Lady at the Fountain, 11×14, oil on linen board by JoAnn Peralta

Peralta has a passion to paint the American west not often given the attention it deserves. Though proud of the Indians history and cowboys that helped shape the western frontier, no less important are the stories of Spanish domination and influence prior to U.S. occupation. Here Peralta pays tribute to her Spanish and Italian roots whom immigrated to America and became part of the rich cultural history. The fountain, a portion of a larger Spanish style one, but whose influence is obvious, marks the inclusion of Rome/Italy and Spain’s impact. May this work of art remind the viewer and collector of an America which embraces diversity and allows the U.S. citizen pride in its eclectic roots.

“Charles F. Lummis and the Songs of Old Spanish California, 1904”
28×40 oil on linen canvas by JoAnn Peralta

Charles F. Lummis (1859-1928), Preservationist/conservationist/philanthropist, botanist, and photographer whom attended Harvard and was friend to Pres. T. Roosevelt. As a young man living in the Eastern part of the U.S. Lummis took a walk across America to accept a job with the Los Angeles Times. He did this to write stories for the paper. He fell in love with the cultures of America . His affection for the Southwest especially Indian tribes & Spanish/Latin culture, caused him to see with a new perspective. His friendship with famed naturalist, John Muir (shown holding his journal), further encouraged his preservationist ideals. He became dedicated to saving the old Spanish Missions. He even held parties that embraced the Spanish songs of the past. Here Lummis demonstrates to the school children the dances of old California as he was taught, and as played by famed Spanish guitarist, Rosendo Uruchurtu, whom was blind. He preserved the recordings on wax cylinders which today are part of the Braun Library’s collection held at the Autry Museum, in California.

“First U.S. Land Patent Awarded, Dominguez Family, 1858”  
30×38 oil on linen canvas by JoAnn Peralta

Manuel and Engracias Dominguez became U.S. citizens after America gained California territory they were already living on. Their ancestors were awarded a Land Grant when Spain had ownership of the territory. Then, when Mexico defeated Spain, the Land Grant was upheld by the Mexican government. After the war and U.S. occupation, the family legally filed for a land patent and after many years, were awarded the first U.S. Land Patent in 1858. The Dominguez family flourished under American dominance. Their contributions greatly affected the California landscape and added to the success of their new country, the United States of America.

“Western Sky” 26X42, oil by JoAnn Peralta

This painting represents the historical richness of the Spanish Mexicans, whom were the first cowboys to settle in the territories of the west in what became America. These Vaquero (“cowboys”) were the first to teach the Lakota Indians to ride the wild horses of the plains and today the Vaquero’s still continue the riding techniques taught to them from generations past. I am grateful they shared their riding style to rope cattle and herd to influence both Indians and Cowboys alike in the west.

I thank the collector whom lives in Texas that saw the historical significance and beauty of this painting’s rich historical value.

“The Girls in the Vineyard” 40×32 oil on linen canvas by JoAnn Peralta 

This painting depicts the Italian and Spanish families whom migrated to the New World to establish vineyards and produce grape juice, wines, and vinegars. Many labored in these vineyards carrying on family traditions and recipes that they brought from their native land. This winepress was an authentic 1800’s press which I wanted to capture. I am truly grateful, as an American, for the impact they’ve had on founding these vineyards in their new country to which they embraced. This painting is dedicated to my great-grandmother, Maria, whom was full-Italian.

“Coming Home” (Dominguez- youngest daughter), 1858,  25″ X 30″ oil on linen by JoAnn Peralta

This painting portrayed one of the Dominguez sisters, the youngest, whom had hopes and dreams for her new country- America. She was the younger of the six sisters and I wanted to capture her in a moment of thought after she and her family were informed they would be able to remain on their land which was originally granted to their father by the Spanish government. After California became part of the U.S. they applied for the first U.S. Land patent and it was awarded them.

“Maynard Dixon” 12″ x 9″ oil on linen panel by JoAnn Peralta

When Maynard Dixon was struggling as an artist and illustrator in the late 1800’s and following the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 his close friend and mentor, famed historical figure, Charles Fletcher Lummis, whom took a liking to this young artist as if he was a son gave him advice. Lummis encouraged Dixon to Go West (heading East from California) and travel outside of California. Lummis knew these landscapes were rich in color and the skies unparalleled in regions along the way. Dixon’s travels led him through the area and into New York where he worked. He never forgot the Southwest and after encouragement from Lummis as well as Remington, he traveled back to the Southwest. He lived in Arizona until he died and painted what is regarded as the most true interpretation of the territories to date.

Lange’s Maynard Dixon, 12×9, oil on linen board by JoAnn Peralta

“Famed Taos Landscape painter, Maynard Dixon was at one time married to the infamous photographer, Dorothea Lange. This image was painted from an actual black and white photograph taken by Ms. Lange. I hope you enjoy my interpretation.”-JoAnn Peralta

“Peace in the Valley” Treaty between the Kitchens’ Ranch and Cochise, Tucson, 1873, 40X60 oil on linen by JoAnn Peralta

Pete Kitchen brought wife, Rosa Verdugo from Mexico to settle in Arizona. Pete invested in agricultural farming and livestock. Rosa’s brother Ronquillo helped. They sold food to Calvary soldiers by contract with the U.S. government. Apache attacks were offset by Pete’s marksmanship skills.

Even kindness became a virtue with its own reward. The Kitchen’s tended to all injured. Once, after an attack, a young boy was found. Rosa treated his injuries. Cochise fearing his son dead, found to his great surprise his son alive.

A treaty was sealed between both parties in gratitude for the Kitchen’s, and Apache raids by the Chiricahua ceased on the ranch and along the Tucson road, named by Pete. A beaded purse was gifted to Rosa and beaded moccasins to Pete with Cochise’s name inscribed.

The t.v. show High Chaparral by David Dortort, and Kent McCray producer, was loosely modeled after the Kitchen’s.

 

 Heart of the West, (W.S. Hart Courtesy of Natural History Museum, L.A. County) , 30″ x 20″, oil on linen by JoAnn Peralta

This painting represents the kid in us that loves a great western. It all started with William S. Hart, Hopalong Cassidy, Will Rogers, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers just to name some. I was this little girl whom in my heart yearned to be the hero and fight the bad guys. Here’s to the West and the heart of the West in us all.
Thank you to the Hart Museum for allowing me to use Mr. Hart’s living room as my backdrop and inspiration -JoAnn Peralta