Ink | Acrylic | Watercolor paper
22 x 30 inches, archival ink and acrylic paint on watercolor paper
Pueblo Bonito is located in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, a pre-Columbian archeological site. It was built by ancestral Puebloans and occupied between 850 and 1250 AD. It is a magical place. And complex. It is one of the few places in the US where you can wander back through time, more than a thousand years of human occupation, architecture, art and artifacts of a highly evolved culture that came before ours.
The canyon is accessible only by washboard dirt roads, seventy miles from the nearest town. Remote by today's standards. The canyon is home to multiple pueblos, or great houses, multi-story buildings made of stone walls and wooden beam ceilings.
At an elevation of 6,200 feet, Chaco is a high desert, sun-scorched in the summer and bitterly cold in the winter.
I visited Chaco Canyon in the early 2000's, camping for the maximum stay allowed, 2 nights on the parks primitive camp site.
Chaco Culture* is a network of archaeological sites in northwestern New Mexico. The sites were linked by an elaborate system of engineered roads, many of which can still be traced. These roads acted as inter-tribal trade routes. Artifacts, flutes, macaw bird bones and seashells are found here from as far away as southern Mexico, perhaps further.
Chacoans were expert skywatchers, with a clear knowledge of the cyclic and seasonal patterns of the sun, moon, and stars. This knowledge is reflected in the architecture of the great houses, and in various observational and ceremonial sites around the canyon. The most famous among these sites is the Sun Dagger, a petroglyph crafted to mark the cycles of the sun.
To see the making of this painting please visit my blog post 'Art in process'.
*Chaco Culture NHP is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
All artwork is the sole property of Elisabeth Winnen and is held under copyright (even after purchase). The images, artwork, and contents of this website may not be copied, collected, or used for personal or professional gain without the written permission from Elisabeth Winnen. All images of artwork, sold or otherwise, are retained by Elisabeth Winnen.