The paintings of Pablita Velarde are known not just in her native New Mexico, but throughout the world. Her work appeals to people on many levels. Her paintings are not solely personal expression of experience, they are interpretations of pueblo culture.
Pablita Velarde saw quail quite often in the countryside surrounding her pueblo of Santa Clara. She chose to paint these unusual little birds a number to times during her career. In this particular example, she paired graceful stylized foliage against the backdrop of her cloud and pueblo symbols. The mother quail in the middle of the painting is flanked by both the foliage and her two small chicks. The large circle of the cloud and pueblo elements serve to focus the eye on the quail.
Pablita chose to paint with relatively soft Southwest colors, which lends a sophistication to the scenes she captured. The paints used in her pieces were created from ground up colored rocks, charcoal, and dirt. These were then mixed with glue and applied to Masonite (a type of board made of pressure molded wood fibers).
Pablita drew heavily from her pueblo life, believing there was great beauty and dignity in the past. She captured these cultural aspects in her paintings. In 1977, she earned the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts. By 1998, she had participated in the Indian Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico for 56 continuous years.
Provenance: Acquired from a private collector through Santa Fe Art Auction
Condition: Excellent – original condition