Walt Harris and His Art


Otoe-Missouria decent, born outside of Red Rock began drawing as a child when he visited his grandfather on the reservation. The time following the evening meal "was a time of learning when there was the traditional opportunity to hear of the old times and legend and lore was passed on" He said "the indian kids had an opportunity to be competative. Grandpa would say 'get out the crayons, all of us are going to draw a horse tonight' We were not just drawing a horse but each would try to draw the best horse." His competative nature continued and carried Harris into college where he excelled as an athlete.

Harris was on a football scholarship at the University of Oklahoma and quit football to play professional baseball. "I excelled in athletics" he said, "because as early training as a boy we were taught to win" He felt the games he played as a child "built a desire and also a sense of knowing that nothing is going to come easy."

As a professional baseball player, Harris was a pitcher, outfielder and catcher. His baseball career ended because he "tore an arm up". He said it was obvious after "a couple of seasons that it was not going to come back." When his baseball career ended, he began working on the Ponca City newspaper full time and stayed there for 18 years. While there he began doing potrait work on the side.

In his first experiences, he worked with oils but said he would rather paint in watercolor. "I don't like to paint in oils because there is a challenge to watercolor that there isn't in oils." ...
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He described his style as "a three dimensional effect to traditional Indian art" with a touch of realism.

Taken from the
Sunday Oklahoman August 5, 1979.

Many examples of Walt Harris' works are on display at
Marland's Grand Home in Ponca City, Oklahoma