Wednesday, July 31, 2013

7.31.13 ~ painting to the tune of blackpowder

morning, looking down miranda meadow ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil and mixed media on panel (en plein air) 6" x 12" ~ copyright dawn chandler

My second painting that glorious morning at Miranda. The vantage here is half way or so down the meadow. I'm on the north side, in the shadow of a small grove of trees, looking southeast. I can honestly say that this was the first time I have ever  — EVER! — in my life painted with the sound of black-powder rifles in the background.

Why was there rifle shot in the background? Because Miranda is one of several "living history" backcountry camps at Philmont. The staff living at Miranda each summer live as though they are 19th century mountain men, demonstrating to the Scouts backpacking through the wily ways of trappers and fur-traders, including how to load and shoot a black-powder rifle.

I can hardly mention Miranda and black-powder rifles without mentioning that the last time I shot a black-powder rifle at Miranda (c.2003?), was my first time in decades shooting a rifle at all
The gentleman offered me the rifle, I gave it a single shot...and -- BAAAM! -- I hit the target! 

"Wanna shoot again?" 

"Nope. I like my record just as it is!" 

They don't call me "Annie Oaklie" for nuthin'.

a sojourning artist's paint kit, backpack ...... and philmont trail meal

Saturday, July 27, 2013

7.27.13 ~ morning painting at miranda

miranda morning ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on panel (en plein air) ~ 6 x 12 inches ~ copyright dawn chandler 2013

"Do you want to go paint in the backcountry?" Philmont's Museum Director asked me the first day of my art residency.

"Are you kidding me? YES!"

"Where do you want to go?"

And so it was that I ended up last Thursday morning — a day forecast with rain, but which ended up being the most clear and glorious day of the summer — with my plein air paint kit up at Miranda.



In all my years of working at Philmont, in all my years painting, never did I imagine the two passions would meet physically! And yet there I was on the edge of my favorite, most beautiful meadow in all of New Mexico at 7:15a.m. watching the long shadows of night time recede from the damp meadow back into the surrounding aspens, my fingers numb with cold mixing colors,  the smell of wildflowers and pine trees and coffee awakening my senses.

Monday, July 22, 2013

7.22.13 ~ late morning, urraca mesa

late morning ` urraca mesa ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil and mixed media on panel (en plein air) ~ 6 x 12 inches ~ copyright dawn chandler 2013

I was so pumped from my early morning painting excursion trying to capture the Tooth and Trail Peak, that when I got back into BaseCamp that morning, I decided to keep at it! Here's just behind the Philmont Museum, looking south to Urraca Mesa. The clouds can't seem to decide whether they're coming or going.

I painted this on one of my "word panels"; a panel on which I've glued words and phrases. In this case (as with all the paintings in this series) the words come from Rpbert Service's poem, The Call of the Wild. If you look carefully, you can just make out some of the words bleeding through

Sunday, July 21, 2013

7.21.13 ~ sunrise lights the tooth of time (philmont)

sunrise lights the tooth of time (philmont) ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on panel (en plein air) ~ 6 x 12 inches ~ copyright dawn chandler 2013

I admit: It was pretty glorious to be standing before the the Tooth in the first light of morning, breathing in the sparkling clean after-rain air, working my palette knife frantically trying to capture the color and light before it all changed in a moment....

Here, Wednesday morning 17 July 2013.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

07.20.13 ~ morning light on trail peak

morning light ~ trail peak ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on panel (en plein air) ~ 8 x 10 inches ~ copyright dawn chandler

One good thing about rainy weather out here, is that sometimes the clouds break. When that happens in the early morning, you can get some lovely rosy light and interesting tattered shapes in the clouds. I caught this when perched on the Cattle Headqurters' overlook early Wednesday morning.

Funny, in all my years staring at this mountain, I've never climbed it.
How about you Philmont readers? Anyone climb Trail Peak?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

7.16.13 ~ of glorious rain and paint

On Monday morning the Ranch awoke to rain. When was the last time that happened? No one could remember. The color of the day was grey, but few of us "old timers" were complaining; after five months of record drought, it was the most gorgeous, wet, shade of grey a person had ever seen.

