Premonitions, by definition, come first. But, like ancient oracles, you never know what they really mean until you get there.
In hindsight, this little painting foretold our desert trip. I did this in October as a collage painting demo. Now it strikes me how much it is like the petroglyphs we saw at Painted Rock State Park, just outside of Gila Bend, Arizona, in late November. In fact, there’s a lizard spirit slithering gila-like through it.
Petroglyphs are the abstractions of the ancients. Were they a semi-precise writing or language, like heiroglyphs? Religious spirit encounters: “Hey, the Deer Dancer possessed me here!” Maps?
It’s interesting how there seems no real distinction between realism and abstraction in petroglyphs. The deer with bulging belly seems so obviously pregnant, but the squared-off labyrinth delights in the design-play of geometric abstraction.
Petroglyphs are vigorous and melancholy at once. Here people met, prayed, danced, hunted, ate, and spent days and weeks creating with what they had– stone and imagination.
5 thoughts on “My Desert Vacation 2: Petroglyphs and Premonitions”
Love your new petroglyph painting!
Thanks! I didn’t know that was what it was when I painted it.
On a New Mexico petroglyph rock there’s an image of Spongebob Squarepants, so I’m told. It may be of modern provenance.
And also SpongeJill SpiralSkirt. There are several purpored Mastodon petroglyphs, did you know? I saw one once in Death Valley. I’m planning a whole composition class based on ancient mark-making… a different way of sorting space. Call us, Mikey!
Like the gray paint — it looks like fog — and the hot pink because it is hot pink.