Tuesday, April 23, 2013

04.23.13 ~ baldy mountain from wilson mesa ~ monsoon season (philmont)

baldy from wilson mesa - monsoon season ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on panel ~ 12" x 24" ~ copyright dawn chandler 2013

For a few brief moments this afternoon, Santa Fe almost looked like this. We so need so many more of this deep-purple grey to the mountains and sky, for they foretell R A I N.

A few droplets is what we got — just enough to settle the dust and tease the flora and my senses. Oh how divine it was to smell rain, if only fleetingly.

Pictured here, my recent painting of Baldy Mountain (Philmont) consumed in the summer monsoon rains. This image is based on a photo by musician Timothy Seaman (thanks Timothy!), who worked at Philmont in the early 1970s. The painting is the fifth in my series of paintings of Baldy from the top of Wilson Mesa.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

04.21.2013 ~ finding peace in art & nature

late winter shades of the gila ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on panel ~ 12" x 24" ~ copyright dawn chandler 2013

When tragedy strikes, I retreat. My instinct is to withdraw; unplug from society and bandage my soul with space.



I turn to art

and I turn to Nature

So it was last week when a blue and yellow banner in a sea of joy in our beloved Boston became awash in blood and shrapnel and splintered lives.

After so many hours I needed, finally, to step away from the news.

I needed to do something to counter the choking feeling of helplessness. I needed to quell my anger and outrage. Or maybe I needed to go somewhere quiet and safe and let it seethe a while.
I wanted to hibernate.

So I did, in the late winter colors of the Gila* Wilderness of southwestern New Mexico.

Six weeks prior, in the final days of winter, a group of friends and I loaded up our backpacks and headed to that dry corner of New Mexico. Despite nineteen years of living in New Mexico, other than a quick drive through on an Arizona-bound road-trip once, I'd never been to that part of the state. Little did I know how much I was missing.

I took over 300 photos of the Gila for painting reference. But I hadn't gotten to it yet. Travel. Chores. Errands. Other Projects. It all kept getting in the way.

Then came the events of last week... and the muted colors of late winter in the Gila provided a tawny bandage for my soul.

*Pronounced "heel-a"

Below, some details of the paint textures and brush strokes....

Art and Nature
Nature and Art

They help.

...as does fitness. And community.
For a couple days after Patriot's Day I ventured out on the nature trails closer to home, to further bandage my soul. I did so by joining thousands of other runners across the world in "Running for Boston." 

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

04.09.2013 - a midday view of baldy

baldy mountain from wilson mesa - midday atop the mesa - by dawn chandler - oil on panel - 12"x24" - copyright dawn chandler 2013

The fourth (so far) in my series of views of Baldy from Wilson Mesa. With its sun-bleached colors and lack of shadows, this one really captures for me the dry heat of midday in New Mexico. 
Thanks, Clay Pruitt, for the use of your photograph! He took this shot while on an Autumn Adventre Trek at Philmont.

Monday, April 08, 2013

04.08.2013 ~ trail notes: morning in the sandias

quick watercolor sketch of the albuquerque sandias, here the view from supper rock lookout, looking south, near copper — 5"x7"  by dawn chandler — copyright dawn chandler 2013

Took the pup into the Sandia foothills early this morning for a hike, and on the spur of a moment decided to toss my tiny little watercolor set into my pack.

Okay, so maybe it's not my best watercolor sketch ever, but considering I had an impatient 60lb pup tugging the leash, a slippery rock upon which to set my palette, and less than ideal paint colors, I say "not bad."

And then when a flock of birds suddenly rose up in front of us out of no where like a fluttering of spirits, and that 60lbs of warm black love finally just gave in and snuggled up next to me, and the golden light contrasting against the purple-blue shadows of sunrise on the mountains and that feeling of not only being on top of but of owning and being owned by this great big beautiful world, I say again to myself, "not bad."

Indeed. This may become habit-forming.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

04.06.2013 ~ farmers are cool

I love doing business with farmers! Just received the final payment from my favorite organic farm — Hobbs Family Farm — for the painting I did of their autumn fields up in Avondale, Colorado. I was perplexed when I opened my mailbox to find an envelope a bit bigger than usual. What could it be? Some beautiful packages of Farm Direct Organic Seed, that's what! My mouth is already watering and nostrils flaring as I imagine by garden bursting with Organic Genovese Basil, Organic Sunmaster Cilantro, Organic Strawberry Blonde Calendula Flowers and Organic Peacevine Cherry Tomatoes.
Thanks Hobbs Family Farm! Thanks for being compassionate stewards of the land, a patron of the arts and good friends!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

04.04.2013 ~ moment of pause ~ the baldy mountain project

baldy from wilson mesa - moment of pause — by dawn chandler — oil on panel —12"x24" — copyright dawn chandler 2013

The third painting in my "Baldy Mountain Project" and the third view of Baldy from Wilson Mesa — this time based on a photo by Wally Berg (Thanks, Wally!).

This one feels more subtle than the first two. Less dramatic in color and shapes and brushstroke. 



Rather than urging you to climb that distant peak, here I feel invited to pause by the water and stay awhile. 

Sit down...

Stretch your legs...

Lean back against your pack...

Breathe ....deeply..

Snooze... or pull out a book....

and maybe that book is what I'm reading now: Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac in which he muses:

I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in. Of what avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map?