— rayado clearing — philmont summer, xiii
— 6 x 6 inches — oil on panel — daily painting series
— copyright Dawn Chandler 2010

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been able to paint — globs of oil paint left on my palette are now firm with a skin of dried paint across their tops; my brushes, neglected, sit resting upright in their assorted tin cans along the edge of my large palette. (Which, I might add, brings me to note that one of the great tragedies of the movement by coffee roasters to package coffee in folding ‘vacuum’ bags is that it’s harder and harder to find good coffee cans for storing stuff!)

Travel and other projects and obligations had kept me from my muse in the studio much of this autumn. But now, with a number of these commitments out of the way, I can return again to my passion.

It can always be a little intimidating getting back into painting if you’ve been away from it for a while. A subconscious questioning of “do I really have the skill to pull this off?” often harasses the mind. Depending on what else is going on in one’s life, it’s a question that can arise on a daily basis, even if one has been painting consistently. The fear of getting started is what it boils down to. That’s always the biggest challenge: just getting started. So the important thing to do — the essential and critical thing — is to just do it. Get started.

I have several commissions lined up that I need to get done in the next few weeks. So to warm up my creative and painterly senses, I decided to simply just get started by doing a small landscape. Get the blood and paint flowing, so to speak. And flow it did! I’m pleased with how quickly this little one came together.

That’s another thing I’ve noticed: often after taking a hiatus from painting, when I do finally pick up a brush again, I’m able to paint quite well and quickly. My eye for color seems more honed than before — kind of the opposite of what I would have expected. I would have thought I’d be rusty, but maybe my senses are simply rested and recharged? That, at least, seems to be the case this time around, and I’m grateful for it.