|Title||INDIANS AND SCOUTS TALKING|
|Artist||Russell, Charles M. (1864-1926)|
|Dimensions||H-19 W-31 inches|
This early watercolor, dating from around 1895, may depict an event witnessed by Russell, but it is not known what that event was. Here he uses pure transparent watercolor to illustrate the conversational exchange held in sign language between a party of Indian men and two men they have met on the plains. Although the piece is titled Indians and Scouts Talking, it seems that the so-called scouts are actually traders. They have packhorses, and one man wears the traditional Métis assumption sash. They are being greeted by a standing Indian man who signs the word "camp." The rest of the Indian men sit casually on the ground; one holds a pipe to his mouth. Perhaps the Indians are inviting the traders to make camp with them.
In this piece, the images are painted in a much less refined manner than many of Russell's later works. Nevertheless, he manages to effectively convey the encounter.