Nomi Wagner Portrait Artist

Family Portrait Painting, A Choctaw Indian Chief and His Tribe

by Nomi Wagner

Finished Portrait on Canvas, 32x 36 inches

A visitor to our area was shopping at Nutriworld, our local vitamin store/post office. He asked Zulfi, the proprietor and a dear man, if he knew of a portrait painter. 

Here is the story of this portrait painting in my new client’s words: 

I asked the owner if he knew of anyone who paints portraits, and surprisingly he said, “Yes I do, I have the business card of an artist who specializes in baby portraits, a very nice lady.”

Later that evening I called Nomi Wagner and left a message that I wanted to have a portrait painted of myself in a Native American scene, with me as the centerpiece dressed up as a Chief, wearing an eagle headdress, in a background of a native village scene that I had found on the Smithsonian’s royalty free website. When I contacted Nomi about painting my portrait, I had no idea that she painted every single stroke digitally. But after checking her website, the Babyfaces and family portraits were amazing to behold. 

Nomi called back and said that she welcomed the idea, and was ready for the challenge. I told her that I had some photos of myself wearing a headdress that had been taken years ago. A few days later I met Nomi at her studio to discuss my portrait painting. The first suggestion that Nomi made was brilliant. “Let me take a new photo of you.” Nomi is a painter and a professional photographer. In about 10 minutes, Nomi took the best photo of me that has ever been taken.


Throughout the process of my portrait, Nomi would email me proof images of the painting, so that I could make comments and suggest changes. I kept sending her reference photos of Native Americans that I found online. I asked her to paint me holding a raven and a peace pipe in my arms. I know that Nomi spent countless hours re-creating the village scene with all the dancers, bystanders and my old dog.
                        George Catlin, Choctaw Eagle Dance, 1835–37, Smithsonian American Art Museum

When I saw my finished portrait painting printed on canvas, I was blown away. I looked at myself with those penetrating eyes that Nomi had captured, and my Choctaw tribe dancing behind me, and felt a deep emotional connection.

My family is excited. Our Choctaw bloodline has always been our family pride. In my mother’s old bible, in her handwriting, there is list of her family tree. One of the names in the list is “Chief Joseph.”

Thank you Nomi. It’s been a wonderful adventure.

"Chief" Joseph Daniel Williams