade” the blanket. Over the years, I have developed my own style by keeping the basic Flat Style while adding background work and shading. I have always mixed my own colors from tube paints because I like lots of color but muted, softer colors.