Tuesday, August 28, 2012

08.28.2012 ~ of eastern shores: cape cod, i

cape cod, i ~ the hopper house ~ oil on panel ~ 12 x 24 inches ~ by dawn chandler ~ copyright 2012 dawn chandler

My first painting of the Cape, based on my sojourn there in early July. Here, a view of Edward Hopper's charming house, up on the Truro dunes. The sea air sunlight was nearly blinding, silhouetting the house and dunes against the refractive sky. The moment I saw this view it took my breath away. No wonder Hopper spent so many summers here.

If you're unsure who Edward Hopper is, he's the painter of such iconic American scenes as these:

Nighthawks ~ oil on canvas ~ c.1942 ~ by Edward Hopper

The Lighthouse at Two Lights ~ oil on canvas ~ c.1929 ~ by Edward Hopper

[There's a cool article in the New York Times about this house and Hopper's painting of the Cape.]

We spent a week on the Cape, My Good Man and I, visiting beloved friends and taking in the captivating beauty of the arm of New England. A week wasn't nearly long enough. I want to go back and bury myself in the sand, throw myself out to sea, be dazzled by sea light reflection, get lost in the winding pathways among oak and water, immerse myself in art and food and gracious friends and community.... What a glorious landscape, what a delightful community. 

Below, some details of my painting. If you look carefully, you'll see the ghost of my underwriting/scribing. [Read more about that technique here.] 

This painting was fun to do in its simplicity of scene and palette. Fun to wield my brush and palette knife through buttery globs of white and grey.

cape cod, i ~ the hopper house ~ oil on panel ~ 12 x 24 inches ~ by dawn chandler ~ copyright 2012 dawn chandler

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

08.22.2012 ~ baldy from ute park, i

baldy from ute park, i ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on panel ~ 12 x 24 inches ~ copyright dawn chandler 2012

Arguably the most splendid view of Baldy Mountain I've ever witnessed: the view from my friend's cabin porch in Ute Park. Among my blessings this year I count the two summer mornings not long ago when I awoke to this view. I sat mesmerized for hours — no exaggeration there — staring at this peak, gently falling into a peace of mind "unexpected in common hours." Worry seemed simply to melt away the longer I pondered the folds of shadow, the slanting of light....

A few painting details below:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

08.16.2012 ~ summer comes to dixon, new mexico

the road to miya's ~ oil on panel ~ 12 x 24 inches ~ by dawn chandler ~ copyright dawn chandler 2012

I'm a romantic at heart. And there's just something kind of romantic about an empty country lane or pathway... I'm always drawn in by them, wondering what lies around the bend. I guess I'm an optimist at heart, too, for I tend to imagine something positive lying 'round the corner. Despite the shadows, there's opportunity waiting -- even if that opportunity is merely to walk a little further down a quiet New Mexico lane, smelling the sage as the day folds in to twilight...

The lane  here is the road to my friend Miya's home and pottery studio in Dixon, New Mexico. It's based on a walk I took there one evening back in June... 

Click here and here to see other images of Miya's place. 

Some details of the painting:

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

08.07.2012 ~ la luz trail

morning on the la luz trail ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on panel ~ 12 x 24 inches ~ copyright dawn chandler 2012

I've been looking forward all summer to posting my painting of the La Luz Trail. But I had to earn the right to post it.

What's significant about La Luz? 

Well, it's a winding, steadily climbing trail from the base of the Sandia Mountains to the tip top of Sandia Crest. The trail starts just to the northeast of the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico and ends at the radio towers at the top. It is truly one of the most beautiful, glorious trails I have ever hiked. Down below is the desert southwest yet there are moments on the trail when, if you didn't know any better, you'd swear you were in the Appalachians or some other lush mountain forest.

But what's really significant about La Luz (at least in my little world) is the epic La Luz Trail Run, which starts two miles out on a paved forest road, and climbs the steep heights of the trail to the top of the crest: 9 miles of steady, grinding uphill. And what's significant about THAT is that my running partner, Alex and I — against all odds — actually DID the 47th Annual La Luz Trail Run this past Sunday and FINISHED
Hooray for us! 
Hooray for Team Tortoise! 
Hooray for the 300+ other finishers!!

Really? I think I've earned bragging rights. Especially when you consider that I'm not a very good or fast or efficient runner. "Plodding" more accurately describes my movement. I like to say that I have two speeds: 
1) Slow 


2) a little less Slow

Which is why I'm not going to hesitate to toot my horn a little bit here and mention that Trail Runner Magazine has rated the La Luz Trail Run one of the top 12 most grueling trail races in the United States, with an elevation gain of over 4,000 feet
DANG! To think I did that!! And survived!  :D

The winner runs the race in an spectacular 01:20:00 (!!!!) -- I wasn't even at the halfway point at that time!
But the folks who have really earned my respect are the handful who were behind us. They were cranking away their exhausted bodies for hours and that takes extraordinary passion and stamina and drive. Hat's off!

I've pasted my number above my bathroom mirror and am considering taking up a friend's urging to wear my La Luz shirt every day for the next year. Here's a pic of Sunday's morning run:

And here we are — Team Tortoise — before and after the race (I'm the one with the curly, greying hair).

undaunted, doubtless desiring a bit more coffee and/or sleep, team tortoise considers the route of the la luz trail ahead

a victorious (if tired) team tortoise after completing the la luz trail run august 5, 2012.

Details of the painting:

Scroll to the top to see the whole painting again. The painting view is looking south, from partway (1/3? 1/2?) up the trail.

Thanks, all, for reading! :)

Friday, August 03, 2012

08.03.2012 ~ sojourning artist, iv

My Italian art kit was fine for working with a limited palette. But for my summer trips this year, I'm wanting more color. 

And here, finally, is the perfect medium:

Watercolor pencils!

Here's why they're so cool:

-- They're not messy. At All.

-- They're totally transportable.

-- No clean up.

-- You can work them wet OR DRY because....
-- You get two art supplies in one: colored pencils AND watercolors.

-- They come in a stunning array of colors.

Okay, there's one caveat:

-- The colors are incredibly vibrant; it's hard to get subtleties. Or rather, it takes practice getting subtleties.
I suppose one could argue that they are relatively bulky and heavy. But compared to a big easel and paintbox? Come on -- these are nothing. When traveling I stash my pencils in a zippered pencil holder -- the kind you find in the school supplies" section of an office store (....or at least that you used to find back in the days when kids actually wrote with implements other than a keyboard. See previous post for what I'm talking about).

Note that I've divided the pencils into three groups: on the top, "cool" colors (blues, greens, purples certain browns and greys) and on the bottom, "warm" colors (reds, yellows, oranges, corals, other browns and greys). In the center are the darkest darks I could find (recently purchased at Artisans)

Look at how dark the pencils and their "lead" seems, but the colors they become when drawn and painted -- quite a difference.

Here's a couple samples of recent watercolor pencil sketches I did last weekend, sitting on a friend's porch in Ute Park, New Mexico, looking north to Baldy Mountain. The first is based on the evening view; the second on the morning.

sketch of baldy mountain from ute park (evening) ~ 4" x 6" ~ watercolor pencil ~ copyright dawn chandler

sketch of baldy mountain from ute park (morning) ~ 4" x 6" ~ watercolor pencil ~ copyright dawn chandler