Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hopi Lands

Sitting on the second mesa in Hopi Land.

I'm taking some time away from the studio to recharge my artistic batteries.  I am visiting the Hopi Indian reserve in the central part of the Big Rez - the Navajo reservation in Arizona.  This harsh, arid and visually stunning landscape is composed of three large mesas.  The villages are small and traditional.  One of them that I visited yesterday, Old Oraibi (photo below) is the oldest continually inhabited village in North America, going back over a thousand years.  I was invited into a resident's house which required I climb a ladder to get in his front door.  The Hopi man, Bradford was his English name, is an artist who does fine abstract designs on wood using colours and burn in.  He explained the traditional meaning of each visual element and how these signs relate to his world.

Old Oraibi, Hopi Reservation, as close as I could get before I had to put my camera away (no photos allowed), click to enlarge.

Very old juniper on mountain side.

I am inspired by the pinon pines and junipers that dot the landscape with an infinite variety of shapes.  I'm sure these shapes will show up in new paintings I'll make this year.