I met Lucille Blessing Earle through her purchase of my ‘Evening Water Tulip,’ which I reviewed earlier. Lucille introduced me to the fabulous handmade Nampeyo pottery.


Lucille had several of her beautiful pottery pieces, which I was allowed to touch and turn in my hands. Lucille’s first husband was an architect contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright. Besides creating the drawings for the Encanto Park Band Shell, Phoenix, Arizona, he also worked on state projects, taking him and his bride to all four corners of Arizona and the Indian reservations. Around 1946-47, they bought pottery, baskets, and many important Indian artifacts. I was enchanted by her stories. One day after taking a good look at all her historic pieces, I asked her if I could photograph them. The idea was to put together her pieces for a still life painting.

After a half-day of bringing various pieces out to our setup in the sunlight, I finally got the arrangement I was looking for. We used an Indian prayer rug for the base and background. Placing real deerskin beaded moccasins, a small paint pot that held the ink to make the black paint for the pottery from a Devil’s Claw pod, and finally the beautiful Nampeyo pottery. It all told the story of Nampeyo.

The original watercolor painting was less than the impressive scene it was supposed to depict. I had to do something. I would not suggest this for every non-performing painting, but I went back over the whole piece with watercolor crayons. It was such a surprise success. I loved the piece. ‘Once Upon A Prayer’ was exhibited in only one show, ‘The Scottsdale Celebration of Fine Art,’ Arizona Artists Guild, February 16-April 14, 1991. ‘Once Upon A Prayer,’ 15″x22″, 1990.
The painting was sold to Chris Wells. If you know where he is, let him know I am looking for him!

Pin It on Pinterest