blog archive

follow dawn's blog

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

musings from the studio and beyond ~

dawn chandler’s reflections on art and life. . . .

 

how to teach your passion?

Merce Cunningham at Black Mountain School c. 1940s

What are you passionate about?

How would you teach your passion?

How would you share it with others?

Light a spark in someone else, so that they might get a glimmer of excitement about it?

This is exactly the challenge that came my way a year ago, and changed completely the trajectory of 2021 for me.

It started in December 2020, when I received a curious message from a woman who had come across my art on Etsy.

She said she loved my paintings, especially my semi-abstract New Mexico landscapes. Might I be interested, she wondered, in providing “Art Experiences” for the guests of their new hotel in Santa Fe, Bishop’s Lodge.

Artist's rendition of Bishop's Lodge Resort in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Only vaguely familiar with Bishop’s Lodge, I knew that it was an historic property in the hills north of Santa Fe. I had a vague notion of it having been an inn for some decades, and my sense was that it had seen better days. I’d never been there, and wasn’t even sure if I’d ever even driven by it.

A quick search online revealed that the Lodge had been purchased a few years ago by Auberge Resorts, a company that specializes in luxury destinations, and that they were putting the property through a massive renovation and upgrade, due to open in the summer of 2021.

Hmmmm…..

“Yes,” I responded, “I am interested.”

Never mind that I had no idea what she meant by “art experiences.”

A conversation or two later and I learned that what she was looking for is an immersive art-making experience to take place on-site at the Lodge. Each session would last 2 – 3 hours for up to a half-dozen guests. The sessions would be scheduled several weeks (or even months) in advance. In any given month I might have several sessions booked, or, possibly, none at all. It would just depend on the interests of the individual guests.

Among those guests who sign up for my Art Experience, some might have an art background, though most probably would not.

I would provide all materials. It would be ideal if, at the end of the Art Experience, the guests had a finished artwork to take home with them.

I was intrigued.

What kind of art experience are you looking for?” I asked.

“Well, I really love your sense of color…

Cropped image of Drive Across the High Desert contemporary abstract New Mexico landscape painting by artist Dawn Chandler.

... maybe you could create an Art Experience around color?”

And right there she touched on my passion.

My heart palpitated.

A digital collage of mixed media abstract landscape paintings by artist Dawn Chandler.

But how to teach color? and in just two or three hours?

Artist Dawn Chandler's oil-painting palette.

Surely if anyone could figure it out, I could?

Couldn’t I?

Yes.

I accepted her invitation to create an Art Experience of color for the guests of Bishop’s Lodge.

Thence began my new year.

….And with it, quite a few heart-pounding sleepless nights as I wondered how the hell I was going to do it.


Images above: Merce Cunningham teaching at Black Mountain College, c. 1940s; artist’s rendition of Bishop’s Lodge Resort, before renovations were completed; detail of Drive Across the High Desert, oil on panel by Dawn Chandler; digital collage of several mixed-media semi-abstract landscape paintings by Dawn Chandler; Dawn Chandler’s oil-painting palette.


Artist Dawn Chandler in her Santa Fe studio.

Thank you for being here and reading my musings. If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, I invite you to subscribe to this, my blog.

Meanwhile, find more of my stories, insights and art here on my website, www.taosdawn.com. Peruse and shop for my art via my Etsy shop. And please consider joining me for Tuesday Dawnings, my weekly deep breath of uplift, insight, contemplation & creativity.

Stay safe. Be kind.

~ Dawn Chandler
Santa Fe , New Mexico
Free from social media since 2020

walking away from social media ~ one year later

What was getting to me was the sense that I was being manipulated, that someone else was controlling my attention.

I’d login with seeming innocent intentions — to see what friends were up to, or if anyone appreciated what I’d shared — and plan to spend just a couple of minutes doing it.


But of course it never ended up being “just a couple of minutes.” Inevitably it would turn into quite a few “couple of minutes.” I’d glance at the clock upon logging out and feel an ache of regret. Did I really just burn up that much time?!

