Thursday, May 30, 2013

5.30.13 — remembering the mesa

remembering the mesa ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil and mixed media on panel ~ 8" x 8" ~ copyright dawn chandler 2013

I love this one. 

Something about it — that certain radiance of blue? the gold archway? the pure white of the clouds? — reminds me of that jewel-like quality of illuminated manuscripts.  Only here, the "manuscript" is concealed; words are revealed, but just barely.

The mesa pictured here is of my imagination; it's anywhere you want it to be.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

5.25.13 ~ which spirit would you choose?

thinking about it all at the end of the day ~ mixed media on panel ~ 8" x 8" ~ copyright dawn chandler 2013

dream blue, dream fire ~ mixed media on panel ~ 8" x 8" ~ copyright dawn chandler 2013

Which one would you choose?

A collector friend came calling this week, inspired by my "Studio Notes Newsletter" I mailed out earlier in the month. She saw the couple of my new "Spirit Notes" featured there and wanted to see more. Out of a dozen (so far) completed paintings in this series, she's narrowed her selection to these two. But she's going to hold off on making her final selection until opening night of my show in August, just in case she's tempted by some of the Notes I've yet to create. 

Some details:

thinking about it all at the end of the day ~ mixed media on panel ~ 8" x 8" ~ copyright dawn chandler 2013

dream blue, dream fire ~ mixed media on panel ~ 8" x 8" ~ copyright dawn chandler 2013


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

5.22.13 ~ the trail to pueblano

the trail to pueblano ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on panel ~ 12" x 24" ~ copyright dawn chandler 2013

Ohhhh.....Nature's pathways....How you ease my troubled mind....

'funny how even just a picture of a pathway can do that....

Here, we've just descended the trail from Wilson Mesa (remember all those previous paintings of "Baldy from Wilson Mesa"?) and are now headed eastward toward Pueblano, one of Philmont's most beloved North Country camps.


'Nothing like a path to lead me places...particularly to distraction... Good distraction....


Friday, May 17, 2013

5.17.13 ~ of books and pilgrims and journeys

Today is an extraordinary day.

For today I finished reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard. 

That fact isn't particularly extraordinary in itself. Rather, what's extraordinary is that on this exact day 28 years ago, I finished reading this same book. That's right: on May 17, 1985 I finished reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. That was the first time I read it. Today concluded my second reading, and I didn't even plan it this way; had no idea this year that when I read it before I closed the book on this same day three decades prior. 
Purely chance.

I find that remarkable.

How do I know this though, you may wonder, the book I read on a date some third-of-a-century prior ?

It's because I keep a list of every book I have ever read. 

Since the age of fourteen on the day I finish reading a book, I have jotted down the title, author and date of the book. 
Every book. 


I have my parents to thank for this unusual record-keeping. My father started his list on June 10, 1947 at the age of 16 with the entry of Loves Labors Lost by William Shakespeare; my mother started hers a year and a half into their marriage with Eleven Blue Men by Berton Roueche on November 17, 1955. Above that first entry is printed in my father's careful hand Marion's Reading List — her little blank book a clear gift from him.


I love to do this: to finish a book and add it to my list. I love looking back to see what other books in previous years I finished that day. Imagine my surprise and thrill to discover this same date and book today jotted down nearly three decades ago.

But why would I return to read again a book I've already read?

Because I'm feeling a hunger to return to these Nature writers. I'm feeling a yearning that I haven't felt in decades; a hunger, really, to take a long journey. To become a pilgrim again, in the ways of Nature. To pry secrets, take my chances, stalk and be changed, as Annie says.

In the cool of the evening...I am prying into secrets again, and taking my chances. I might see anything happen; I might see nothing but light on the water. I walk home exhilarated or becalmed, but always change, alive. "It scatters and gathers," Hericlius said, "it comes and goes." And I want to be in the way of its passage, and cooled by its invisible breath.

I want to take to the trail, the pathway, and journey again..

How perfect then, that the first book I entered in my book of books on May 31, 1978 was a book of a long journey. That book?

Monday, May 13, 2013

5.13.13 ~ the philmont museum : the gift of inspiration

Last Thursday night I had the pleasure of driving over to Cimarron and attending the opening reception of The Gift of Inspiration at the Philmont Museum.

How inspiring to see such creative excellence gathered together in one room. What fun to recognize the names on the wall of friends and peers.
The work of multimedia artist Buster Simpson (left) and retablo artist Charlotte Hollis (right).

Musical instruments by Russ Wolf on display in a case, with the music of Timothy Seaman softly playing throughout the museum.

Philmont seems to be especially fertile ground for inspiring photographers....

Here There Be Witches by Greg Russell

The Jumper by Mark Rikard

A suite of photographs by Daniel Overturf

And of course painters, including my good buddy, Jeff Segler:
Heading for Summer Pastures ~ oil on linen ~ by J. W. "Jeff" Segler

The art of Keith Walters

The craft of Steve Rick.

The Philmont experience has even inspired the creation of games! (It was impossible to photograph the pinball machine without a gaggle of kids — and dads! — around it... I finally gave up!)

The dazzling creative world of games master George Gomez.

How moving to read their words of how their experience at Philmont uniquely shaped them. 

