Donna Clair

Southwest Contemporary Artist

I dream a lot. I do more painting when I’m not painting. It’s in the subconscious.
One’s art goes as far and as deep as one’s love goes.
It’s all in how you arrange the thing… the careful balance of the design is the motion.
-Andrew Wyeth-

Chicago 1967 – The Chicago Art Institute mounted a major exhibit of Andrew Wyeth’s paintings.  We were in the process of preparing our move to Santa Fe.  I was desperate to see that show!  It was somehow arranged that the babies would be well cared for that day.  I put on my favorite white summer dress and took the Illinois Central train to the Loop.  Stopped in Marshall Fields an treated myself to a Vidal Sassoon haircut which was then all the rage!  Damned cute!
Rushed over to the Art Institute – the line was quite long – eventually it would stretch all around the museum and almost reached Lake Michigan!  Bought my ticket and was informed that it would be a moving line because of the crowd.  The guards saw to it that we did not dawdle!  
Unaware that this was my last visit to the home of my Art Gods, I moved through the line, absorbing the essence of the paintings.  There was no time to study the brushstrokes, only enough to “feel” the essence of the work.  Perhaps that was the best way to view this man’s work – it is so strong and deeply emotional.  I felt the familiarity with which he painted his neighbors and the landscape….sombre colors – browns, black, ochres.  His limited palette amplified his familiarity with his subject matter. Took the train back to Homewood in a dreamlike state, still feeling the wholeness of my experience! 
Back to reality! Moving boxes, babies needing to be changed and fed.  Little did I realize how my experience on that day would affect choices I would later make in my own paintings! This was another one of those fateful “meetings” – I met Andrew Wyeth through his work and he spoke to my heart!      

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