Donna Clair

Southwest Contemporary Artist

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


6 August 2022 (Llano Quemado, New Mexico) – So often life is a balancing act!  It falls to pieces but miracle after miracle the missing pieces show up and we get to sort them out one by one – leaving behind those that no longer fit.  This is such an interesting time to be alive!!  

After all the extremely crunchy dry and smoke-filled days the monsoon arrived in full force.  Bright white lightning and great booming thunder claps.  Sleepwalking is no longer an option.  Wake up to Mother Nature – this is no time to be caught napping.  See the brilliant flash over the mountains – count – one thousand one, one thousand two and when you finally hear the thunderclap, it announces the distance of the storm.  Shut it all down – hold your breath – here comes the storm!  We would be less than grateful to complain about it now – we are in a God moment. Watch the morning clouds form and build over the mountains. Mid afternoon the skies darken and the drama begins – thrillingly beautiful! Boom!!! Wake up! It is an adventure to be alive! Early evening and the rain stops – some distant rainbows, glorious sunsets – Breathless!

Lightning strike so close to the house three weeks ago just moments after I shut down my big computer.  My hair sizzled and my beeper beeped. Blew out the internet to all my devices! Complete silence!!! Next day called large corporate phone company and answered questions from a robot for about half an hour. He – it – discerned it was a problem not easy to solve, so I was referred to a recorded voice urging me to stay on the line. After ninety impatient  minutes I felt stupid and quit the game….the corporation game of putting you on hold forever and ever!

Prior to the Big Boom I watched a documentary on David Hockney.  Excited by his imagination and invention – the development of his work – his life changes. Especially the stories of he and his best friend going to Italy to see operas – and how opera inspires him.  Tears – remembrances of times past when I would paint (and sometimes sing along very badly) to my operas….Puccini, Verdi, Tosca, Madame Butterfly, Pavarotti, Price.   

Haven’t been able to listen to my operas since my son died seven years ago…an enormous blank space just waiting for me to be filled with my music again.  Inspired by Hockney I spent days searching for my absolute favorite – Leontyne Price singing arias from Verdi and Puccini. Each time I looked through my music I lost hope of finding that recording.  Ironically the lightning strike, through a series of strange circumstances, killed service to all my devices…laptop, iPad, TV and stereo for ten whole days!!!!  Complete silence – only my easel, paints and the spectacular monsoon clouds which formed every afternoon!

Imagined what it was like for the contemplative monk Thomas Merton isolating in his little cabin to pray and write.  No praying or writing but silent days at the easel – pure concentration! No distractions! A physical and emotional break from the “real world” fed to me daily through pundits and politicians.  Earthshaking realization brought on by the Great Silence – I don’t have to listen or attach my attention to their words as before!  Ten days to detox from all the noise. After a while I began to feel My Real World return to me. Days of imagination and quiet joy.

Yes, one morning I found the light blue CD cover with Leontyne’s beautiful face.  I found it!  Thanks to David Hockney a small piece of my life has been returned!  Still hesitating to listen – just look at the CD cover and remember all those those days when the house was filled with music. Time for me to open my heart and listen to the beauty of those glorious voices again!

The wonderful fellows at Taos Net set me up again through their internet service.  Cancelling Century Link internet which was part of a bundle….beware of bundles!

Gratefully my intense reliance of TV News hasn’t returned.  Being “well Informed” about things I cannot change is now an option and not a necessity.  Silence is totally underrated.  This is my real world….DC



DISTANT THUNDER (Ranchitos Road – Taos, New Mexico) – 24″x36″ Work in Progress (Underpainting) Color notes are posted to my Art Journal –  Projected completion: 8/10/22

NEW from my easel ….. Online Gallery.