Sunday, August 1, 2010
Mesa Verde -- August 1, 2010, First Day of August
Last year we visited Mesa Verde in the spring. It was the second time, I have gone to that ancient place of wonder. I think I have always been interested in these early people, how they lived and all the mystery the surrounds them.
The construction of their villages is so beautiful, even in ruin. But why was it necessary for them to hide their homes into the walls of canyons. It was a difficult way to live. Why were they afraid? Recently I have been reading House of Rain, by Craig Childs, and he talks about the dark side of some of the artifacts found at Chaco, maybe these things were at the bottom of their fear. He suggests, it had to do with their religion and sacrifice.
Their pictrographs are found everywhere in the desert of the southwest. And I always wonder what they are and what they are all about. Were they talking about the news? Were they talking about the things that they saw in the sky? Were they leaving messages when they went away? Were they etching in their memory, or their history? Or perhaps they were hunting rituals? Was it a form of magic?... Or was it an early form of blogging?
For me it is like an open air gallery. With beautiful drawings on rock walls, and can often be found anywhere. One must stay alert. For several years, before I moved to the Southwest. I used them in my work. I would come to the Southwest and tramp the desert in search of these drawings, make sketches and take them back to my studio and rearrange them to create compositions for paintings. And always they are full of mystery.
As an artist, I marvel at how they were able to draw, by pecking into rock, such beautiful and graceful drawings, though the reason to do this difficult thing, has been lost to us. Like the contemporary art today, we do not need to know the meaning, to see the beauty.