Donna Clair

Southwest Contemporary Artist

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


“No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of the night.  We know that every moment is a moment of Grace, every hour an offering” – Jakob Shekaneder

Life without drama is a gift from a chaotic universe.  It doesn’t happen every day, but when it does, blessings abound!  This is the beginning of a new year – a time of revaluing, reorganizing – creating order and perhaps some new and healthier habits.  (Smiling broadly as I wrote the words “healthier habits”).  Ever since my move from the old house on Santistevan Lane where I accumulated 23 years of “Life”, I have been clearing out the old.  Half my household things were either sold or given away.  After my son died living in Tesuque and Santa Fe no longer worked for me.  Taos is my home and I needed to return.  Another purge – pick-up truck loads of paintings and furniture to friends and family.  I became obsessed with simplifying my life.  Back in Taos – a smaller house with good working studio areas.  Am looking around this morning and know that one more clear out will do it – some clothes, dishes – extra pots and pans.  This feels so good!!!  It is only common sense to clear out the clutter – don’t leave a mess behind!

Those small studies I mentioned earlier are on the easel right now in various stages of completion.  The first ten will go to Gabe Abrums at Chimayo Trading del Norte in Ranchos de Taos Plaza.  Shortly after arriving back in Taos, Gabe sent an email asking if I would consider him as an agent to sell my work.  Mainly he sells his own beautiful jewelry, native pottery and paintings from old Taos artists like Gene Kloss and Doel Reed.  He has lived in Truchas and his wife, Alicia, is from Chimayo.  It felt like a perfect fit for my paintings!  More than once he has come to my studio looking for one painting and I ended up consigning 15 – leaving my walls bare naked!  Without a doubt this is the best “gallery” connection for me ever!!  They respect my work.  And Gabe has been patient and sensitive enough to understand that sometimes I just need to sit and stare at my big toe.  His sales of my work are consistent.  He pays on time!  I trust him!  Grateful?  You bet!  New paintings for his gallery by the middle of February.

“All who wander are not lost”.  I have been a nomad.  It is no secret that I was meant to live in this place for the past 52 years.  Santa Fe, Taos and Truchas have given my life purpose and meaning.  With all the speed bumps on my Road of Life, I can’t imagine a better place to have live all this time.  This land has always been a source of healing for me.  Planning another road trip with great photographer and friend, Geraint Smith (www.geraintsmith  Kodak is producing Ektachrome slide film again.  Six rolls were delivered from the Camera Shop in Santa Fe last week.  Tears in my eyes to be able to work with my old camera with the Vivitar Zoom Lens.  Digital is fine, but there is nothing like the rich colors from that old Kodak film!  Working on the paintings from my trip this autumn.  Now I want to take some photos in the snow.  I love the winter landscape with a passion!  Subtle colors – lavenders, grays, red willows – shadows on the snow!  Planning another day trip – can’t wait!

Groceries today – part of my weekly routine.  Lift myself out of the “holidays”.  Straighten up my work area.  Set up a new palette and dive in.  Have the feeling there are still some surprises around the corner!  One day at a time….