Clock on fire image by Sergy Nivens.

Image by Sergy Nivens.

It didn’t matter how little or much time I spent there, it always — always — sapped my focus from how I had intended to spend my day. My mental acuity vanished as my thoughts scattered and ricocheted after scrolling FaceBook and Instagram. Even if my engagement was primarily upbeat (I’d blocked politics, news and unpleasant people ages ago), social media always carried my imagination away from the focused work I wanted and needed to do. Every time I logged on, I tacitly agreed to have my attention and energy hijacked away from my here and now.

Tech Eye Image by Sergy Nivens.

Image by Sergy Nivens.

Furthermore, despite promises of enriching my life and deepening my friendships, I had the strong sense it was doing the opposite. Although some interactions were enjoyable, I noticed that my social media engagement seemed to be dulling my attention and mental sharpness with a predominantly slick and sticky film of crowded nattering, glibness and evermore mental and emotional clutter.

I sensed this during my years of social media use, but it wasn’t until I finally walked away from social media last June that I realized the absolute truth of it.

When finally I hit the Permanently delete my account button on FaceBook, I was overcome with an unmistakable rush.

It was the rush of LIBERATION.

Definition of the word Liberation from Lexico.com

Definition via lexico.com

It was as though I’d been released from a surreal other dimension. In an instant I felt lighter, carefree.

Until I remembered that I was only partly liberated.

I’d freed myself from FaceBook, but I was still chained to Instagram, and the thought of that chain made me queasy.

Instagram was harder for me to leave. As a visual artist, I’m a sucker for all things visually enticing, which is pretty much the definition of Instagram. And I had been convinced that social media — and IG especially — was required to be a successful 21st-century artist.

Grid of Instagram Like hearts.

But Instagram took even more of my time and energy than Facebook. I spent hours carefully tweaking images and curating my post feed with an eye toward artistry, beauty and cohesion. I paid for image apps, advertising, and compiled lengthy lists of hashtags all in hopes of enticing more Likes/hearts.

I took a workshop in How to Build a Following on Instagram, and paid a hefty annual fee for a social media scheduling app that allowed me to plan my posts days, weeks even months in advance. I blocked out hours each week to create, plan, schedule and engage with “content.” And of course I checked for approval compulsively, my validation as an artist sinking to how many cartoon hearts and “followers” I’d gleaned.

Guess what?

Time spent on Instagram supposedly promoting my art meant time away from the actual making of art.
If I was scrolling, then I sure as hell wasn’t painting.

Originally when I made the decision to leave FaceBook, I decided I would stay on Instagram another month or two at least, and then assess how I was managing it. Was it possible for me to maintain and reap the purported benefits of IG without letting it hijack my time and ego?

Maybe?

Not. A. Chance.

Maybe other folks can do that, but I knew from past experience that I could not. The fact that monstrous fortunes have been invested to engineer social media to be as seductive, irresistible and addictive as possible is too much tech and psychological wizardry aimed at ensnaring my ego for me to fend off the seduction with “moderation.”

And even if I could, the thought of still being tethered to any of these addictive platforms turned my queasiness into literal nausea.

In the end, it was a 19-year-old professional sport climber who removed any hesitancy I had about leaving Instagram. A couple hours after I deleted my FaceBook account, I read On Social Media and Character, a post by Cal Newport, author of the indispensable Digital Minimalism. In it he relays the story of sport climber Madison Fischer and her struggle with — and ultimate release from — her obsession with social media.

Cal’s post promptly lead me to reading Madison’s own post Why Ditching Instagram Earned Me the Podium

That was all it took: Four hours after deleting my FaceBook account, I deleted my Instagram account.
Permanently.

Leaping woman runner image by Sergy Nivens.

Image by Sergy Nivens.

That was a year ago.

What has life been like since?

It has felt…. s p a c i o u s.

More than anything what I have experienced is an opening-up.

