Monday, June 09, 2014

6.9.14 ~ free painting!

april storm moving in over the sandias, santa fe ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on panel (en plein air) ~ 5" x 7" ~ copyright dawn chandler 2014

Happy to mail this little plein air painting off to one Jean Zaun who WON it — got it for FREE — simply by reading my last Studio Notes newsletter, responding to my wee little contest, and having her name drawn out of a hat.

What's that you say? You received my Studio Notes newsletter but saw nothing about a contest? Well you didn't read it carefully, my friend. Out of some 192 people who supposedly read the newsletter, a mere 6 people — SIX! —entered the contest. THANK YOU Todd Conklin, Trish Nadler, Leonore McDonald, Tina Welter, Pete Silldorff and Jean Zaun for paying extra-not-so-secret-careful attention! Your names will be entered in the Studio Pith Helmet for the soon-to-be Justly Famous End of Year Grand Prix Studio Pith Helmet Painting Raffle (amazing art prize yet to be determined)].

Missed your chance? Fear Not! Simply checkout my next Studio Notes newsletter for another wee little contest

Not currently subscribed? You can sign-up for my Studio Notes newsletter by visiting any page of my website at, entering your name in the subscribe to dawn chandler's studio notes newsletter field and hitting "subscribe".
And maybe next time I'll be mailing off a sweet little painting to you! :)

Monday, June 02, 2014

6.2.14 ~ and the air smelled like rain

and the air smelled like rain ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on panel ~ 12" x 24" ~ copyright dawn chandler 2014

A couple of weeks ago I'd ordered six 48" x 60" panels — HUGE canvases! — for some new mixed-media paintings I'm planning. They'd be shipped via special carrier, and would take a while. As I looked in my studio I realized that, except for a few tiny plein air sketches I'd done earlier in the spring, I have no recent traditional landscape paintings. NONE. All my landscapes are from last year or earlier. Yikes! how did that happen? [Easy: I've been busy with other—"non-traditional"— projects in my studio, soon to be shared here.] But seeing as my landscapes are my "bread-&-butter" the delay in large-canvas-delivery was providing a perfect opening in my calendar to get busy again building up my portfolio of landscapes. 

I don't know if it's the feng shui and easy flow of working in my new studio.... Or if it's having spent those few weeks earlier focusing on plein air painting and sharpening of my eye.... or if it's the result of limiting my paint palette then to just four essential colors and forcing myself to hone my color-mixing skills... Likely it's all of these. But the result these couple of weeks is that I've cranked out a solid painting nearly every day, my brushes and me singing with satisfaction.

Here's one of them — a story of rebirth. 

I abandoned this painting last year before completion, nearly throwing it away. It just wasn't working. Not sure why. Lacked contrast? Lacked a story, maybe?
But I saved it, and last week found it again, tucked into a stack of panels hidden under a table in my studio.

"Hmmm.....I think I can do something with this...." 
I searched through countless digital files for the original reference photo....Not there.; couldn't find it. No idea what photo I'd used. 
So... "Screw it: I''ll wing it."




Oops. But no title. 

My title imagination just felt spent. 

So.... I turned to my FaceBook friends to see what titles they might suggest and......WOW! What a cool response of poetic, imaginative, numerous, soulful, lovely suggestions!

Prairie School
Summer Serenity
Afternoon Thunderclouds
Big Sky, Big Dreams
Afternoon Storm
Mesa Remembrances
Mountains to Plains
Just a Little Past Nowehere, Left of Far Out
Colfax Comancheria
And My Breath Grew Wider
Vernon David's
Praying for Rain
Wide Open Spaces
Clouds Blessning Mesas
Through the Deafening Calm Comes Serenity
Noon Showers on the Horizon
Afternoon Showers
Cool Breeze Coming
And the Air Smelled like Rain
Untitled #127
Heaven on Earth
Awe #%?! We're Gonn Get Wet
Twilight Enchantment
Dragon Cloud
Prairie Afternoon
Smells Like Rain
100 Shades of Promise

Arriving Home Again

In the end though I've decided on "And the Air Smelled like Rain" — a little bit of poetry articulated by Rebecca Holcomb, but certainly touched on by others.

Still, these other titles are too splendid to let let go, so I'm just going to have to get busy and paint some paintings to match these titles.

For the record: This painting is based on that area of New Mexico that runs between Cimarron and Raton; as one friend put it, the "Colfax Comancheria"

Below, a brushwork detail: