Donna Clair

Southwest Contemporary Artist

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


1 August 2021 (Llano Quemado, New Mexico) – Sleepy Sunday afternoon.  Actually a long nap sounds wonderful right now.  Waiting for my yard helpers Gerald and Junior.  These brothers have been helping me keep up landscape appearances for almost 20 years.  Only needed to do the yard once last year – no real monsoon season.  This is so different – rain almost every afternoon for over two weeks.  Heavy blustery thunderstorms.  The roof leaked over the canale out front and water poured in for a couple of hours the other afternoon.  

Beyond grateful for the moisture.  The weeds and grasses are high.  Thinking this is the way it was before people bought their acres and built the few scattered houses in this place.  In a dry year, there is silence.  Now the sounds of weed eaters and mowers give off some very suburban vibes!


clouds start to pop up behind the mountains early in the morning.  Big
window next to my easel with a view of Taos mountain and the surrounding
foothills.  Absorbed by my work I forget to look out the window.  When I do turn around – late morning – the view is heart-stopping!
Dropping my brushes, I grab my camera sit on the bench under the portal –
and try to remember to breathe!!!  Most often the camera sits idle. In awe I watch the clouds form and listen to thunder in the distance.

noon the skies darken and the winds start to howl and roar. Mother
Nature is in charge.  The ferocity of one storm this week was a great
reminder of that simple truth.

Missing my birds today – they are silent – so unusual.  Have they been exhausted by the storms and need to rest? Every morning about 4AM there is the rooster to the East and another to the West side of the house.  Never annoyed to hear them crow – just grateful for another day in this place. They waken the first morning birds. Soon the chorus begins!  One birdsong is so sweet and lyrical I stand still and listen. The other day there was a family of about seven birds perched on the fence in the back.  One of the group got very cackly and it was obvious she was scolding them all (her nestlings?).  There was an “Aw, heck” moment and they all flew away leaving her alone.  She became quiet – they returned and she started in again very noisily letting them have it – they left and did not return!  She was left to cackle on…

Joyful birdsongs surround the house from morning to dusk.  When night falls the coyotes down by the river start to sing.  How many days have I failed to look at the sky? How many beautiful days have I forgotten to stop and just listen?  Grace has brought me to this place…