Donna Clair

Southwest Contemporary Artist

How I Came to New Mexico and learned about Art and Life



Taos, N.M. 12/12/18 – Just read somewhere that it is incumbent upon women of a certain age to tell their stories.  Wonder why?  After posting the notes from my recent “Sentimental  Journey” starting at Pilar and traveling all the way to the horse ranch on Llano Quemado near Truchas town, I stopped writing for a few weeks.  The time in between was spent editing the photographs I took that afternoon, choosing the ones I wanted to paint, ordering frames and generally gearing up to paint through the next winter months.  Have set up a new online gallery store on eBay; planning to put up the new paintings and my studio inventory of archival prints. All the necessary things an artist does to avoid the elephant in the room – revealing the stories of the next eleven years of my earthly journey.

During the time of not writing, I was remembering – people, places and life so long ago.  The memories come in bits and pieces  – definitely some happy times and, of course some pain and agony in order to ward off any complacency!  What made me think these blog posts would all be happy, happy?  In truth I wanted to avoid any hint of trouble in Paradise  – cover it over, bury it.  This is an archaeological dig – and as I sift through all the dirt, pebbles and some huge boulders, I am beginning to realize that perhaps the Universe had a plan for my life and all I did was follow the “life arrows” when they became obvious.

Completed a 36″x60″ canvas the other day.  Began to cry as I put down the brushes.  It was such an amazing day.  I listened to the Met broadcast and was transported to my “other world” – that dreamy place where paintings are imagined before they come to life.  The sun streamed in from the front window  and I cried.  Thought of the old man who gave me all his paints and brushed so long ago.  Yes, it has been over seventy years now and even though I threaten to quit with some regularity, I still LOVE to paint!  The smells of oils and turpentine make me giddy.  I am addicted to the process.  To my knowledge there is no twelve step recovery program for working artists.  Every day is a new beginning! 

There are 12 small studies from the trip to Truchas propped up on my large easel – all underpainted and just ready to be completed.  Opened the large carton of new frames yesterday.  Today I will set up a new palette of fresh colors and begin my “winter work”.  Love this time of year, especially after the holidays.  Everything becomes quiet and peaceful.  It is my habit to hibernate through the long, cold days, emerging each spring with new paintings.  Snow storms, audio books while I work, an evening meal in the crockpot, and a blank canvas.   A place of all possibilities!  How did I get so lucky?

Promising myself to post to this blog with greater regularity.  There is a huge trunk here in my little Taos house filled with memories.  Determined to be open and truthful.  So many stories to tell…..DC