The first time I went to paint after killing my FaceBook and Instagram accounts, I experienced a remarkable feeling of weightlessness, of freedom. I remember standing in front of my easel, my eyes suddenly wide and saying aloud to myself with a tone of awe, I can paint anything I want now!

Which is interesting. For of course I could always paint whatever I wanted.

Yet now without the crowd on social media judging what I shared, suddenly I became aware of just how much I had let my desire for Likes dictate what kind of art I worked on and shared.
Now liberated from the gerbil wheel of garnering Likes, I had freed myself to focus on work that likely would have been less “popular” on my FaceBook and Instagram feeds, but was ultimately more challenging — and therefore more interesting and satisfying — for me to create. Work that stretches me.

Another thing I noticed was that the instant I deleted my accounts, I became calmer. It was as though a stadium roar in my head was suddenly silenced. I felt present, my thoughts clear.

Having eschewed FaceBook and Instagram, I don’t look at screens nearly as much as I used to, and that has opened up time for more analog pleasures like reading real books, writing real letters — two slow and thoughtful activities among many that are deeply important to me but that had become diminished by time on social media.

Leaving social media has made space and time in my life for more solitude. For contemplation.

Book transforming into a grass road with distant solitary woman backpacker image by Vitalii Bashkatov.

Image by Vitalii Bashkatov.

Also, it’s interesting to note that some of my friendships have deepened since leaving Facebook and Instagram. Rather than “connecting” via public broadcasts shared with everyone and no one in particular, certain friends and I are back to having real conversations. We are picking up the phone, we are writing letters. Our communications have become slower, yet more considered, more enriching.

It’s been lovely.

As to the worry about whether a 21st-century artist can survive and succeed without being on social media, that worry proved to be for naught. Case in point: a rather astonishing creative opportunity has come my way despite not being on social media. I’m convinced that the space and creative focus I’ve found since leaving the distractions of FaceBook and Instagram allowed me to do the creative work that ultimately lead to this opportunity.

I should emphasize that by leaving social media, I neither left the internet nor walked away from technology. Rather I’ve become much more mindful of and deliberate in the ways I engage with tech. To use Cal Newport’s term, I’ve sought to become a digital minimalist.

Digital Minimalism: A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.

~ Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism

Since walking away from FaceBook and Instagram, there are people whom I was very fond of on those platforms with whom I’m not in touch much anymore. But I am confident that if they and I are meant to have meaningful friendships, then the universe eventually will find a way to put us in touch.

And sure, I’m not up on the latest fad or meme or viral video or political grievance or whosie-whatsit.
I don’t miss any of that.

You know what the real downside of my leaving social media is?

.
. .
. . .
. . . .

When I think of it, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Tech eye image by Sergy Nivens.

Image by Sergy Nivens.


recommended reading

Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport

Deep Work by Cal Newport

The War of Art by Steve Pressfield

Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown


Artist Dawn Chandler walks along an Oregon beach with her sweet pup. Photo by Joe Beman.

Thank you for being here and reading my musings. If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, I invite you to subscribe to this, my blog.

Meanwhile, find more of my stories, insights and art here on my website, www.taosdawn.com. Peruse and shop for my art via my Etsy shop. And please consider joining me for Tuesday Dawnings, my weekly deep breath of uplift, insight, contemplation & creativity.

Stay safe. Be kind.

~ Dawn Chandler
Santa Fe , New Mexico
Free from social media since 2020

My sweet pup & me on the Oregon coast.
Photo by ace photographer Joe T.R. Beman.

spring & the hardest color to paint

Watercolor washes in Dawn Chandler's sketchbook

As a young art student I often heard that one color is especially hard to paint .

Care to guess which one?

For the untrained eye it can be intimidating to look out to a verdant landscape and figure out now how to differentiate and mix green.

Maybe that’s why a comment my Aunt Anne made to me more than thirty years ago was so eye-opening to me.

It was late May of my first year in grad school, and I had just arrived on Mount Desert Island to spend the summer living with her. The lilac were just coming into bloom in Maine — quite a bit later than down in Philadelphia.

Soon after I arrived my aunt gave me a tour of the island. At one point during our drive, she gestured to the trees ahead and said, “I love these soft greens of Spring; they’re so varied. By mid-summer the trees all become the same green and it feels heavy and oppressive.”

Watercolor sketches by artist Dawn Chandler celebrating the subtleties of spring greens.

I was struck.


How had I, an aspiring painter, lived into my twenties without noticing the variety of green before?
Was it because in my childhood the showy pinks, purples and yellows of springtime blooms stole my attention?

Or had I simply spent too many springs dreaming of being elsewhere?
Year after year of my high school and college years I obsessively yearned for summer. For summertime meant heading west for three months of adventure in New Mexico! In my youth, spring was something to get through till summer.

No wonder I paid no mind to spring subtleties; they were beyond me.

Watercolor sketches by artist Dawn Chandler celebrating the subtleties of spring greens.

In the decades since those youthful summer high-adventure obsessions, I’ve striven to become more present. I don’t know if that’s just me, or an age thing. But I do know that this year especially I’ve been even more attuned to the nuanced greening of spring. I’ve thought often of my aunt’s observation and how resonates for me still.

Watercolor sketches by artist Dawn Chandler celebrating the subtleties of spring greens.

I’m writing this in Summit County, Colorado. As I made the drive last week from 7000 ft Santa Fe to 9000 ft Frisco, it seemed I was traveling backwards in time. Spring is a longtime coming up here. As I climbed in elevation, I was let down to realize I’m too early for the aspen leaves. In late May the Rockies in these parts are cloaked with the drab brownish-green of lodgepole pine, and tawny grey curtains of leafless aspen glens. Snow still caps the surrounding peaks, and streams are edged in ice. The other day a hike up to my favorite aspen grove was an immersion into brown, black, white and grey, with nary a sign of green in the branches.

Watercolor sketches by artist Dawn Chandler celebrating the subtleties of spring greens.

But today?


Today all that seems to be changing. On sunny slopes the color of the Rockies is beginning to transform. Along a bright brook the first hint of green is exhaling among the aspens; brown buds are beginning to unfurl into young yellow-green leaves. As I pause again just now and let my gaze linger, I note subtle variations of green and think of how pleased my aunt would be.

And when I swirl my brush on my palette just now, I realize that, whenever I pause to really notice and consider the color in the landscape and on my palette, painting green isn’t so intimidating after all.

Dawn Chandler's watercolor palette.

Thank you for being here and reading my musings. If you enjoy my posts I invite you to subscribe to this, my blog so you catch all my occasional musings. And by all means, if you know others who might enjoy these writings, please feel free to share this post with them.

Meanwhile, find more of my stories, insights and art here on my website, www.taosdawn.com. Peruse and shop for my art via my Etsy shop. And please consider joining me for Tuesday Dawnings, my weekly deep breath of uplift, insight, contemplation & creativity.

Stay safe. Be kind.

~ Dawn Chandler
Santa Fe , New Mexico

Me in my studio with my Watercolor Wanderings Series on the wall.


big sky and the war of art

For years several 24’ x 36’ stretched canvases were tucked in a corner of my studio. Every time I looked at them I had a smoldering desire to transform them into paintings. Yet year after year they sat there, untouched.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Ahhh the War of Art, as Steve Pressfield rightly calls it. Another of Steve’s accurate words for it: Resistance.

Even though a part of me longed to paint these larger canvases, subconsciously I’d made up all kinds of excuses to not paint them:

I’m too busy with other art projects…

I don’t know if I have the energy to shift creative gears like that

Do I have enough studio space to work larger

Do I even have a market for larger landscapes

Will larger pieces even sell on Etsy?

RESISTANCE, every one of them.

Finally this winter I realized I was just plain tired of painting small.

