Donna Clair

Southwest Contemporary Artist

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



LLano Quemado, New Mexico – 25 April 2020 –  The coyote family down by the river sang me to sleep last night!   Smiled on my way to Dreamland. Unable to write for a while – have truly been “out of words”.

Began my quarantine March 1st, so today I’ve had time to think about all the adjustments required to “social distance”.  It has been exactly one year since my midnight emergency plane ride for surgery in Colorado Springs.  So much happened after that surprise that I really didn’t have time or the energy to process all the changes  – and now a pandemic!  “What are the lessons I need to learn?  

The tragedy in all of this is watching our government scramble, totally unprepared.  Wind-whipped by the speed of all the death and destruction, it is obvious they have a long way to arrive at serious solutions.  Yesterday’s suggestion to use Clorox to combat the ravages of this virus has everyone questioning these rambling press conferences/political rallies.  Even the voices of sanity like Dr. Fauci have to watch their words in order to stroke the ego of the Very Stable Genius.  As a result there is no PLAN in place – and the states are left on their own to cobble together their supplies for testing – hoping their shipments are not stolen out from under them by FEMA!!!  We are at the mercy of a bunch of grifters looking to make a profit from these dark days.  

Watching the nurses and doctors struggle to treat the sick and dying without ventilators, protective gear – the massive scale of patients needing care – and the danger to their own health and safety is incomprehensible!!!    Early on governors of many states recognized the scale of ineptitude from the White House and sadly realized they needed to put their own plans in place in order to protect their citizens. 

Our own Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham called for early quarantine and closure of non-essential businesses.  In Taos the Ski Valley closed early, galleries closed and eventually hotels and motels shut down. State Troopers were also monitoring traffic into Taos.  As a result of quick action on the part of our government officials and citizens’ compliance with the stay at home orders we have so far not been hit with the same level of devastation as some other states. 
15 May 2020 – Llano Quemado, New Mexico….Gov. Cuomo said it best yesterday “The only one who can keep you safe is YOU!”   

Sitting on my little red sofa watching big, blowy clouds form this afternoon.  Biggest excitement this week – a huge rabbit ran across my neighbor’s yard yesterday morning – I’ve named him Thumper!  Today is the first day that some businesses in Taos will begin to open.  Have decided to continue my social distancing at least until the middle of June – and only then will I partner with my photographer friend for one or two day trips for source material. No stores, no shopping – will order art supplies online.

Am amazed that many people think that life will get back to normal – my guess is that we will all have to wait forever.  First of all there wasn’t much “normal” about my old life!  Social isolation is my oldest friend – my happy place.  Give me a palette full of oil paint, a new canvas and a bunch of brushes…Nirvana!  

Sense this virus will be with us in many forms for many years.  Nobel prize winner Peter Doherty predicts that there will be a vaccine by this September; being developed now in Australia.  Millions of doses are already being produced in anticipation of its efficacy.  However none will be available to anyone over 60!  Leaves me out!  The only one who can keep me safe is ME!

Have been stunned into silence these past eight weeks.  Realize that I need to gladly give up the old way of doing things.  A cleansing – heart, mind and spirit – and all the messy closets and drawers!  Time to finish my Book of Last Wishes – a compilation of information….bank records, passwords, names and numbers of anyone who helps to keep me running.  Links to my website and eBay store.  Especially my “Right to Die” instructions.  There is nothing depressing about doing this – it is an act of love for my daughters, Mary and Sarah, who will be left with sorting out all the essentials of my long and exciting life!  A big sigh of relief to finish up this weekend. 

As long as there is breath in my body, I will keep moving..albeit much more slowly than in days of yore!  Two weeks of cleaning and sorting – no painting.  Today mixing up a new batch of my painting medium – a 400 year old recipe given to me by California painter Robert Clark.  Clear off my worktable.  Fifteen blank canvases staring at me hungry for some paint – color, color and more color!

Am affected deeply by this time alone.  Miss my happy helpers Hope and Doug.  They come only as far as the door now – no hugs!  I miss my HUGS!  

Sending out some big virtual hugs to you this afternoon…..more to come.  Believe there are some lovely surprises hidden behind all these dark clouds – keep the FAITH!!!