After traveling more than 25 years to the rock art sites in the American west and viewing them with Native Americans and archeologists, I want to share the great treasure of the records of their lives. They left their information on the rock. I often stand in silence and awe and can feel the great strength and sorrows of the people who lived on the land thousands of years before the Europeans arrived. Their spirits reach out and touch me and their lives reach out through their rock art.
They are the ancestors of the land we inhabit.
It brings me to a place where words can't go, so with great love and respect, this art seems to flow through me in a most joyful way.
Thank you to all the people who help protect and record these ancient sites - the archeologists, site stewards, and hundreds of volunteers.
If you would like to learn more about ancient rock art go to :
ARARA - American Rock Art Research Association
I am a member of this great caring organization. Visit their website.
A few more words about myself and my art
On a more personal note, I spent many summers exploring rock art sites in the west. Sometimes my daughter and sister went with me and we loved hiking together and discovering these remote sites. We would sit with the boulders, or in the cave shelters and enjoy the spirit energy that emanates from the carved and painted walls, sometimes spending hours just drawing and listening to the hummingbirds and the cicadas. You know, in the quiet of the desert, a cicada sounds like a semi truck !
Then, years ago, I started interpreting all these wonderful and sacred images on to silk scarves and began creating clay sculptures inspired by the ancient rock panels. I have a passion about these sites and have read dozens of books on ancient rock art from all over the world. Books by Native Americans, archeologists, anthropologists, linguists, folklorists, ethnologists, and others who specialize in ancient rock images. I hold a great respect for those who have spent their lives recording, studying and protecting these sacred sites.
I was awed by these images and began to draw and paint my own interpretations of these sacred spaces to honor those who lived on the land thousands of years ago. I have learned a lot about their lives, their beliefs, their sorrows and joys. Each one of my art pieces reflects the love and respect I have for these sites and images.
I believe that my work speaks to each viewer in different ways. Many have given me their own beautiful interpretations of my art., and those who have purchased my art continue to find more details and surprises in the pictures. My work is painted on archival cotton rag paper that I pull myself in the Hook Pottery and Paper Studio in LaPorte, IN. The Legend Series is drawn on a hand cast shape of an image I saw in Wyoming on a rock panel. I like making the paper for the drawings. I like the feel of it, it is very sensual to draw on, and I believe the natural paper gives me a closer connection to the source. Also, there is more of me, the artist, in each piece. I wish you could see these pieces and hold them.
My favorite size of cotton rag sheet is 22" x 31". These sheets are one of a kind, and I carefully and lovingly choose the color palate for each sheet in the paper studio, then continue with watercolor, ink and pastels in my painting studio. It is a great process because the cotton rag takes on a texture, quality, and a finish that can only be done using this technique.
The photos of these works are very good, but to see the pieces in person is a whole different and wonderful experience.
I am an avid certified SCUBA diver and if you look closely at many of my works you will find the incorporation of sea elements. And after a tent safari in Kenya, I was inspired to add elements of the Masai Mara into my work.
I have also purchased a printing press and have been hand carving relief block prints and printing them on my hand pulled cotton rag. I can send you pictures of them upon request.
Dorothy Graden Artist LLC