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Mineral Earth Painting of a Beaver by Pablita Velarde


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Pablita Velarde (1918-2006) Tse Tsan - Golden Dawn

Pablita Velarde (1918-2006) Tse Tsan - Golden Dawn worked in water-based paints from time to time but she is best known and internationally recognized for her paintings rendered in her own hand-made paints from mineral sources. She would first draw her designs on Masonite panels that were treated with a coat of pumice. She then used her ground-up minerals as paint to fill in the areas she had drawn. To mix her paints, she combined the pigment with water and glue, and then painted with paintbrushes. She would paint each color up to seven layers to gain the consistency she desired. She then would outline the images, once again as many as seven or so times, to insure they were strong black.

Signature of Pablita Velarde (1918-2006) Tse Tsan - Golden DawnUnfortunately, I am at a loss to fully explain what Pablita Velarde had in mind when she made this painting. It appears that a beaver is eating a frog. It is quite possibly a painting representing a pueblo story or legend or perhaps something she witnessed at one point.

This painting most likely dates to the 1960s or 1970s as that is when the owner was mostly collecting art from Native artists.  It appears that the hand carved wood frame is from the Santa Fe Indian School workshop.


Condition:  Overall in original condition with the exception of some minor abrasion at the very bottom of the painting where it appears someone perhaps dusted the frame and rubbed the painting when doing so.  It is minor and not visible unless examined very closely.

Provenance: from the collection of Katherine H. Rust

Recommended ReadingPablita Velarde-Painting Her People by Marcella Ruch

close up view

Pablita Velarde (1918-2006) Tse Tsan - Golden Dawn
C3224AK-paint.jpgC3224AK-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.