My Favorite Artists: Prehistoric Times

I’m starting a new ongoing series of posts about my personal favorite artists and why they are. Art goes back a very long way. The current oldest known work of art is 40,000 year old cave paintings of wild cattle in Borneo. Animal art! You can read more about that here.

I’ve not personally visited any of the caves with wall paintings, but I have seen a number of sites in Mongolia with pictographs on outdoor rocks. My best photos of, and favorite, rock art is at Hogno Han Nature Reserve which is about five hours west of Ulaanbaatar. It’s on the west side of a small valley so it faces east. It’s easy to walk right up to it from the road. But sometimes there’s “local traffic” to get past first.

Domestic Mongol horses on a rainy day
Pictographs are below the blue arrow

I love that long before “civilization” began people expressed themselves through art and in a way that has survived for us to see it today. The creative drive has clearly been with us for a very, very long time. We all have that capacity. It’s just a matter of finding out the best way for us to express our own creativity, whether it’s painting, crochet, cooking, singing, sketching, sewing, whatever appeals to you. It’s about the joy of doing it, not the result. How do you express your creativity? Let me know in the comments!

In this image, from left to right is an ibex with a human below (see detail below); what looks to be an elk-like grazer; below that what might be a small group of horses or gazelles, then a very clear argali sheep; and finally to the right and a bit above is what I think is a wild bovine
Our relationship with animals goes back a very long way.

New Painting Debut! “Petroglyphs, Ikh Nartiin Chuluu”

"Petroglyphs, Ikh Nartiin Chuluu"  oil  12x12"
“Petroglyphs, Ikh Nartiin Chuluu” oil 12×12″

Although Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve is known as a great wildlife destination where it’s pretty easy to see argali sheep and Siberian ibex, it’s also turning out to be a treasure house of archaeological and cultural artifacts and sites. Among them are inscriptions and petroglyphs, including the subjects of my painting, which are part of a variety of images on a large rock near a well. You can see them in the photograph below which I took in 2008.

Rock with petroglyphs, Ikh Nartiin Chuluu
Rock with petroglyphs, Ikh Nartiin Chuluu

Research into this facet of the reserve only began a few years ago through an Earthwatch-sponsored project “Archaeology of the Mongolian Steppe”. The over 70 sites recorded so far cover 6,000 years of human habitation, including at least one site dating from the time of Chinggis Khan.

“Petroglyphs, Ikh Nartiin Chuluu” will be in the upcoming Redwood Art Association show “Elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air”, from February 23 to March 20.