Donna Clair

Southwest Contemporary Artist

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



“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

8 April 2022 (Llano Quemado, New Mexico) –  Am in a state of disquiet.  A highly anticipated visit from my family last week devolved into chaos over my Power of Attorney, Will and who gets their name on my checking account.  It is hard for me to recall a time when there was true kindness between these people.     My vision of the last day of my life is peaceful – and hopefully I will be able to conclude my rather long and colorful journey to that Big Easel in the Sky with some modicum of dignity and grace.  The only answer for me at this moment seems to be retreat.

 9 April 2022 (Llano Quemado) – It takes me a few days to regain my balance after a family drama – this one was a full week.  Telling myself I needed a rest, I put my brushes down and just quit for days.  Hurt and anger lingered in my house – the walls vibrated with their scratchy noise. Finally the air began to soften and some ordinariness settled in. Doing dishes, watering plants, folding clothes always brings me round.  Doing one’s tasks for their own sake is a moving meditation which allows the harshness to fade. Right now the whole world feels off its axis – spinning out of control and the tragic events in the world breed uncertainties and fears which affect everyone.  We need to create some peaceful moments!!!!  More words will only make this worse – let it go, let it all go.   


Two 24″x30″frames delivered yesterday one painting that size is almost completed and the other will be sketched out tomorrow.  Three orders of art supplies from Jerry’s Artarama this morning – tubes and tubes of oil paint – Holbein, Grumbacher, Gamblin.    Setting up a new palette tomorrow morning – big globs of juicy colors – waiting for some new brushes.  Only a few hours left to finish my new 30″x40″ piece “Centinelas de Oro” – autumn trees over the Rio Grande at Pilar.  (You are invited to visit my Art Journal for color notes for this underpainting –  Coffee, breakfast and a whole new day begins tomorrow – small adventures with my colors and canvases. 

High spring winds this afternoon. My neighbor’s little black dog still chases the dust devils as they form. Watching him spin and twirl in the clouds of sandy dust brings the world right again. Sometimes it is just the small things that lift my spirits.    The field in front of my house is greening up and the birdsongs are sweet enough to make one weep!  No sign of my friend the little red fox – she might be in a secret burrow with her kits…. it’s that time of year.

10 April 2022 (Llano Quemado) – Spring is a-roar!!!  Strong winds buffeting this house on a hill. No birdsongs this morning – the little ones are in hiding. The foothills and Taos Mountain blurred by the dense sandy air.  Slow to wake up.  Opened my iPad, checked my e.mail and absently clicked the PBS app – and there it was again – the BIG SONIA documentary.  Sonia Warshawski – a Holocaust survivor – one of my all time greatest heroines!!!  Life energy – hope and inspiration.  Wish I could thank you, beautiful lady! Just the shot I needed right now. There are at least 10 to fifteen medium to large canvases which have been painted in my head – yes, that is how it all starts. Sometimes it takes a week until the finished work. Other more complicated pieces might swirl around in that old brain of mine for a couple of years before the canvases taste the paint!  Planning to post this finished painting tomorrow.  It is Easter – a time of renewal and I am ready!  – Thank you, Sonia!!! Time to create some paintings….an empty-handed leap into the Great Unknown!