Monday, August 22, 2011

08.22.2011 ~ hoping they'll find me

hoping they'll find me
— 8 x 8 inches — mixed media
— copyright Dawn Chandler 2011

In the grey days following my father's death this past February, when I was tending to the trying chore of going through his things and cleaning out his apartment, I'd find myself each evening, mentally and emotionally exhausted, sitting in his easy chair beside the open porch door. Though winter, I had the door ajar, to cool things off after a long day of hauling boxes and books and furniture.

The colors of those days were the wan palette of winter. But the sunsets there in central New Jersey were glorious shades of brilliant pink and orange. Each evening, just as the last colors of sunset were about to fade, a flock of geese would fly low overhead. All other sounds seemed to evaporate, save the call of those honking geese. They were such a comfort to me during those difficult days. I couldn't help but sense my parents' spirit in the passage of those geese.

Those wetland birds have continued to visit me in the high desert of New Mexico, if only in the realm of my paintings. . . .

Below, a few details of "Hoping They'll Find Me" ~

"Hoping They'll Find Me" will be on display with many other of my recent works at the Downey Gallery in Santa Fe during my September show. The opening reception is Friday, September 2nd, 5:00 - 7:00pm

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

08.16.2011 ~ releasing my fears

releasing my fears — 10 x 10 inches — mixed media
— copyright Dawn Chandler 2011

releasing my fears
to the storm; like kites, some caught
in leafless branches

I wrote that haiku — or rather, it wrote itself — as I worked on this painting. I started this sometime in the spring of 2010, when I was visiting my friend and fellow artist Joan Fullerton. We were having a great time in her studio, experimenting with mixed media techniques whilst sipping vino and listening to good music.

That tree image is hers — a photo that I xeroxed onto tissue paper, and then glued down over printed text. I then applied paint in shades of grey, pulling in the atmosphere around the tree. Later, I added bits of gold-tinged paper, and thought of kites.....I wrote across the painting's surface with my dip pen, lines of the above haiku.

Over the ensuing months, occasionally when I'd consider this piece, I'd be tempted to add more color. But ultimately I decided it stands best as a monochromatic statement.

This painting will be on display with many other of my recent works at the Downey Gallery in Santa Fe during my September show. The opening reception is Friday, September 2nd, 5:00 - 7:00pm

Below, some details of "releasing my fears":

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

08.10.2011 ~ nambe' & stowe

A collector who's become a good friend visited with his young daughter on Sunday evening. My studio was a stop on their 2-week road trip. Whether intentionally or not, he and his wife are cultivating in their five-year old quite an eye for art. Of the two paintings they purchased, she picked out the Nambe trees; he, the abstracted landscape, both pictured above. They also purchased a good quantity of my handcrafted soap, which is sure to scent their car — if not their bodies — for the remainder of their trip!

I recall that those Nambe trees were quite a challenge — how to get the feeling of soon-to-bud springtime growth without getting caught up in rendering every last twig and branch. How I resolved it is described here:

The abstracted landscape is based on a scene in Vermont. Back when I was doing the weekend Santa Fe art markets last spring, I had a woman hemming and hawing about buying this piece. She clearly loved it , returned several times, and even studied it on my web site. I was sorry that she never came back to buy it, for it clearly spoke to her. In the end it's just as well, for I'm even more pleased to have it be added to the growing collection of a good friend. I recognize that these abstracted landscapes and mixed media pieces don't speak to everyone, so I'm always particularly excited when the do resonate for someone.

Here my original blog post about this piece:

Friday, August 05, 2011

08.05.2011 ~ Fire and Rain

fire and rain
— 24 x 24 inches — mixed media
— copyright Dawn Chandler 2011

This has been the lost summer — one of smokey, smouldering anxiety.

The evening before my previous post, a downed aspen fell upon an electrical wire over near the town of Los Alamos, setting off an inferno that blazed like a cancer across the Jemez mountains, decimating over 150,000** acres of beautiful forests, arroyos, mesas and meadows. For a month our skies were filled with smoke, as we sat helpless watching our beautiful wildlands go up in flames.

The first significant rain in many months arrived at my house on the last day of June, though it did little to dissipate the fires the next county over. Still, when the clouds opened up with rain overhead, I wept. And in the morning, the birds and earth seemed to sing with abandon.

A couple more showers came and went after that, but July (at least at my house) wasn't nearly as wet as it might have been. August though seems to be making up for that, and my little world here among the pinon foothills is rejoicing. The fires of Los Alamos and Santa Fe are now out, thanks to the incredible efforts of armies of fire fighters. May the healing begin.

**For my Philmont friends, try to imagine: That's an area larger than all of Phiilmont.

Below, some details of Fire and Rain.