So I pulled out those 2′ x 3′ canvases and began preparing them for paintings. My theme for these canvases would be — SURPRISE! — the New Mexico sky, and the new series would be called New Mexico Big Sky Vistas. I have thousands of sky photos that I always figured would make majestic larger paintings; now to choose a few and get busy.

Digital collage of photos of New Mexico skies by artist Dawn Chandler.

What’s funny or kismit or serendipitous or beautifully coincidental is that within a few days of pulling out those canvases, the husband of a dear long-ago friend contacted me: He was seeking a special gift for his beloved’s 50th birthday this April, and, when coming across one of my cards, he suddenly had the idea to give her one of my paintings.

Evidently there was some planetary realignment going on, for he was seeking a large — 2’ x 3’ — New Mexico landscape, ideally with an emphasis on sky.

Kismit indeed.

Unfortunately I had decided a couple of years ago that I would no longer do commissions. Although everyone I’ve ever done a painting for has been lovely and appreciative, the truth is I don’t enjoy the pressure of painting to please someone other than myself. And besides, I have far, far too many of my own painting projects that I want to focus on.

However — fortunately! — what he was seeking was exactly what I was planning on creating, and soon.
I was confident that I could have two or three Vistas completed within a few weeks. I offered to let him see the paintings before making them available to anyone else, and if one really spoke to him, it was his to purchase.

laura’s new mexico

To our mutual delight this played out exactly as proposed, and I’m deeply satisfied that come April he presented New Mexico Big Sky Vista, No. 1 to his wife, my friend Laura:

New Mexico Big Sky Vista, No 1, contemporary landscape painting in oil by artist Dawn Chandler
New Mexico Big Sky Vista, No. 1 ~ Laura’s New Mexico
by Dawn Chandler
oil on canvas ~ 24″ x 36″ ~ private collection

He made the perfect choice, IMHO, for it being the first painting I did after our arrangement, I had Laura on my mind a great deal as I painted it.

The scene here is in Rio Arriba County, on that stretch of land between Espanola and Velarde. Any time I drive that section of road my gaze is pulled like a magnet to those hills east of Hwy 68. The maze of arroyos and mesas holds so much mystery. My mind brims with imaginings of history and stories that I I’ll never know. And the clouds! Especially on a summer’s afternoon the clouds can just be …well, enchanting.

The photo which this painting is based was one of dozens I snapped during a summer’s afternoon a few years ago, during one of our all-too-rare “rain years.” The high desert was green — for when the high desert gets a good rain, it literally turns from brown to green overnight.

THIS DAY I was coming back form Colfax or Taos County and the clouds were especially magnificent. My eyes shone bright as I snapped image upon image, knowing these photos would make wonderful paintings. Despite that realization, it wasn’t until this year that I finally got around to translating one of those photos into a painting!

abiquiu afternoon anticipation

New Mexico Big Sky Vista, No. 2 — Abiquiu Afternoon Anticipation will be familiar to my TuesdayDawnings circle and anyone who follows my Dawn Chandler Painting Folio blog, for I revealed this one to a few weeks ago:

New Mexico Big Sky Vista, No 2, contemporary landscape painting in oil by artist Dawn Chandler
New Mexico Big Sky Vista, No. 2 ~ Abiquiu Afternoon Anticipation
by Dawn Chandler
oil on canvas ~ 24″ x 36″ ~ available here

As the subtitle reveals this is out in “O’Keeffe Country.” I’ve countless fond memories of this landscape, especially from last year, when it served a welcome escape from Covid isolation for My Good Man and me. For a string of late summer weekends, we’d drive out there each Saturday afternoon, enchanted by the clouds dancing over red earth and sage brush. Eventually we’d make our way to a secret spot, and dine on homemade sourdough bread and soup, while watching the sun set over the lake.

taos calling me home

With the third New Mexico Big Sky Vista I return to a view loved by so many of us, and one which I’ve painted several times before (and which I’ll likely paint many more times). I can’t imagine ever tiring of it:

New Mexico Big Sky Vista, No 3 - Taos Calling Me Home, contemporary landscape painting of Taos' Rio Grande Gorge, in oil by artist Dawn Chandler
New Mexico Big Sky Vista, No. 3 ~ Taos Calling Me Home
by Dawn Chandler
oil on canvas ~ 24″ x 36″ ~ available here

Obviously I’m especially enchanted by the high desert during “rain years” and clearly, based on how green that sagebrush plain is, this painting captures a moment of one such year.