The rain continued all morning, with only occasional breaks. I headed up to the lookout above Cattle Headquarters during one of them, and attempted to capture the look of Urraca Mesa engulfed in the clouds, my paint box sitting on the hood of my car.

rain consuming urraca mesa ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on panel (en plein air) ~ 9 x 11 inches ~ copyright dawn chandler 2013
 While up there, a Philmont vehicle pulled over to see what I was doing; it turned out to be Philmont's Ranch Manager, Bob Rickleffs. Good to catch up and share impressions of the rain. We agreed that "back in the day" (1980s) the rain always seems to move in and settle for at least a few days straight each July. The kind of rain where you'd wake up and fall asleep to rain. But we haven't seen that kind of rain in years, maybe even decades. Indeed, when I drove through Colfax County just ten days ago, the grass in the plains wasn't even brown, it was white, parched the pallor of death.

And here now, overnight, the grass had turned green again. A deep, lush, verdant, velvety green. Astounding.

By afternoon the rain had pretty much subsided, though the clouds still threatened, and by evening I was back out painting off the hood of my car, this time on the road in front of the Villa.

evening west across the pasture ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on panel (en plein air) ~ 8 x 10 inches ~ copyright dawn chandler

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

7.15.13 ~ artist in residence at philmont scout ranch

How blessed am I?!

Arrived at Philmont Scout Ranch Sunday for my week of being an "Artist in Residence." This is in conjunction with the Gift of Inspiration exhibit currently on display at the Philmont Museum, that highlights the art of former Philmont staff. The Ranch has graciously provided me with room and board for the week and in return I am "doing my art thing" and interacting with participants.

With my little Subaru packed to the gills, I unloaded quantities of art and supplies and set up a makeshift studio in the covered alcove behind the museum. 

Setting up [painting!] shop at the Philmont Museum.

Because my painting Have You Gazed... in the exhibit is of mixed media, that's what I'm working on while camped in the alcove. This way people can get a sense of how my big painting was made. When not working on mixed media at the picnic table, I'm out and about at the Ranch, painting en plein air — as I did Sunday night after dinner, under the portico of the Villa. Here's a quick (c. 1 hour) painting of the view looking west, with rain clouds building for what was to become an epic overnight storm.

Evening View from the Villa Portico ~ by Dawn Chandler ~ oil on panel (en plein air) ~ 8 x 10 inches

While focusing on this painting, I was mildly aware of people gathering a few feet behind me, in the assembly hall. Soon I was sharing quite a large audience with the Philmont Training Center's opening campfire ceremony that was forced inside due to the threat of rain. At one point a young girl came out and inquired as to my name, and when I told her, she proudly announced, "We have TWO of your paintings!" She went back and fetched her mom, who, it turns out, discovered my art online last summer and, after a lovely email exchange did, indeed, buy two of my paintings! What an unexpected pleasure to meet one of my patrons in person -- and under such cool circumstances.

I love this place!

Sunday, July 07, 2013

7.07.13 ~ on the trail to crooked creek — traditional landscape....rEcOnSiDeRed

traditional landscape . . . .

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

. . . reconsidered . . .

do i listen? ~ by dawn chandler ~ mixed media on panel ~ 12" x 24" ~ copyright dawn chandler 2013

In the coming weeks you'll be seeing more of these landscapes with passages of words.




And the vertical lines. . .

What do they mean?

Your guess is as good as mine.

But for some reason I'm compelled to put them in there. It's like an itch; the painting doesn't feel finished until I've etched these long slender marks.
They're a recurring compositional element in my work, haunting my paintings here and there for some twenty years.

In this new body of paintings, the vertical lines seem to sequester off or frame areas of the landscape portrayed.
Much like our memories.
Whole passages of our memory of a place fades under mental rust and dust. Our recollections narrow. Sharpness softens.
Or we forget altogether as our focus is diverted with the ping of devices.

What's left?

some details:

do i listen? ~ by dawn chandler ~ mixed media on panel ~ 12" x 24" ~ copyright dawn chandler 2013
Incidentally, just as in my first painting in this series, Baldy Mountain from Wilson Mesa ~ Have You Gazed, most of the words and phrases in this painting come from the Robert Service poem, The Call of Wild.

Also, this view of Crooked Creek was shared with me by way of my dear friend and Philmont legend Mariah Hughes, who spent a summer exploring these meadows and pathways as one of Philmont's first women camp directors. As I learned this weekend, Mariah requested this photo of our friend, Jim MacGillivray. (Nice job, Jim!)

Today is Mariah's birthday, so it only seems appropriate that I post these paintings today. Happy birthday, SS! ;)

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