Crown Jewels by Deland Anderson on Mishkalo.
Charu | August 10, 2017

A Unique Style of Painting: Dot Painting


What is DOT Painting?

Dot paintings originated with the Australian Aboriginal tribe. Before Indigenous Australian art was ever put onto canvas, the Aboriginal people would smooth over the soil to draw sacred designs which belonged to that particular ceremony.

Landscape Painting by Deland Anderson on Mishkalo

Landscape Painting by Deland Anderson on Mishkalony.

Body paint was also applied which held meanings connected to sacred rituals.  These designs were outlined with circles and encircled with dots.

People who did not belong to the tribe never got to see these sacred designs since the soil would be smoothed over again and painted bodies would be washed. This was not possible with paintings.

Crown Jewels by Deland Anderson on Mishkalo.

Crown Jewels by Deland Anderson.

Within the Dot painting style, the Aboriginal artists would overlap dots with larger dots, or they would closely join them to give the appearance of lines. They would even be dotted so densely that they created a flat colored area but the dots would still be visible.

Deland Andersen is an artist from Alaska, who has adapted this style. After high school, he went to the Australian outback and worked in a cattle station. There he got to meet some Australian aboriginal people who have a very different way of seeing the landscape. And he got introduced to the Dot style of art.

Ikpikpuk River by Deland Anderson on Mishkalo.

‘Ikpikpuk River’ by Deland Andersen

Is Dot Painting similar to Pointillism?

Artist Deland Andersen says it is quite different. “Pointillism was the precursor to pixels, you visualize an image as a set of discrete points. So, you may have many colored dots next to each other. The Aboriginal dot style tries to create a patterns with dots which then become images. You’ll see dots of one color completing a pattern.”
Petri Dish by Deland Anderson on Mishkalo.

Petri Dish by Deland Anderson on Mishkalo.

Certainly this style of painting can be used to create very distinct pieces of art and is unique enough to be a conversation piece on your wall.


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