When I painted this, I debated whether or not to include the road — Hwy 68. I’m glad I did, for I like the way it suggests that when we take that turn off and out of the canvas toward those mountains — the Sangre de Cristos — further adventure awaits.

For the fourth large canvas, I’m taking a slight detour from New Mexico and heading north. Just a wee sojourn as I delve, thanks to a special request, into some memories of Wyoming’s big sky vistas.

Whether New Mexico or Wyoming — no matter. It just feels darn good to resist the resistance and finally get some paint on these large canvases. Yay!

Landscape painting in progress - Autumn Morning, Brush Creek Ranch, Wyoming, by Dawn Chandler
In progress: Autumn Morning, Brush Creek Ranch, Wyoming
by Dawn Chandler
oil on canvas ~ 24″ x 36″

Artist Dawn Chandler in her Santa Fe studio.

Thank you for being here and reading my musings. If you enjoy my posts I invite you to subscribe to this, my blog so you catch all my occasional musings. And by all means, if you know others who might enjoy these writings, please feel free to share this post with them.

Meanwhile, find more of my stories, insights and art here on my website, www.taosdawn.com. Peruse and shop for my art here. And please consider joining me for TuesdayDawnings, my weekly deep breath of uplift, insight, contemplation & creativity.

Stay safe. Be kind.

~ Dawn Chandler
Santa Fe , New Mexico

Me in my studio with my Watercolor Wanderings Series on the wall.


new mexico sky musings ~ a new release

There was a time a long time ago when I considered signing my name on my paintings with my initials, because a landscape painter named “Dawn” seemed a little too sweet, maybe even cliche´.

Sunrise, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Photo by artist Dawn Chandler

I’m glad I got over that.

According to my mother, it was my father who suggested “Dawn.”

I’m so grateful that he did.*

Half a century since that that bestowement, I realize my life has largely become a dedication to — an honoring of — that name. Whether it be in my regular early morning risings to witness my namesake spread across the sky, or whether it be in my constant striving with paint and brush to capture the ever-changing New Mexico sky, I can’t help but think that my father’s naming of me was both a blessing and a pathway.

I’m a child of nature and an outdoors women; there are infinite aspects to the outdoors and the landscape that I love. During a recent walk in February snow, I was reminded of how much I adore seeing tracks in snow, especially of the birds who dart around my feeders. I love noting how the rabbit and coyote tracks reveal otherwise invisible passageways. I love the purple-blue shadows at the base of the chamisa and sage, and how the snow mounds like uneven globes on their gold clusters.

Scenes of winter in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Photo by artist Dawn Chandler

I love how the snow etches the branches of the cottonwoods and elms, revealing the “bones of the trees.”

An elm tree in snow, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Photo by artist Dawn Chandler

Every season out here has its uniquely gorgeous details, of course.

But for me, more than anything, it’s the sky that calls to me; it’s the sky I can’t ignore.
It’s the sky I can never forget.

And it’s the sky I keep returning to in my paintings.

Today — March 2nd — would have been my father’s 90th birthday.
It seems an auspicious day to release to the world my newest painting series: New Mexico Sky Musings.

I’ve been working on this series off and on for a couple of years, first hinting at it in one of my newsletters and sharing another in my springtime card last year. Other than that, I’ve kept these paintings close, developing them slowly, enjoying their presence, not wanting to part with them too soon.

A digital collage of segments of New Mexico Sky Musings, a new series of semi-abstract landscape paintings by artist Dawn Chandler.

