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7.16.13 ~ of glorious rain and paint

by | Jul 17, 2013 | en plein air, New Mexico, oil painting, Philmont, rain, Urraca Mesa, Villa Philmonte

On Monday morning the Ranch awoke to rain. When was the last time that happened? No one could remember. The color of the day was grey, but few of us “old timers” were complaining; after five months of record drought, it was the most gorgeous, wet, shade of grey a person had ever seen.

The rain continued all morning, with only occasional breaks. I headed up to the lookout above Cattle Headquarters during one of them, and attempted to capture the look of Urraca Mesa engulfed in the clouds, my paint box sitting on the hood of my car.

rain consuming urraca mesa ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on panel (en plein air) ~ 9 x 11 inches ~ copyright dawn chandler 2013

 While up there, a Philmont vehicle pulled over to see what I was doing; it turned out to be Philmont’s Ranch Manager, Bob Rickleffs. Good to catch up and share impressions of the rain. We agreed that “back in the day” (1980s) the rain always seems to move in and settle for at least a few days straight each July. The kind of rain where you’d wake up and fall asleep to rain. But we haven’t seen that kind of rain in years, maybe even decades. Indeed, when I drove through Colfax County just ten days ago, the grass in the plains wasn’t even brown, it was white, parched the pallor of death.

And here now, overnight, the grass had turned green again. A deep, lush, verdant, velvety green. Astounding.

By afternoon the rain had pretty much subsided, though the clouds still threatened, and by evening I was back out painting off the hood of my car, this time on the road in front of the Villa.

evening west across the pasture ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on panel (en plein air) ~ 8 x 10 inches ~ copyright dawn chandler