recent posts

blog archive

follow dawn's blog

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts.

8.23.13 ~ escaping to the aspens

by | Aug 23, 2013 | aspens, en plein air, hiking, new mexico landscapes, santa fe aspen vista trail, summer

 I have to get out. 

Out from enclosure; out from a roof and four walls.
I’ve spent all my summer under a roof and already there’s the whisper of autumn in the air.

I need coolness. And damp. A cool damp place where parched dust doesn’t blow and the grass isn’t brittle from the heat.

I’m craving green aspens.

So it was that yesterday I loaded my paint kit , some water, an apple and a thermos of chai into my pack and headed up into the high reaches of the Santa Fe mountains….

And found myself again on the Aspen Vista Trail.

escaping to the aspen vista trail (santa fe) ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on panel (en plein air) ~ 8″ x 10″ ~ copyright dawn chandler 2013

So quiet. Nothing but the sound of leaves quivering in the breeze, the high-pitched buzz of an insect or two, and the rare murmur of hikers’ voices.

Otherwise, perfect silence.


 I heard a stone fall.

And then …another.

Then a rush of sliding pebbles and dirt..
when this hole appeared

in this bank, directly to my right, right off my painting elbow:

and soon, I was being watched

The challenge of the day** — which is, of course, the constant challenge when plein air painting — was dealing with the ever-changing light, as there were patchy clouds all day. Here it’s overcast. When the sun did shine through, it was fleeting, but oh so glorious.

*other than the fact that my feet hurt. The one thing worse than painful hiking boots that are too small, is knowing that I sized and sold myself those same hiking boots a year ago in my brief stint working in the shoe department at REI. Good thing I’m no longer selling footwear to people! (good for a number of reasons, that.) The happy ending to this story is that the boots were replaced on the way home with a less graceful but much more comfortable half size up. Whew! [And no, I did not trade in my old pair and take unreasonable advantage of REI’s generous return policy. That they were the wrong size is my own fault, not theirs. I will find someone to give them to.]