Donna Clair

Southwest Contemporary Artist

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



25 April 2022     (Llano Quemado, New Mexico)  – All I can say is “WOW”!!! Yesterday definitely felt like the end of the world. Sixty mile an hour winds up here on the Llano (94 mile an hour at the Ski Valley).  Blowing from south toward Taos Mountain the sand and dust was thick enough to obscure the foothills.  Dried chamisa blowing across the road in bundles.  Have a picture in my mind that there is a neighbor’s fence somewhere down the road piled high with these dried bolls of branches.  All this chaos and grit mixed with the smoke from a forest fire in the mountains near Las Vegas, N.M. Watched the plume of smoke rise every afternoon from my kitchen window since Thursday.  The winds feel stronger and more persistent than ever this spring. Does not bode well for the fire season!  Praying for soaking, drenching beautiful rain!

Two weeks of “one damned thing after another”.  Put the brushes down on Centinelas de Oro and felt great loss at its completion.  A sale popped up immediately – four days of “should I? shouldn’t I?”.  The thought of anyone else hanging this piece on their wall made my heart hurt!  You guessed it – it is still drying in my office just waiting for a coat of varnish and framing.  Decided to have those beautiful golden sentinels keep me company for a very long time!

This painting is my “beginning of the end”; it is definitely a New Beginning.  At 82 the physical challenges of doing large or even medium canvases gets more difficult by the day.  How can it be I feel strongly that I am on the verge of doing some of my best work? Do I dare to dream?

Three boxes of new paints and brushes from Jerry’s Artarama were delivered this week.  A big container of gesso included. Mixed Payne’s Grey and the gesso together yesterday.  Clearing off my worktable in the back room to prep the blank canvases with the “grisaille”.  Tremendous doubts about my mortality before I ordered the new supplies.  Finally the good feelings I get from Centinelas encourages me to move forward with a series of new paintings.  Hoping to document my progress on this blog.

The images for new paintings are settled and the source material is at the ready!  What the Hell!!! I’ll never know if I don’t try!   Doing a white board this week – want to have a loosey goosey plan to move forward. Each one of those pieces has been painted in my head at least a hundred times!  The time is now!

Ashamed of myself for complaining about the weather when there is so much death and destruction in Ukraine. My roots are in Poland, Germany and Prussia; I was born in Chicago two days after Hitler invaded the port of Danzig, Poland. On the map this is the same geographical neighborhood where all the bombs are destroying great histories and ancient cultures now in Ukraine.  This is World War III!  The same destruction, the same evil.  What I know for certain – despots will die, but the Ukranian spirit will survive! Cities can be reduced to ashes, but strong hearts and souls will bring Ukraine to Life again.

Jose Andres – founder of the World Central Kitchen is helping to feed the thousands of refugees in Poland and other countries surrounding Ukraine.  He believes people will begin to heal “one hot meal at a time”.  This is a world-size challenge – we all need to pitch in – even five dollars will help!  Please donate if you can!

Let there be peace on Earth – hold someone close to your heart today!