WOOGEE (George) Watchetaker is a honest-to-gosh legend.
Just ask him.
An American Indian with a keen sense of humor about himself and the world around him, Watchetaker is a commanding character in his 70s who likes tell tall tales and pull your leg.
Known as everything from an accomplished painter to a fancy dancer to a time-honored Comanche chief, Watchetaker grew up in Paradise Valley near Elgin and describes himself as a "real country boy."
Nevertheless, his paintings reflect a man of tradition who follows strict, self-imposed guidelines in order to re-create the world of his American Indian ancestors through art.
"I never went to art school," Watchetaker said. "I started rough paintings off and on when I was young in the 1930s. I was inspired by other Indians' artwork.
"There were just a few Indian artists then. I never knew if I was good enough. I'd give my paintings away.
"I just kept trying and trying ... " During the 1940s, Watchetaker priced his work at $2 or $3 per painting. In the 1950s, he still dabbled in paint, but became passionate about fancy dancing.
He eventually retired in 1965 as a seven-time national and three-time world champion fancy dancer.
"I used to drink a bit and I liked to buy,' he said, "but I finally decided this ain't doing me any good. I decided I'd better do something, so I started painting seriously."
Watchetaker sneaked into an art show at Shepherd Mall in Oklahoma City with some of his art.