Thursday, September 22, 2011

09.22.2011 ~ elle a le coeur sensible

elle a le coeur sensible
8 x 8 inches  mixed media on panel
copyright dawn chandler 2011

Scrawled at the bottom of this — in my father's handwriting — are the words, "Elle a le coeur sensible." She has a sensitive heart.

Elle a le coeur sensible will be part of my show "Dawn Chandler — Recent Paintings" opening on October 7th at the Downey Gallery at 225 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

09.14.2011 ~ september clouds — a painter's clouds

Tonight the sky was filled with a painter's clouds. I could just imagine Mother Nature taking a fat bristle brush loaded with oil paint and dragging it across the canvas of the sky. Not the most dramatic of skies I've seen lately, but  the subtlety of color and the scumbled texture of the clouds were of the sort that makes a fellow painter catch her breath.

The sky lately, and the slant of early evening light across the red earth has caused me to reflect on the fact that most of this year the work I've been doing in my studio has NOT been landscapes. Rather, it's been mixed media — my "abstract" work, my "inner landscapes". It's been good, therapeutic work, and has helped me to work through some of the emotional struggles I've had to deal with this year (my father's death in February being one of them). And it's been necessary work as I gear up for my show next month at my new gallery. But my focus on this work has resulted in no time spent on my landscape paintings, nor working in oils for that matter. Not only is that because I've felt compelled to focus all of my energy on the gallery show paintings, but also with the extreme fire danger, I was relcutant to work with oils and solvents and have flammable paint rags around. (Indeed, a nearby neighbor's house was tragically destroyed by fire in early June, thanks to properly disposed of staining rags spontaneously combusting in an outdoor trash can).

But I'm getting ready. I've been carrying my camera with me on my walks, and recording this stunningly beautiful late summer/early autumn we're having so that I can paint this breezy season come winter. Honestly, I don't recall a more lush or brilliant late summer. Frequent rains have drawn out from sleep all sorts of drought-hibernating wildflowers and greenery. I never knew these dry hillsides could be so verdant and colorful. The contrast to the death-white pallor of June is staggering.

Once my gallery show is behind me, I'll be taking some time to plan my winter studio projects — landscape paintings key among them.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

09.08.2011 ~ page 1, rule 6

"Scramble. Be flexible." That's Page 1, Rule 6 of the Philmont Ranger Handbook, c. 1983, and is perhaps the best lesson I ever learned those summers working on staff as a Ranger at Philmont.

That lesson has come into play in my art career recently: My art show toward which I've been working the past many months and which was to open on September 2nd had to be postposed at the last minute. That's a great disappointment, but it was for a good — if profoundly sad — reason: the lovely owners of my gallery suffered a tragic loss in their family just days before Labor Day weekend.  

My show is now scheduled for October 7th — the Friday of Columbus Day weekend.

So, a shift of gears as I scramble and flex to go with the flow. Hurry up and.....pause.

My dear friend "Flora" — my first childhood friend who has known me perhaps better than anyone these past 45 years (!) — was here last week visiting me. Her plan was to be here for my art show. But with that event suddenly postponed and my paintings still hanging on the walls of my studio, we now had a chance to review the work in the quiet intimacy of my home.

Flora is a gifted artist herself, her talents manifested especially in home arts and decor. She has a keen eye for color and design.

Though I trust my own instinct when it comes to my art, sometimes after looking at, contemplating and being surrounded by my paintings for months and months, it's hard to step back and view the work with clear eyes. Inevitably there are unresolved issues that I can't quite settle. Getting a trusted opinion can make all the difference in resolution. Flora is one of the very few people whose opinion regarding my art I seek and trust. So having time to pause and reflect on these paintings with her was invaluable. Our conversations — and time together in general — was akin to pressing the "release" valve on a pressure tank; I feel a sense of clarity and satisfaction with this work that I hadn't wholly felt prior to sharing it in trusted counsel.

What's more is we now got to experience the "First Friday" art openings as revelers rather than hosts, and that was a real treat. I'm ashamed to admit that though I've been living in Santa Fe for a year and a half, I had yet to get down town to any art openings —— !!!. Criminal, I know. But I live just far enough outside of town that the effort of getting into town on a late Friday afternoon can seem near Herculean.  

Well, never again will that excuse pass muster. The experience of being among a joyful crowd viewing new art is just too much fun and invigorating to pass up again — not to mention it makes me feel much more connected to the larger "Art World". And that's a reassuring feeling, especially after the isolation of working in one's studio for months.

Now, with renewed insight and enthusiasm, time to return to the studio to make a few adjustments to this body of paintings......and prepare them for October 7th.