Donna Clair

Southwest Contemporary Artist

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


6 October 2019 – Llano Quemado, New Mexico 


Coming back to life is a slow process.  Have not been able to paint very much this year.  Likening this time to what a ballerina must feel like after breaking a toe – all the muscle memory must be brought back to life before she can dance again.  Started painting after one month in this new studio.  Small Paintings 2020 are my way of waking up the connection between what my mind sees and what my fingers can do – yes, five finger exercises.  Am starting all over again one more time!

After returning home from Colorado, a wonderful nurse named Felicia tried to convince me that I had survived for a reason.  Okay – last month I celebrated my eightieth birthday.  Dare I dream that I can recover my muscle memory?  Each day is different.  Some are more difficult than others.  Coming down from all of the chaos after the surgery and the move.   This new studio is quite peaceful….starting those small paintings has renewed my sense of discipline – shower, coffee and toast and back to the brushes and paints – every day.  Pablo Casals a very old man loving his cello….Bach serenades.   Routine, purpose – the meaning of me becomes clearer with every little painting. A renewed sense of accomplishment…..good things to come.

Almost gave away my large easel earlier this year – and all my paints and brushes!!!!  Believe this was the lead up to my health crisis in April – I was very sick.  Now a new 48″x36″ canvas is underpainted and ready to go – Don Gregorio’s Winter Field – starting work on it tomorrow…..

Each fall for many years I make an inventory of the supplies I will need to get me through the winter…and I plan some field trips to gather new source material.  A monster box of paints, gesso and turpentine arrived last week from Jerry’s Artarama.  Huge step!!!  Now there is no going back – it is all beginning….life makes sense again.  Field trip this coming week.  Photos of the views of Ranchos valley from the rim road – at sunset.  The leaves are are beginning to turn.  Am unfamiliar with this part of Taos.


“The images of peace are ephemeral. The language of peace is
subtle. The reasons for peace, the definitions of peace, the very idea
of peace have to be invented, and invented again.

Children, everybody, here’s what to do during war: In a time of
destruction, create something. A poem. A parade. A community. A school. A
vow. A moral principle. One peaceful moment.”

—From THE FIFTH BOOK OF PEACE, Maxine Hong Kingston