Donna Clair

Southwest Contemporary Artist

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



30 July 2019 – Llano Quemado, N.M.   How do you eat an elephant? … bite at a time!  Heard this expression years ago.  It is so good to be reminded that whenever Life comes at me in big, unmanageable chunks, I need to stop whatever I thought needed to be done immediately and just sit quietly or take a good, long nap!

Unpacked the carton with all my oil paints yesterday; organized my brushes in their jars – tried to imagine the best ways to arrange the easels and worktables. Updated my eBay Store in preparation to expand the print section.  At 6PM a carpenter-like lady showed up from Wayfair to assemble a dresser and chair – very complicated – she finished her work at 10:30PM. Hot and tired, we were both relieved when those jobs were done.  She was really happy to start her car at head toward home.  All revved up from all the activity, finally fell asleep about 2AM.  Today is Zombie Time!

Okay – some of the cartons can wait.  I really want to charge up my camera with its brand new wide angle zoom lens and photograph my new surroundings.  The other night a truly spectacular sunset which seemed to last for hours.  Low clouds remained from the afternoon rains.  At first the sky turned yellow as the sun began to lower toward the horizon. Pinks, purples, mauve, yellows, blues – blue pink, blue purple, soft yellow – some clouds in shadow, dark blues and purples….every so often my heart would stop and I had to look away!  It has been years and years since sunsets were part of my everyday existence.  The last time was when I lived in Susie Romero’s little adobe in the village of Truchas….over 25 years ago.  It hurts to think it took so long to find this place.    Some rare heavenly gifts should not be photographed or painted…just swallow the lump in the throat and say “Thank You!” 
Perhaps the waiting was all part of the Big Plan.
How do I begin to write on this completely blank page in my Book of Life?  Have noticed that I brought most of my precious things –  books, art supplies, my work pants and some new flannel shirts.  Am noticing that these new rooms – each one with a view of clouds and mountains, sunrises and sunsets – have blotted out the ever-present darkness of the last few years. Is it possible that some parts of my sadness was left behind?   

Stream of consciousness – a blank page….answers to my questions.  Now is the time to gather my source material for my winter work.  A fireplace in the studio, a cup of coffee – the familiar odors of  linseed oil and turpentine….close the door and start all over one more time.  Yes, some of the cartons can wait.  One bite at a time….small bits and pieces – progress, not perfection!   Just now a phone call to my bestest photo buddy to schedule an afternoon of “roaming” – start small, start over and see what happens.

The Mayans believe the most sacred places on earth are at the feet of great mountains.   Today I am surrounded by mountains.  This is now my special place.  I try to be as honest as possible in my work and paint what I believe – being close to nature heals, that silence heals and that art has the capacity to uplift our spirits and bring us to a better place.  All essential to our “immense journey” – Peace……

Photo: Donna Clair Original Oil – LISTENING TO MOUNTAINS