 Photographer/farrier Mark Rikard reflects on his Philmont experience.

And what a privilege to see my own art upon the wall in the company of such fine artistry.

Have You Gazed.... (Baldy Mountain from Wilson Mesa, Reconsidered) ~ mixed media on panel (diptych) ~ 36" x 72" ~ by Dawn Chandler

Fun, too, to see so many familiar faces among the crowd mingling through the museum, admiring the exhibits!

Real live cowboy and musician extraordinaire Rod Taylor admiring the work of his long-ago colleague in the Horse Department, Mark Rikard

A hearty BRAVO to the Philmont Museum, the Philmont food service staff, and everyone else involved in orchestrating such a wonderful event.
Thank you!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

5.08.13 ~ have you strung your soul to silence? baldy mountain from wilson mesa, reconsidered

have you gazed.... ~ baldy mountain from wilson mesa, reconsidered ~ by dawn chandler ~ mixed media on panel (diptych) ~ 36" x 72" ~ copyright dawn chandler 2013

This is exciting: Tomorrow is the opening of The Gift of Inspiration, a special invitational art exhibition at the Philmont Museum. The show features the art of select former Philmont staff members who've gone on to pursue careers in the arts, and I'm honored — thrilled! — to have been invited to participate.

It's also the the unveiling of the first piece in my new series of paintings combining traditional landscape painting with "abstract" or unexpected elements. As I've mentioned before, it's been a long-held dream of mine to find a way to combine my two "styles" of painting — traditional landscape and more abstract mixed media works, I just never really quite knew how to do it.

But then some things started to happen — about which I wrote a few weeks ago.

Thanks to those influences, I was inspired to infiltrate my landscape paintings with fragments of textof personally meaningful passages of words.
The text I chose for this first series is that of Robert Service's 1910 poem, The Call of The Wild.

Have you gazed on naked grandeur...

Have you swept the visioned valley...

Have you strung your soul to silence...

Have you wandered in the wilderness...

Have you camped upon the foothills....

Have you roamed the arid sun-lands....

....Then for God's sake go and do it.


Though poetry scholars have long rolled their eyes at Service's doggeral lyricism, this poem is none the less one which fueled the passions of my peers and me "back in the day" when we "roamed the arid sun-lands" teaching back-packing and camping skills as Rangers at Philmont.
After forgetting about the poem for over two decades, I came across it again this winter when I found my old Wilderness Quotes booklet from my Rangering days.

Service's words ended up being the perfect jumping off point for developing my new series of paintings, especially as I've been thinking more and more about land and nature and the environment. In this 21st century, fewer and fewer people have gazed on naked splendor, or swept their eyes across the visioned valleys. In this crazy modern world of constant updates from wired devises, few have strung their soul to silence. When I think of my backpacking buddies from my young adulthood — and even myself until just recently — how many still camp upon the foothills or roam the arid sun-lands? 

Damn few.

We're losing touch with these places, and with that loss, losing a key sense of our own soulsnever mind the irreparable loss of the wild places.

I think I've found my soapbox. 
Only mine is made of panels and paint... and words.

 More to come.

Have you gazed.... so large (relative to my studio and car!) that I had to make it as a diptych (two panels together measuring 36" x 72"), and the only place I could fit it to work on it was on my kitchen table!
Incidentally, I've had prints of this painting made; they're available through my online print shop via Etsy. Click here to get there.

Some details:


Wednesday, May 01, 2013

5.01.2013 ~ baldy from wilson mesa - mark's view - painting and prints

baldy from wilson mesa ~ mark's view ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on canvas ~ 24" x 48" ~ copyright dawn chandler 2013

And here it is: the grand result of my recent painting explorations of the view of Baldy from WIlson Mesa. Recall that I started this project because my brother and sister-in-law desired a large painting for the fireplace mantel of their cabin. My brother had worked the gamut of jobs in the Ranger Department at Philmont back in the early 1980s — Ranger, Ranger Trainer, Rayado Trek Coordinator and Associate Chief Ranger — and so knows that country well. Of all the places on the Ranch though, the top of Wilson Mesa and its majestic view of Baldy Mountain is his favorite. This, then, was the view he requested for the painting.

I created six painting studies of the view for him to consider. In the end, this is the one he selected, and in my opinion he made the right choice. The other paintings are all lovely, but this one has a commanding presence — a majesty — not quite found in the others. This painting — this view — of Baldy from Wilson Mesa makes me pause with awe and wonderment: Can I do it?
And then it makes me want to lace up my boots and start hiking...west to that summit.

By the way, I'm offering limited edition prints of this painting. They're for sale via my print shop on Etsy — access it by clicking here
Note that there's a 15% off coupon available if you visit my Dawn Chandler Landscapes FaceBook page; get there by clicking here.
And even better? There's a 25% off coupon available to folks who subscribe to my newsletter (which comes out 2 - 5 times per year). Shoot me an email if you'd like to subscribe:
These coupons are good through next Tuesday (May 7th).

Details of the painting and print:

And this is the study painting from which my brother made his selection:

baldy from wilson mesa - mark's view (study) ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on panel ~ 12" x 24" ~ copyright ~ dawn chandler ~ 2013