Donna Heslip Fine Art









April Light

16 x 16  Soft Pastel

My studio windows were wide open to receive a sunny spring day and a chorus songbirds.  Light flooded the room to make the still life objects glow and the floral background pop.  I grabbed my makeshift viewfinder to explore the cropping technique of Georgia O'Keefe and then added T.C. Cannon's use of patterned images for the background.















Echoes of The Past

20.5 x 15.5 Soft Pastel


The Hopi kachina's gaze seemed to speak volumes, but hadn't been apparent until it was placed with the other pieces.  The kachina, Acoma pottery, ceremonial rattle, and Navajo weaving carry traditional symbols developed long ago.  If only these pieces could reveal thier stories.  For now, perhaps the viewer will have to listen for echoes from the past.











Birds of a Feather

16x20 Soft Pastel


The title for this painting became apparent the moment the large pot made by Elmer Gates (Mojave Pueblo) was placed with the ceremonial feather.  The small pot is a favorite of mine and happily echoes the triangles of the larger pot.  With the addition of the Navajo blanket, the wood grain in the shelf, and the dramatic play of light and shadow, I was pleased to have another tribute to the artisans of the Southwest.

















Quezada's Viper

11.5 x 21.5 Soft Pastel

This rather large pot was created by Jesus Quezada from Mata Ortiz pueblo located in northern Mexico.  When I first saw the pot in one of my favorite antique shops, I promptly purchased it in spite of recent repairs to its rounded base.  As I later planned its portrait, the glowing finish and the three-dimensional rattlesnake draped around the upper portion of the pot fascinated me.  Rather than featuring the whole pot, I took a cue from Georgia O'Keeffe's strategy of cropping the set-up to showcase what I adored most.















20 x 16 Soft Pastel


All items in this painting are attributed to southwestern Native American artisans.  Each item has its own meaning and message handed down through the ages.  It is fitting that the Hopi Kachina is placed in the center of a Navajo blanket just as Hopi land is surrounded by the Navajo Nation located in northeastern Arizona.



















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Messenger for the People

16x20 Soft Pastel


Katsinas (or kachinas) are spiritual messengers and are at the center of Hopi and Zuni spiritual life.  They are believed to have supernatural powers, bringing prosperity by causing abundant harvests.  During special celebrations, the katsinas are represented by masked dancers who are believed by all participants to be embodiments of these spirits.  Katsinas are also represented by small carved and decorated images.   
























A Blend of Cultures

16x20 Soft Pastel

This collection of objects is comprised of work of Native American artisans from the Mojave, Acoma, and Navajo cultures.















The Beaded Basket

16x20 Soft Pastel

As this still life developed, the ellipse became its language and the seventy year old beaded basket commanded the lead role.













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Pueblo Traditions

16x20 Soft Pastel

The story teller figure depicts an elder telling or singing to children the legends of their people.  The figures are based on the traditional “singing mother” motif.  Since there was no written language long ago, storytelling provided an important social and cultural function and perpetuated ethnic identity.  The storyteller has become a means of keeping an awareness alive.












Invitation to the Spirits

Soft Pastel

Venerable figures from the Casas Grandes and Taos pueblos celebrate an offering of turquoise and silver.


















Made in America

Soft Pastel

A Tribute to the artisans of the Southwest.

















Core Values

Soft Pastel

Recalling a treasured friendship.



















** SOLD **

Traditional Ways

Soft Pastel

This painting is yet another opportunity for us to value the unique talents of Native American cultures.  The Mata Ortiz pot was the foundation for this painting.  All the other pieces readily came together to create the pleasing rhythm of circle and line with light and texture instantly uniting the scene.
















Soft Pastel

This painting is the result of collaboration between an Arizona author and the artist.  The soft pastel painting figures prominently in
'Brush Stroked', the seventh book in Joanna Carroll's murder mystery series featuring investigative journalist Meg Witt.  The original painting is available for purchase from the artist.

Brush Stroked is available through this  link:  http://readjoannacarroll.wordpress.com























Nature's Promise
20 x 16 SoftPastel

A celebration of the small but mighty seed that is the miracle of life.





















20 x 16 Soft Pastel



The beginning of a love affair with the dramatic give and take of light and shadow.























The Good Life
16 x 20 Soft Pastel




Treasured moments for quiet reflection.


















Dragon Ginger Jar
16 x 20 Soft Pastel



The magic of a chance discovery in an antique shop.



























Poppy Waltz
25 x 19 Soft Pastel


Colors dance to the rhythm of light and shadow.

The total image including a neutral double mat , glass, and a gold finish wood frame is 36 x 30.  




















16x20 Soft Pastel


Earlier this year, I became intrigued by the challenge of painting a still life with the sole source of light provided from within the set-up.  A black drape placed between my lighted easel and the set-up maintained the integrity of the oil lamp's glow while the remainder of my studio was in darkness.














War and Peace

11.5 x 21.5 Soft Pastel


This still life is an expression of my fascination with the several Hopi katsina dolls I have collec ted.  After researching the traditional methods of making a katsina and the specific spirit each represents, the dolls have taken on an even greater significance.  "War and Peace" focuses on a few of the spirits who are the peace makers and the warrior leaders immersed in the age-old conflicts that arise when one culture attempts to dominate another.  The diagonals in the background speak of the resulting strife between communities and nations.











The New and The Old

15.5 x 15.5 Solt Pastel


This painting took shape because I was very much taken by an aged and small (3x3.5") Zia Pueblo pot I had recently acquired.  Its trademark portrayal of roadrunners and the stories the little pot could tell based on its wear intrigued me.  The moccasins and kachina doll had been made in the past few years, so for the sake of composition, I chose to let the pot tell its story as a larger image.







Website by Dottie Mitchell dottiemitchellart.com



January 30, 2018