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let it be ~ sunrise east of the ranch

by | Nov 8, 2018 | Uncategorized

september sunrise at philmont - photo by dawn chandler

Sunrise Sunday morning, September 16 found me sitting in my car staring eastward from a shelf of land where the New Mexico mountains meet the eastern plains.

I’d come up here to paint.

I was feeling lackadaisical.

Too, I was hoping for the arrival of my friend who had hinted that he might be up for meeting me up here, and even bringing some coffee.the beginnings of a watercolor of a philmont sunrise - by dawn chandler

So I was deliberating whether to simply sit and stare and wait, or to actually pull out my paints.
If I was going to paint, I needed to get busy with it, soon, for any moment and the sun would be up — in fact, here it was coming already — and once it bumped over the horizon, the scene — and color — would change completely.

But pulling out my oil paints seemed like
s u c h   a   c o m m i  t m e n t… especially when sleep- and coffee-deprived.

But come on! I couldn’t just sit there — I mean, for Pete’s sake, I’m a painter, and that’s one reason I was there that weekend to paint!

Hmm….what about a sketch?

I pulled out my sketchbook and little travel set of watercolors, wet a page with some water, and plunked in some yellow and orange….

Well, that was all fine and good, but now I needed to let that first wash of watercolor dry before adding more color….



OH! What the heck! Just pull out your oils!


dawn chandler's new mexico sunrise oil painting palette

…I did.

And after mixing a little color here and mixing a little color there.— BOOM! — the essence of sunrise captured!

dawn chandler's new mexico sunrise oil painting palette and plein air painting of 'sunrise east of the ranch'


Although this morning, my rare initial languidness at getting started painting seemed like a wee challenge, the bigger challenge — one which crops up all the time when painting — was knowing when to stop, when to let it be.
For always there are two muses in your head, one that says Keep going! Tighten it up! Make it more ‘realistic. And the other that’s urging you to hold back, No! it’s just right as it is! Preserve that immediacy & energy! Don’t overwork it!

This time I listened to the latter.

And just in time for coffee! When my java delivery arrived, I tossed my paint box in the back seat, invited my pal to hop in, and turned the car around so we could admire the view to the west.

looking to the tooth of time from highway 21 on an early september morning


As we sat there sipping our steaming (and delicious!) brew, discussing all manner of things, and wondering aloud when we and our other friends there that weekend might unite here again, we were joined in our admiration of the morning’s view..


a hawk perches just a few feet away from where we're gazing at the tooth of time


dawn chandler silhouetted against philmont's tooth of time one early september morning

Sunrise East of the Ranch is one of several original landscape paintings I’m offering up for auction on this month — just in time for the holidays! The auction for Sunrise East of the Ranch went live Wednesday evening, November 7th with a starting bid of $1 and will run until Saturday evening, November 10. Check out the auction here.

'sunrise east of the ranch - philmont' by dawn chandler, oil on panel, 5" x 7" is now available for auction bidding

Sunrise East of the Ranch – by Dawn Chandler, oil on panel, 5″ x 7″ is a Philmont sunrise.

And if you’d like to be notified when each November auction goes live, shoot me a message at and I’ll add you to the Early Bird auction community!

Thank you  for reading my blog. If you enjoy my musings here, please feel free to share this post!

Also, I invite you to discover more of my stories, insights and art on Instagram, Facebook and via my Inside the Studio Notes — and of course here on my website,

Blessings ~

Dawn Chandler