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."

And......

some.......
how....... 
it...... 
came........
TO....
GETHER!

Voila!


Oops. But no title. 

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

Arriving Home Again
TOUGH TOUGH CHOICE!!

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:



2 comments:

Jane Thompson Hasenmueller said...

Love this painting and that is such a beautiful part of NM. There is nothing like the smell of rain in northern NM. Perfect title!

Dawn Chandler said...

Thanks, Jane! I agree: There's nothing like the smell of rain in northern New Mexico... I can't imagine living away from it.