cutting a path through autumn
oil on canvas 10 x 8 inchescopyright Dawn Chandler 2011
Sometimes I just crave color — big, bold, juicy color.
And sometimes I guess I just crave a little bit of rebellion.
This painting started as a traditional landscape painting — a scene of horses grazing in a meadow in the Valle Vidal, with a line of voluminous cottonwoods behind them. You can see the cool greens of the original scene — fragments of the foliage and meadow — emerging throughout. A lone horse remains, grazing near the bottom of the picture.
Obviously I wasn't too satisfied with the original landscape; the paint handling in the landscape felt cumbersome. The canvas kicked around my studio for a long while when finally it called to me in want of metamorphosis.
There's nothing quite so liberating and joyfully defiant as taking a loaded palette knife and making the decision to attack a painting that I've been laboring over. But there's also always a little bit of fear involved. The internal conversation in my head usually goes something like this:
"This painting sucks. I should just attack it."
"Wait — it doesn't suck *that* badly. Look at those nice passages through there."
"No, it sucks. I'd rather start the whole thing all over again. This one isn't going to get any better; it's already too labored."
"But if you attack it, you may really ruin it."
"Yeah well, I think that's a risk I'm willing to take. And more than likely It's going to transform into something I can't yet imagine, but that in the end I'm going to love."
"Yeah....maybe so....But so what? It's just paint!"
"You sure you want to do this? It really isn't that bad."
"It's too late: I've already thought to do it; now I have to. [heart beating a little faster] I need to let this one go!"
"You may be sorry."
"I don't care! I HAVE to do this! I'm going for it!"
And it's always the right decision.
Cutting a Path Through Autumn is on view through October 21, 2011 at the Downey Gallery at 225 Canyon Road, Santa Fe.