Four Gifted Sons: Doc’s Legacy Lives On…

Cheryl writes: “No finer people were there than the likes of Doc and Charlotte. And I say the same for their sons, featured in this great article below, published May 5, 2001. Doc’s sons carry the gifts of their father – each with their own unique styles and interests – each carving out their own place. But their father and mother’s influences are apparent in all that they do. I have a special place in my heart for Tim and his family, as we have gotten to know each other at different events through the years. Their kindness and friendship has been something I place great value on. And what a fine man Tim is – he has his father’s gentleness and his talent continues to amaze me, as does the talent of all the brothers. I’ve also had the pleasure of doing past events with Sonny and getting to know him. I just cannot say enough good things about this family. If one could bottle up all the talent that this family has been blessed with, there would not be enough warehouses in the universe to store it all.” (Below: Doc, working on one of his masterfully-made flutes in his workshop.)

Cheryl states,”It has been a blessing and great honor to be acquainted with this fine and talented family.”

Peyote Singer by Tim Nevaquaya

Canku Ota (Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America

May 5, 2001 – Issue 35

Four brothers raised in Apache, Ok. are following in their father’s footsteps — and emerging from his shadow.

Above: Calvert Nevaquaya displays some of his three-dimensional art in March 2001 in Apache, Okla.

Each of the sons of the late Doc Tate Nevaquaya, renowned Native American artist and flutist, has traveled the broad trail their father pioneered.

The journey began in the 1950s as they were exposed on a daily basis, to his paintings depicting Indian history and music he played on the flutes he carved.

Each of the brothers — Tim, Lean ‘Sonny’, Edmond and Calvert — has chosen a path down the trail cleared for them 50 years ago.

With their own unique talents in oil paintings, watercolors, acrylics and flute carving, they’re still developing their places in the art world which is slowing drawing them out of their father’s silhouette.

“All of our children grew up surrounded by their dad’s paintings. They sat down at the dinner table and they looked at his work,” recalled their mother Charlotte Nevaquaya.

Crystal Gayle with two of Doc’s sons at the Native American Music Awards

“Doc knew all the Native American stories from the 1800s and he painted them their entire lives. There was no way they couldn’t have been influenced by the stories he told them.”

Tim was the first of the Nevaquaya brothers to set off on the art trail.

“When I was 3, in 1969, I remember seeing a television announcing the astronauts had walked on the moon,” said Tim. “I ran to my room and grabbed a pencil and paper and never stopped drawing.”

Tim recalled how painting came to him through a nightly ritual with Doc Tate.

“When my father painted in his studio, I would fall asleep at his feet watching him,” Tim said. “He would tell me stories as he painted free people, beautiful sunsets, land and horses.”

In the beginning, at age 13, Tim received his first oil set — he’s the only one of the four brothers who use oils — from his father and painted several items with him, Doc Tate painted people and Tim painted sunsets.

“My father was my teacher, I was his apprentice with flutes and silhouettes,” said Tim. “He taught me that the only way to do a silhouette is to explore it and advance it. This is something I will carry with me throughout my art career.”

Later, he developed his own talent for making his paintings come to life.

“I’d put on tapes of Indian music and I would become the dancer and flute player I was painting. At other times, I became the warrior,” Tim explained.

“This is what came out on my canvas.”

In other art his favorite subject — thunderstorms.

“If he could be a storm-chaser, he would,” said his wife Sandra. “He’ll say to me, ‘let’s go and see the sunset or follow that storm.’ He thinks thunderstorms are beautiful. He creates a beautiful painting depicting it after he sees it.”

Tim’s flute making also is inspired by his father.

“When I make my flutes I use cedar because it gets you fired up. You see designs form in the wood. I can’t go to sleep because I’m thinking about it,” Tim said.

Like his brother Tim, Edmond also began art at 13 but started at the opposite end of the trail from Tim. He was playing the flute with his father long before he started painting with watercolors in 1995.

Edmond didn’t paint with his father; rather he asked his father to critique his work after it was completed and before he sold it.

“I’d see my dad with my piece and I was amazed at how he’d grab a rush and go along and add one small touch and it would make a difference in the world,” said Edmond.

Edmond realized that his father knew best.

“I decided early on that the best thing I could do was follow in the footsteps of the path my father had already paved for me,” Edmond said. “Even today I get stuck on an idea and I look at photos of my dad and his prints and they always inspire me to go on.”

Calvert, the youngest of the brothers didn’t being his journey down the trail until after Doc Tate’s death. “I never sat with Dad or had his assistance with my art. I just learned from his work. He had movement and motion in his art,” Calvert said.

Though Doc Tate is known for a traditional flat base style, Calvert is trying a three-dimensional style.

“My art is detail-oriented and my colors are different than what dad would have done,” Calvert said. “I want people to recognize me as Calvert Nevaquaya when they think of my art, not as Doc Tate’s son. I’m proud of my dad, but I want to prove myself based on my talent, not his.”

Sonny, the oldest of the four sons, lives in Hollywood, Florida. He painted in the 70’s, but his primary focus today is flute music.

“I was always astonished with my father’s music. It magnetized me to him. All the sudden I’d hear his music and it did something to me,” Sonny said.

“Whenever I speak about music, I always tell people that if it weren’t for my father I wouldn’t be where I was,” Sonny said. “I carry this with me wherever I go.”

“Whenever I speak about music, I always tell people that if it weren’t for my father I wouldn’t be where I was,” Sonny said. “I carry this with me wherever I go.”

” Comanche Buffalo “ 18″ x 24″ oil on canvas

” Dance With The Wind “ 28″ X 22″ oil on canvas

Tim Nevaquaya is a full-blood Comanche Indian living in southwest Oklahoma. Tim’s art provides you with a visual opportunity to experience the uniqueness of his Native environment and painting style – ethereal and spiritual with inherently traditional imagery.

Michael McCormick Gallery
art spacer
106C Paseo del Pueblo Norte
Taos, New Mexico 87571
(800) 279-0879 – (575) 758-1372

asm2002 SPIRIT OF THE FLUTE – Lean “Sonny” Nevaquaya

Textural Native American flute music from the eldest son of the late Commanche artist and musician Doc Tate Nevaquaya. Lean’s handcrafted traditional instruments and evocative melodies fill vast reverberant spaces with power and grace as he infuses every note with an honest, contemplative quality.

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Native American Tube: Tim Nevequaya

Mar 31, 2008 Video: Tim Nevaquaya, comanche musician, flute maker, and artist from Oklahoma. Popular: nation TIm flute Nevaquaya artist comanche – 72k – CachedSimilar pages

Sonny Nevaquaya – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sonny Nevaquaya is a Comanche Native American flute player and maker from Oklahoma. He began his professional career in 1993 when he recorded an album – 17k

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Published in: on July 11, 2008 at 6:40 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. It is really a nice and helpful piece of information. I’m glad that you simply shared this useful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

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