As a niece of the famed Pablita Velarde, a pioneer woman painter, and cousin to the late Helen Hardin and Margaret Tindal, equally respected painters, this artist has powerful art genes.
She likes to reflect the old, flat Pueblo painting style in her own, abstracted, rather magical vision of reality.
In addition to winning prizes at Indian art shows, her work is in several museum and private collections, including that of Robert Redford.
Michelle favors the natural world for her subject matter, and here she presents us with a charming vignette of a mother bear and her two cubs.
They are shown standing on the rocky soil of a mountainside. The trees in the background seem to be lower down, suggesting the edge of a cliff or mesa.
Everything in the composition is about curves and flowing lines, a reflection of the poetic lyricism of her style.
At the upper left is a quarter arc of a ruddy sun; the bears, large and small, are appropriately rounded, the dainty trees are bending in the wind, their branches and needles as graceful as a line of ballerinas. and the rocky ground is depicted in swirling lines and shapes.
Bears are symbols of strength, intelligence and protection, and this is embodied in the mother bear, stopped by a sound or a movement, ready to keep her little cubs safe.
The subject matter is universally appealing; the execution is delicate and confident.
The artist has even painted an irregular frame around the painting, resembling jagged bark.
The work is archivally matted and framed, ready to hang and delight all who see it.