Mindi Yarbrough, artist Wild Heart, recently had her Opening Night at the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville, WV.
Artists work in many different ways. Some paint exactly what they see, while others add a little imagination to their pictures. Mindi Yarbrough has an added element in her paintings. She captures the spirit of the person or animal. Mindi portrays herself as “a self taught and self described outsider artist.”
Mindi started drawing at the age of five. Her love of nature shines forth in everything she does. As a little girl, she enjoyed playing in the creek, where she would enjoy nature and catch snakes (and just about any other animal, insect or amphibian she could get her hands on).
“All kinds of snakes,” she explains, “but I was never afraid of them, despite being bitten many times, and often kept them as pets.” Snakes are Mindi’s power animal. She even has tattoos of them on her arms. Snakes have been associated with shamans. In fact in some cultures, snake bites are an initiation and pre-requisite into shamanism.
The crow holds a special attraction to her as she feels it has a magical quality. It holds the magical key to the womb of fundamental energy where all possibilities exist. Crows live all around the world, reminding us that magic can be found everywhere. They often are associated with healing and the universal law.
Owl is Mindi’s dream-time guide helping to navigate the unconscious world. The Owl serves as the keeper of ancient wisdom and can see the secrets and agendas of others. The Owl is a prophet who can see, hear, and feel events before they transpire.
Her dream catchers are up-cycled art with the center web being a doily, with a hand macrame hoop and fringe made with cotton twine and yarn. Dream catchers have been part of Native American culture for generations. They are usually hung by the bed at night to catch bad dreams before they disturb your sleep. There is a hole in the center to let the good dreams slip through.Feathers are important in the Native American tradition also, as they are seen as gifts from the sky, the sea and the trees. Often a feather has a message as it lands on or near someone. It reminds them of a spiritual connection that we all have to our creator and with passed loved ones. The gift of the feather is represented by passion – passion for your gift from the Creator – Mindi’s passion being artistic vision.
This painting of Bear Woman makes me smile. It tells a great Blackfoot Legend of the older sister and her bear. Mindi has even added the end of that legend as she shows the star constellation of Ursa Major in the background. All of her work shows depth and meaning.
Upon leaving the art show, a beautifully decorated Christmas tree glowed in the hallway. The Mound Museum Christmas tree is decorated with plants that were important to those prehistoric Native Americans living in the area. The people who built Grave Creek Mound probably grew small gardens, which included squash, sunflowers, pumpkins, gourds, and goosefoot – the decorations on this tree.
It’s no surprise that Mindi works in the field of art on a daily basis. At present she is Art Director and Senior Graphic Designer at Beyond Marketing in Wheeling, WV. Her expertise lies in designing just what the customer desires.
Mindi has been drawing and painting since childhood. She smiles as she tells others, “I have never wanted to be anything other than an artist, except maybe a mermaid.” Mindi would definitely be a very special mermaid!