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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Delores Patencio, Cahuilla Indian Basket Weaver.

basket weaver, dolores patencio, cahuilla, 1912

She Was One Of The Most Famous Women In The Desert.

Living during the late 1800's and into the 1900's, Patencio wove magnificent baskets using traditional, organic materials she gathered and prepared.   Known as one of the finest Cahuilla Indian basket weavers, she created designs that were specific and carefully crafted.  Look at the baskets in this photo...amazing!  And look at that magnificent face.

Originally Delores Saubel, a Capuno Indian,  hailed from the Warner's Ranch area and was then relocated to Los Coyotes Reservation near Borrego Springs.  Her marriage to Frances Patencio brought her into the Coachella Valley.  It was here she lived and created beautiful, perfect baskets that have incredible value today, some of which can be seen on display at the Palm Springs Art Museum.

Sketch of Delores Patencio by Pamela Hunt Lee

Using a compilation of several photographic images I have begun sketching and painting portraits of Delores Patencio. She had  strong features, deeply bronzed by the desert sun. This is just the beginning, and I am working hard to capture her likeness, working to bring honor to this woman's wisdom and strength.

Beginning of Delores Patencio portrait by Pamela Hunt Lee.
Unfinished 12x12

You can see the grid pattern, a helpful tool,  used to set up the composition.  Working with layers of pigment to achieve the richness this face deserves, takes time and patience, much like the time and patience Delores Patencio gave to her basket making.  I keep reminding myself to have patience, to continue the effort.  And while these head drawings and paintings are small and a stepping off point for a larger work they are demanding.  

I am heading back to the easel, so there is more to come.....

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