Donna Clair

Southwest Contemporary Artist

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



13 March 2019 – Llano Quemado, New Mexico…..8:30 AM…..Taos Mountain obscured by heavy clouds, hazy poetry.  Brief weather forecast last night – snow in the mountains. It snowed in Denver yesterday.  The weather is changing, the time changes on Sunday – everything is Change!  Went to the clinic yesterday for my second vaccine – easy peasy.  Lovely nurse named Destiny (an omen?).  Thanked her for saving lives and said “God bless you!” We connected and had a  lovely moment there in the parking lot.  My old comfortable sweatshirt waited for me at home- a lie down, a deep sleep nap and later a grilled cheese sandwich.  So far so good. No reaction.  Settling into the quiet.

Have no illusions that I need time to regroup and recover.  Time to take an inventory of life as it is now. Waking up from a bad dream – Politics and the Pandemic! Could be the title of a book!  Only one certainty seems to prevail – life will never be the same. It is time to reset my course to a new normal.  Each day a New Beginning.

Still miss my son John.  He’s been gone for six years now.  The grief
comes infrequently, but it is still with me.  It comes in waves when I
least expect a visit – always a surprise.  I open the door, invite it in
and let myself feel! Sadness is a part of me and I don’t
judge whether it is “good” or “bad”.  Nothing is
ever the same after losing a child. Life continues with or without my
participation.  Today’s lesson from that time…life changes –  Where
to begin again?

Life looks so different this morning – more hopeful.  Another blank canvas…many blank canvases and empty frames.  Have maintained a strict isolation since last March.  A trip to Santa Fe for eye surgery in September, a follow up visit to eye doctor.  First time in thirty five years without glasses! All my studio business is online – no visitors! Isolation is an artist’s best friend!  Time to think. Imagine images and colors – I can see!

The painting above is Cielo Azul – Blue sky at Abiquiu, New Mexico.  From start to finish it was as though some alien being took over and all I did was hold the brushes!  A wonderment!  Such a rarity in all these years of painting!  Pure JOY!

Spring is almost here.  Thank you Moderna! I am renewed! Went through my closet this week.  My daily uniform – a grey cotton shirt and very old black jersey pants splashed with oil paints. Came to the conclusion that my wardrobe is colorless and dull.  Went online and ordered a bright red shirt covered with poppies.  Much needed personal upkeep!  A new book awaits – The Emergence of Frank Waters: A Critical Reader.  Found my old copy of his book Pumpkin Seed Point – his early days among the Hopi.   He was a mystic!  Saw him in the produce section of the grocery store once.  I smiled; he nodded.  Thrill! My hero! A tall magnetic presence – charisma!  He had it in spades!  His books are life changing!

More clay pots for my indoor “green room”.  Friend and helper Doug Yeager framed Cielo Azul and it now hangs among all the new plants beginning to take root – renewal on many levels. New frame for my recent painting Lazy River Dreaming is on a UPS truck to be delivered this coming weekGoing to a home with several other large paintings of mine – it will be welcomed and in very good company.  Thought of coloring my hair red again – oh, I loved being a redhead!!!  Staying with my age-appropriate whiteness – remembering those good old days with a big smile.

Enjoy working with Alicia and Gabe Abrums at Chimayo Trading in Ranchos Plaza.  Called Gabe this week and told him I thought it was time to “retire” – he laughed.  Such a ridiculous thought!   Sending them ten paintings later this month.  Need to complete one or two underpaintings to include with the others.   Cleaning off my palette this afternoon. organizing my work table and my brushes.  Will put out fresh globs of juicy paint tomorrow to begin again.  All is coming right in my little world.  Perhaps some nice surprises are just around the corner!  Quien Sabe?

It is noon.  My coffee cup is empty.  The early spring winds are forming small dust devils on the road in front of my kitchen window.  A change of seasons and this year a profound change of life as I knew it.  Uncertainty is my friend.   There is a Rune stone for the Unknown – it is without a symbol.  “Blank is the end and blank the beginning”!

Stay safe – stay healthy! One day at a time, one little step at a time…..