“One Moment”

Michelle Tsosie Sisneros



The artist is a niece of the late, famed Pablita Velarde, but her style is very individual. She says “I paint in a semi-traditional abstract form because that is the way I see the Mother Earth.” Others might call her style poetic realism.

This example shows a moment among a herd of mountain sheep, amid the high cliffs and mesas of Navajo country.

The pair of rams in the foreground look directly at the viewer with soft, dark eyes and sweet expressions. There are others in the background, silhouetted against the bright sky.

The composition is an adroit arrangement of curves and straight lines, with the curled horns echoed in the round sun, the arcs in the sky, even the rounded bellies of the two largest sheep.

In contrast, the edges of the cliffs and mesas, the two vertical stone formations in the center and some of the shapes in the sky, complement the curves with straight lines and angles.

Notice how the artist has skillfully placed the sun and the twin vertical towers just off center. They divide the composition, but it is not static.

These elements break up the space in an asymmetrical way, and add to the sense of depth and perspective.

There is a lacy circlet of pointed “rays” around the sun, which glows like a carnelian cabochon, possibly evoking sunset. These pointy forms and delicate tracery are echoed in the sky to the upper left.

Here, an all-over pattern of fine lines resembles the designs on Acoma pottery. They also evoke rain clouds, wind and rain, a nod to tradition, which seeks to balance sun and rain.

With lyrical forms and a combination of realism and abstraction, the artist has presented a hauntingly tranquil scene that can be enjoyed in both ways. All ready to hang, too.



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