Would you believe that this picture began as brown paper, a reference book of historic pottery, and a box of pastels?!
Alice carefully builds up a multilayered background with her pastels, chooses from her books whichever pots suit her fancy, adds her imagination, and conveys every texture with panache.
This piece beautifully evokes the immensity and mystery of the high desert sky, at night, complete with shooting star.
The artist, who studied art in Chicago, placed her signature historic pots in the foreground, nestled on a bed of long grasses.
Red rock formations are seen beyond, but the majority of the composition is that luminous, star-spangled sky, with two shooting stars.
A red, burnished Pueblo or Navajo pot is flanked by two Mimbres-style bowls. The red pot has a stepped rim, that looks partially broken, suggesting its pre-historic origin.
The black on white, Mimbres pieces originated in southwestern New Mexico, again, in pre-conquest times.
The bowl on the right, displays a deer, which is historically accurate.
The Mimbres bowl on the left, however, is an example of the artist’s wicked wit: A cat lover, she has painted a kitty cat with a Navajo rug design, which is definitely not historical!
Her complete mastery of the difficult pastel medium is evident in the beautifully rendered details
Long grasses, in the foreground, are depicted with delicacy and grace, as if waving in the breeze.
Red rocks are solid and ridged, and the pottery is differentiated by the stone-polished finish on the red olla, and the different appearance of the bowls.
Immense, the sky glows with the incredible clarity of the desert light – even at night. Stars are everywhere, including the two streaking across the firmament.
The artist has used her prerogative to color the sky with a greenish luminescence, that ties in with the beautiful grasses, below.
Maybe not totally realistic, but this is a mood piece, and the mood is one of wonder and magic. And, given that kitty, a bit of sly humor.
Matted and framed, all ready to hang and enjoy.