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the very large triptych, part 1 ~ the request

by | Mar 10, 2024 | Uncategorized

This week I bade farewell to three close companions — three roommates. We’ve been living in close quarters since last summer. My roommates have been exciting company but they have also taken up a great deal of space mentally and physically. Indeed, they forced me to completely rearrange my home, and they’ve consumed my focus and artistic energy for months.

My three roommates?

Three giant canvases.

the very large triptych - artist Dawn Chandler's huge triptych landscape painting wrapped up for transport to their new owners' home in Las Campanas, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

How these roommates came into my life is a journey that began in late November 2022. That’s when an art consultant found me online. He had a client from Texas — a newly married couple [I’ll call them “RAS”] — who had just bought a house in Las Campanas, a neighborhood of grand views and equally grand dwellings. RAS tasked The Art Consultant [“TAC”] with finding an artist to paint a large horizontal triptych (three-paneled painting) landscape of the view from their new house. TAC discovered me when doing a Google search for “New Mexico plein air painters.” He wrote to ask: Do you do commissions for private collectors?

It’s rare for me to accept commission work anymore, mainly because the requests don’t usually interest me. Even more than that though, I’d just rather focus on my own work. Yet this request was intriguing. That they wanted a triptych was unusual. And the scale of it — 24″ x 36″ — per panel was a bit intimidating, which made it kind of exciting.
I responded with interest. TAC said he’d get back to me in a few weeks, once he’d had a chance to meet with RAS at their place and discuss the project in more detail. He’d then get photos of the view, as well as the living room wall where the triptych would hang.

Then one evening a couple weeks later, for some reason I broke my rule of not checking email before bed. It was about 10:00pm when saw that I had a message from TAC: “Good news… you were selected for the triptych commission…. We had it narrowed down to you and one other artist going into our meeting. I hope you are looking forward to a large work, as they will want 3 48×60 canvases for this piece.

48″ x 60″?



That’s larger than anything I’ve ever done! FIFTEEN FEET LONG! How the F*** am I going to fit that in my studio?!
I sprang out of my chair and into my studio. My heart pounding, my eyes bulging, I grabbed a tape measure and started taking measurements. Only one wall could possibly accommodate a triptych of that scale. I’d need to move a ton of stuff, and block out a window and door to make it work.

UGH. That would be a SUCH a pain-in-the-ass.

Dawn Chandler's Santa Fe art Studio - wondering if there's room for the very large triptych canvases.

Could I do it? Could I paint such a huge painting? Do I even want to?


Surely somehow, someway I’d find a way!

Meanwhile, I wouldn’t be getting to sleep any time soon.

This is part five of a several part series:

the very large triptych, part one ~ the request **
the very large triptych, part two ~ the proposal
the very large triptych, part three ~ discovering the landscape
the very large triptych, part four ~ experiencing sky
the very large triptych, part five ~ painting the studies
the very large triptych, part six ~ new studio & first strokes
the very large triptych, part seven ~ the big reveal
the very large triptych, part eight ~ delivery & installation

Artist Dawn Chandler in her home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Thanks for finding your way here and for reading my musings. If you think others might appreciate them, feel free to share this post. If you’d like to read more of my musings please consider subscribing to this, my blog.

Meanwhile, find more of my stories, insights and art here on my website Shop my art via my Etsy shop. And please consider joining me for TuesdayDawnings, my weekly deep breath of uplift, insight, contemplation & creativity. Find other ways to keep tabs on me via my connect page.

Stay safe. Be kind. Notice what you notice.

~ Dawn Chandler
Painting, writing, photographing, hiking, noticing and breathing deeply in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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