Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

1808 PD: 3 Open minutes ... with Rolinda Stotts

Published on 09 December 2008

3 Open minutes ... with Rolinda Stotts
Bellarosa art specialist

What was the inspiration behind the creation of your nativity scene, “Royal Robes”?
I feel very passionate about motherhood, in particular about Christ’s mother. Mary played a huge role in His life. I wanted to capture that nurturing moment when it was just her and Him, when the world wasn't involved. I wanted to capture the motherly feelings of that sacred moment.



What do you like most about this piece?
I like different aspects of the piece. Obviously the red symbolized the whole ‘royalness’ of the scene. Some people comment that they like how the robes encircle both Mary and Christ so that they are together. There is also a little bit of a glow coming off the head of Christ. That was a happy little accident.

What is it that you like most about working in this medium?
I like working with my hands. Growing up on a small dairy farm, I learned how to work with my hands. My art form is very, very physical. I cut my own wood and use my tools. I gained all of the basic skills I use on the farm.

How would you describe your art to others?
The technique itself is called bellarosa, which translated means beautiful broken. When the sun bakes the earth in a spot saturated with water, the earth actually cracks. It’s irregular, like Nature is playing and manipulating all those broken pieces of soil. I think I’ve stumbled across a way to be able to capture those feelings of broken, dried earth.

What do you think this medium adds to the portrayal of the Nativity?
With this particular painting, I was trying to make it an ancient, religious, not really an icon, but something that has a history to it.

Normally I try to keep the natural cracks a dominant factor in the artwork, but you’ll notice on the faces of both Mary and the Christ Child, I actually tried to smooth them over more than I normally would in my other pieces. Just because I wanted their faces to feel fresh and alive, even though around them may have seemed more distressed or aged.


Since you grew up on a dairy, what is your most memorable dairy moment?
The first thing that pops into my head is the memory of my brother pitching face-first into manure, my dad prying him up and saying, “Don’t lick your lips!”

The thing I miss the most is coming home from a very long day of being out in the barn in the muck and feeling the quiet calm you feel from a doing a good day’s work. That’s a great feeling. It’s satisfying.

What most surprises people about you?
I’ll be at these beautiful galleries and people will ask me where I went to art school. I tell them I got my degree in animal sciences.

To learn more about Rolinda Stotts or purchase some of her work, visit