Pablita Velarde

Topics: Painting, Watercolor painting, Pueblo Pages: 1 (255 words) Published: September 21, 2012
Pablita Velarde, was a Native American Artist who attended the Santa Fe Indian School, specifically Dorothy Dunn's Studio School. The purpose of the school was to teach students to create a distinctive and marketable "Indian" style. While traditional Pueblo art focused on pottery, pottery painting, and pueblo wall painting, the Dunn style, also known as "flat painting" "combined the outline drawing and flat colors of folk art, the decorative qualities of Art Deco, and "Indian" subject matter." (Art History, Stokstad and Cothren, pg 853) Koshares of Taos, painted in the 1940s by Velarde, is a watercolor painting on paper. The "painting combines bold, flat colors and a simplified decorative line with European perspective, " (Art History, Stokstad and Cothren, pg 853) reflecting an Art Deco abstraction. I noticed in most of Velarde's watercolors the subjects are floating on a blank solid background. This creates an interesting effect of negative space. We can only visualize the setting by use of scale and where subject matter is placed on the picture plane. The scene of the painting is steeped in Pueblo culture. A traditional winter solstice ceremony is taking place in a plaza. The costuming, the activity, even the spectators standing atop the pueblos illustrates Pueblo custom. Pablita Velarde captures a piece of Pueblo heritage in Koshares of Taos, though her medium was not traditional for these people. I think it's admirable that later in her life, she altered her choice of medium, preparing her own paints from natural pigments to produce what she called "earth paintings."
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