Each is inspired by the New Mexico sky, yet each is abstracted, at least partly so. Most don’t attempt to capture a specific location, though some do, especially the first few.
Others, as I’ve developed them and landscape passages have emerged from the abstraction, I’ve been reminded of specific places and memories. When that happens, I often push or develop the sense of that place more.

These are skies of my imagination seeped in New Mexico memories, mixed with wildness of texture and color and feeling. They’re diary skies, reflecting my moods and emotions while immersed in artistic creation.

A digital collage of segments of New Mexico Sky Musings, a new series of semi-abstract landscape paintings by artist Dawn Chandler.

All are mixed media, primarily a combination of collage (papers with text) and acrylic paint, though some have colored pencil, ink and graphite. Most are what I call “textual,” in that they incorporate text — my writing — into the paintings. In the case of all of these, the writings are from my journal reflections and observations of the land and sky of Northern New Mexico.

The New Mexico Sky Musings are created on heavy watercolor paper and each is mounted to an 8” x 8” x .75” panel, the sides of which are painted grey; the backs are wired for immediate display.

Several New Mexico Sky Musings, a new series of semi-abstract landscape paintings by artist Dawn Chandler.

I’ll be releasing my New Mexico Sky Musings to collectors this month — a new one every few days — on my online art gallery store on Etsy.

If you want to keep a close watch, keep an eye to my Etsy shop and/or my website at taosdawn.com

Here now are the first two:

New Mexico Sky Musing, No. 1, contemporary abstract landscape in mixed media by artist Dawn Chandler.

New Mexico Sky Musing, No. 1 (above) ~ mixed media on paper mounted on panel ~ 8 x 8 inches
This is one that is, indeed, inspired by a specific place: The view from a friend’s home on Taos Mesa, looking east to the sun-lit Sangres one beautiful late summer evening — an evening that I’ve revisited several times in my paintings. For that that was a day when My Good Man and I had attempted to climb Wheeler Peak, but, just as we were breaking out above the treeline, had to turn around due to an impending storm. By the time we got back down to our car, cold rain was dumping down.
New Mexico Sky Musing, No. 1 is available here.

As we descended down the road and out of the mountains, dramatic clouds were moving across the sky, with sunlight streaming through them. The sky remained that way all the rest of the afternoon into evening. It was a day — and sky — I’ll never forget.

New Mexico Sky Musing, No. 2, contemporary abstract landscape in mixed media by artist Dawn Chandler.

New Mexico Sky Musing, No. 2 (above) ~ mixed media on paper mounted on panel ~ 8 x 8 inches
This one actually sold soon after I created it to a collector who was visiting my studio. It wasn’t even mounted on a panel yet, yet he fell in love with it. Living in the upper Midwest, this wee painting captured for him the essence of New Mexico. I love the play of warm and cool colors, and how that tall rectangle feels like a doorway into the sky. I also love the ambiguity of that horizontal patch of brilliant light blue just about the greenery: is it water? sky? I like the mystery.

One thing that I really enjoy about my New Mexico Sky Musings: They really seem much larger than they are, capturing the grandeur of the western landscape on a small scale. Though diminutive in size, they pack a big punch.

And they’re signed not with my initials, but with the name my father gave me, and proudly so.

  • “Dawn” was an uncommon name back in 1964. Proof in point: In all my life I’ve only ever met one other person older than me named “Dawn.”

Thank you for being here and reading my musings. If you enjoy my posts I invite you to subscribe to this, my blog so you catch all my occasional musings. And by all means, if you know others who might enjoy these writings, please feel free to share this post with them.

Meanwhile, find more of my stories, insights and art here on my website, www.taosdawn.com. Peruse and shop for my art here. And please consider joining me for TuesdayDawnings, my weekly deep breath of uplift, insight, contemplation & creativity.

Stay safe. Be kind.

~ Dawn Chandler
Santa Fe , New Mexico

Me in my studio with my Watercolor Wanderings Series on the wall.