The everyday life and utensils used by the Anasazi reflected a “black or white” consciousness. Much of their pottery was decorated in white and gray with black outlines and lines. Some of the warmer colors found in the desert were also added to their pottery. The upper and lower “borders” of this painting are directly adapted from Anasazi pottery. I found the level of sophistication in their designs very fascinating, though thousands of years old. In the upper pottery design, the random flourishes/embellishments that remind me of a floral design also look exactly like designs used by Matisse (the most famous of the Fauvists) in his large-scale collages created in the latter years of his life. (I wonder whether he had seen some examples of this ancient pottery in museums?)
Petroglyphs are found in abundance among the cliff dwellings of the Anasazi. They were used to tell stories, as “signatures” for the dwellers and as a talisman for spiritual ceremonies of everyday life. Beginning at the lower left side of the painting, here is an explanation for each petroglyphs I used:
- My signature as an artist is contained within an outline of my hand that was reduced from 8 inches to 5 inches from wrist to tip of middle finger. Examples of a hand outline used for identification can be found from France to Australia . In the close-up picture of the signature you will also see an additional signature under mine (“Aly!”). That belongs to a niece of mine. She was visiting me one afternoon while over in the States from London and I decided it would be a great memory for us both if we painted at the same time. She is quite creative and artistic (she is working on a drawing of St. Paul ’s Cathedral back home in the UK ). Though she had never painted in oils, I gave her a quick lesson in mixing paints, brushes, painting knives and techniques. As I had thought she would, she did a perfect job and painted her sections much more quickly than I had anticipated she would.
- Moon shield
- Assorted hand “signatures”
- The Shaman
- Four Directions
- Leaping Antelope
- Nommo = Air-breathing amphibians that brought civilization to earth (related petroglyphs are found among all ancient, indigenous cultures); also known among the Inca as the “Sky People” who landed in Lake Titicaca .
- Sun shield
- Spirit dancers (reminding us to celebrate Life)
- Sun circle
I will have another painting completed within the next 2 weeks. It will be part of the same “Santa Fauve Collection” and is titled “Life Behind Adobe Walls.